5 Things the “Hamilton” Musical Got Wrong About History

  • Hamilton performance
Hamilton performance
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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Hamilton is one of the most highly acclaimed Broadway musicals of the 21st century, and most of the story follows real events from American history. The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr really happened, and Hamilton really was an orphan who came to the mainland from the Caribbean island of Nevis and went on to become one of America’s Founding Fathers and the first U.S. treasury secretary. Still, there are a few details of the story that were embellished for dramatic purposes. Here are five things that happened in the musical Hamilton that aren’t quite historically accurate. 

Angelica Didn’t Crush on Hamilton Like That

While there were some flirty vibes between Hamilton and his sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church in their letter-writing later in life, Angelica didn’t exactly graciously step aside for her sister (Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton) as the musical has us believe. In the song “Satisfied,” Angelica tells the crowd that while she is drawn to Hamilton, she can’t act on her feelings because as the oldest sister in a family with no sons, she has to put her financial responsibility to her family over love. In reality, Angelica had three brothers, and she didn’t even meet Hamilton until she was already married with children

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John Adams Never Fired Alexander Hamilton

In the musical, the song “The Adams Administration” describes rising tensions between Hamilton and the second U.S. President, John Adams, and the lyrics state, “Adams fires Hamilton.” Not only did that not happen, but it would have been impossible for several reasons. At the time, the President did not explicitly have the power to simply fire members of the Cabinet without congressional approval . Also, Hamilton resigned his post as secretary of the treasury in 1795, and Adams didn’t become President until 1797. What’s more, the letter mentioned in the song, in which Hamilton roasts Adams, wasn’t written until 1800. 

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