#HamAlong Part Two: In which Washington and Hamilton are on a break

6:26:00 PM

If you're still wondering what exactly Hamilton is, or if you want more information on the Hamilton readalong, you can find that here. Otherwise, I'm going to jump right in, spoilers be damned. BRACE YOURSELVES.

Well, well...this has been quite the adventure so far. Hamilton is definitely not the dusty library tome I expected. It's packed full of information, insights, and inferences about the life of one AL-EX-AN-D-ER-We-Are...where was I? Oh, right.

Chapters 6-9 take us deeper into A. Ham's odyssey as he gets "friendly" with Laurens and Lafayette and becomes part of Washington's family. It's interesting to see that the main reason Washington and Hamilton butt heads is because Hamilton was so good at his job that Washington refused to allow Hamilton to leave his role as aide-de-camp to fight.

The tension between the two is much more pronounced in the biography than it is in the musical, which is surprising given how closely the two will work later on.

Additionally, we meet the Schuyler sisters (WORK!), and discover that despite Hamilton's "tomcat" tendencies, he makes a smart choice in marrying Eliza. Gonna skip right over his List of Qualities of the Perfect Woman which is gross and reads: pretty, but not too pretty, smart but not too smart, funny but not too funny, and...well, you get where this is going.

Sidenote: can we please talk about how Peggy, who really doesn't have a prominent role in the Hamilton's story and so doesn't get mentioned much, rescued her baby sister and also saved her entire family with her quick thinking while a gun was being pointed at her?! Even though Chernow describes her as pretty vapid, she seems like kind of a badass.

The war ends with the divide between Washington and Hamilton greater than ever, but that's the least of their problems, as the union (unified by a fraying thread) is crumbling under a non-existent economy. With soldiers mobbing Congress, it's no surprise Hamilton was already plotting a way to help shape a more stable economy that would help unify credit, currency, and the colonies. As it turns out, you need money to run a country. Who would have thought?

Hamilton's relationship with John Laurens (and Laurens' sudden and tragic death) intrigued me. Chernow alludes that Hamilton and Laurens may have been more than friends, but says it's unclear. Then he mentions that Hamilton's family altered evidence of the men's correspondence (possibly in an effort to disguise their mutual affection?). Hmm. Laurens' death happens under strange circumstances, and is particularly tragic when you consider how staunch an abolitionist he was (according to Chernow) and how much he could have made a difference, especially as a southerner. RIP Laurens, I liked you a lot.

This post has turned out longer than I intended - unsurprising considering how information packed each page of this biography is. I'll leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Chapters 6-9:

"Chase was a tall, ungainly man with a resemblance to Dr. Samuel Johnson and a face so broad and ruddy that he was dubbed 'Bacon Face.'" Yes, you read that correctly.

"An essential part of the plan is to give them their freedom with their muskets." A very cool quote of Hamilton's, but he basically only wants to free the slaves so they won't defect to the British, so...

"Amid this learned dispute, two enemy shells burst inside the redoubt...Instinctively, Hamilton sought shelter by grabbing the obese Knox, who had to wrestle him off." That noise you hear? It's me, still laughing at this.

"'The more I see, the more I find reason for those who love this country to weep over its blindness,' Hamilton wrote."Hamilton was pretty prophetic, as it turns out.

And on that somber note, I'm going to wrap this post up. Let me know what YOU thought of this week's reading. Otherwise, I'll see you next week for more Hamilton (because I've already read Chapter 10 and it's AWESOME).

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  1. OMG that Ross gif. You win. That is perfect and hilarious, even if Ross sucks.

    Also I can't believe I failed to mention Peggy's awesomeness. Because seriously, rescuing a baby and giving a guy sass to get away is super badass.

    Ahaa hamilton hiding behind Knox. Not so tough, now.

    1. I feel like Washington and Hamilton are the Ross and Rachel of the revolution. Ross sucks so much! (yay for finding someone who can appreciate this). Peggy is a badass. I like to think my sass will come in handy like that someday. YOU NEVER KNOW.

  2. PEGGY. I feel like, living in NY state, I really need to take a road trip this summer to see Hamilton's tombstone in NYC but also the Schuyler mansion in Albany, so I can see these supposed tomahawk marks on the railing.

    1. That would be awesome! You should definitely take advantage of the proximity and check some of those places out. I feel like you could do an awesome HamAlong follow up post and report back on alleged tomahawk marks because THE PEOPLE (aka me) WANT TO KNOW.

  3. Yes, I feel like it's tough within a musical to show so many ups and downs in so many relationship. Miranda probably decided it was simpler to make Hamilton and Washington seem a bit more congenial than they often were.

    I forgot about the Knox thing. What a perfect moment!!

    1. Yeah, I'm constantly astonished by all the details Miranda was able to pack into the musical, but also by the sheer amount of information Chernow is throwing at us. THE RESEARCH. I wonder how long it takes to research/write a biography like this?

  4. I had no idea that a history book having the width, length, height, and weight of a limestone brick would be such a PAGE-TURNER! *sobs about Laurens*

    His personal ad/wife wish list is horrifying. However, I'm glad that it worked out for Ham + Eliza. Also, I'm glad that he gave their kid a normal name. After all, he called Sam Chase "Bacon Face"...

    1. *sobs forever about Laurens*

      If Bacon Face is a name WITHOUT animosity, I would PAY to know what kinds of monikers Hamilton's enemies garnered. 100% sure they were all nicknamed in his head.


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