Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Uncommon Sense—the blog

A Hamilton-Inspired Playlist from Ben Franklin’s World

· December 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Since its Broadway premiere in 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical has taken the world by storm. For many who have seen Hamilton, the undeniable star of the show is not the young, scrappy, and hungry title character or his tempered frenemy Burr, but the resplendent George III. The sardonic king interjects at three different points in the musical: to declare “You’ll Be Back!,” to wonder “What Comes Next?,” and finally, to wish John Adams and the young country “good luck” in “I Know Him.” In September 2018, Michael Jibson, who just completed his time in the role of George III in the West End company of Hamilton, visited the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. Karin Wulf, Arthur Burns, and other representatives of the partners of the Georgian Papers Programme introduced the fictional king to documents related to the real king. You can watch a video of Jibson’s visit here, and explore the documents in this virtual exhibit.

Of course, one only needs to see the musical’s logo to recognize that Alexander Hamilton is the real star. As Ben Franklin’s World host Liz Covart said in a recent episode with historian Joanne Freeman, “Thanks to Hamilton the musical, Hamilton is serving as a window onto early American history for so many people right now.” The lyrics inspire fans to want to learn more about Hercules Mulligan and the Marquis de Lafayette, about the Battle of Yorktown and what happened to Aaron Burr after he fatally shot Hamilton. Loyal listeners of the podcast know that a number of characters, events, and themes from the musical have been covered in conversations with a wide variety of guest historians. We have taken inspiration from some of the most recognizable lyrics and put together a Ben Franklin’s World playlist all about not just Hamilton, but Hamilton, beginning with Freeman’s overview of his life, relationships, politics, writings, and death.

♫ Alexander Hamilton
My name is Alexander Hamilton
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait, just you wait…♫ 
Episode 203: Joanne Freeman, Alexander Hamilton

♫ If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?♫ 
Episode 123: Revolutionary Allegiances

♫ You want a revolution? I want a revelation
So listen to my declaration♫ 
Episode 141: A Declaration in Draft

♫ Now I’m the model of a modern major general
The venerated Virginian veteran whose men are all
Lining up, to put me up on a pedestal♫ 
Episode 146: Robert Middlekauff, George Washington’s Revolution

♫ How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower
Somehow defeat a global superpower?♫ 
Episode 122: Andrew O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America

♫ Ev’ryone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!♫ 
Bonus: The Marquis de Lafayette & the Hermione

♫ We had a spy on the inside, that’s right!♫ 
Episode 172: Kenneth Daigler, Patriots, Spies, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War

♫ Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom
Not. Yet.♫ 
Episode 166: Freedom and the American Revolution

♫ The world turned upside down!♫ 
Episode 208: Nathaniel Philbrick, Turning Points of the American Revolution

♫ I practiced the law, I practic’ly perfected it
I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it♫ 
Episode 180: Kate Elizabeth Brown, Alexander Hamilton and the Making of American Law

♫ Goes and proposes his own form of government! (What?!)
His own plan for a new form of government! (What?!)♫ 
Episode 143: Michael Klarman, The Making of the United States Constitution

♫ The constitution’s a mess
So it needs amendments
It’s full of contradictions
So is independence♫ 
Episode 62: Carol Berkin, The Bill of Rights

♫ “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
We fought for these ideals; we shouldn’t settle for less
These are wise words, enterprising men quote ‘em
Don’t act surprised, you guys, ‘cause I wrote ‘em♫ 
Episode 117: Annette Gordon-Reed, The Life and Ideas of Thomas Jefferson

♫ If we assume the debts, the union gets
A new line of credit, a financial diuretic
How do you not get it? If we’re aggressive and competitive
The union gets a boost. You’d rather give it a sedative?♫ 
Episode 57: Max Edling, War, Money, and the American State, 1783-1867

♫ I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time♫ 
Episode 183: Douglas Bradburn, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

♫ Now I’m the villain in your history♫ 
Episode 204: James Lewis, Jr., The Burr Conspiracy

♫ You have no control:
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?♫ 
Episode 58: Andrew Schocket, Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution

If you are looking for a gift for the Hamilton fan in your world, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where we will have special Hamilton book giveaways—including copies of The Essential Hamilton, edited by Joanne Freeman—on Thursday, December 6!

For more, subscribe to Ben Franklin’s World wherever you get your podcasts, and spread the word!

**All lyrics courtesy of Miranda, Lin-Manuel. “Hamilton: An American Musical.” In Hamilton: The Revolution. Edited by Jeremy McCarter. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016.

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