I was privileged enough to see Hamilton in Chicago the past week as a student. A follower of the soundtrack since it came out in 2015, I was blown away by the all-around fantastic performance put on by the cast through vocals, acting, and choreography. Additionally, I was personally affected and took many aspects from the show and related them to my personal life.
“His enemies destroyed his rep, America forgot him.”
We all learned in 2nd and 3rd grade about our ‘sweet land of liberty” America. From top-hatted Honest Abe to warhero George Washington, it’s self explanatory how the United States found its own national freedom from the “evil” King George.
But do we really know the details as average American citizens? Hamilton brought attention towards the magnitude of effort, debate, conflict, and compromise utilized to formulate the country we have today. I learned that George Washington needed more than himself and a right-hand man to accomplish the unification of the colonies. The leadership of others such as Lafayette, Burr, Mullegan, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Hamilton brought diverse ideas to the plate of political reform.
It wasn’t a smooth ride for America’s founding fathers to create one of the most powerful countries in the world. The endless fight between Federalist and Democratic-Republican platforms along woth competition among Washington’s executive cabinet members is proof of political growing pains.
I feel that we so often loom at history and say ‘that was then, this is now’ and hinder ourselves from looking into the details. Yes, a lot was accomplished by our founder father’s (they established a country, and not any: the United States!). However, it took times of rubbing shoulder-to-shoulder, agreement and disagreement, collaboration and compromisation, and most importantly, time-consuming work to move forward.
These things have always been nobrainer facts, but the modern explanations through Hamilton revisited these important aspects, further highlighting the hardships forged in the past for what we have today. History is important. Learn it, know it, and use it in your life.
“History has its eyes on you,”
Hamilton made me think. It made me relate my life to the characters it expressed, and think about the struggles they faced. I learned that we all have problems, even the most highly-acclaimed politicians and historic figures. The issues we face are quite relatable to those from the past, implying that our future successes will not always be what we make them out to be today.
No matter how hard we try, there will be conflict, and that is a fact that we need to accept. It is how we deal with this conflict that builds our character, wisdom, and maturatity as a person.
I can look at any of the lives from Hamilton and dig deeper into their personal experiences. But one that specifically struck my interest was that of Eliza.
She married herself into a life of hardship in many ways as a wife and mother. However, her patient, forgiving, and redeeming character revealed throughout the play is one that I strive towards in my own life. After her husband refused to join her and her son on a vacation break, had a continuous affair with another woman, lacked the prevention of their son’s death, and died, himself, in a dual with his enemy, Eliza did not let these hardships dampen her quality of influence in the world. She forgave Alexander, went on to rally for numerous freedoms for others, and opened an orphanage on her own will.
While the musical is inherently about her husband, Eliza Hamilton is a character from the past whom I never knew before. Her oftentimes hidden impact on the newlyborn America is one I strive to immitate in my life.
“And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?”
Everyone is put where they are for one reason or another and we each have unique, God-given talents that set us apart. After watching Hamilton, I was reminded of my purpose in life. Although it may be out of the norm, we all have passions – ones that impact the greater good. It is my hope that in my life, I am able to use the opportunities placed along my path to influence the world, small or large. Reiterated by several leads in Hamilton, it is a matter of selflessness, humility, and workethic that formulates a fulfilled lifestyle – one that holds a fraction of integrated influence in the complex world of today.
If you haven’t already, go out and snag tickets for Hamilton! It is pricey, but I promise you won’t regret it.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”