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World Wide Enough: Historiography, Imagination, and Stagecraft

World Wide Enough: Historiography, Imagination, and Stagecraft World Wide Enough Historiography, Imagination, and Stagecraft BENJAMIN L. CARP Is Hamilton good history? Or is this the wrong question? Hamilton: An American Musical is both an intriguing and imperfect vehicle for understanding the history of the American Revolutionary era. The show is grounded in learned interpretation of archival sources. The show's writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, drew extensively from Ron Chernow's well-researched biography, Alexander Hamilton. He and his co-creators also researched primary sources, quote from them extensively in the libretto, and use facsimiles of them on stage. Finally, the creators consulted other works to get a sense of historical context, while adding references to hip-hop, musical theater, films about the Revolutionary era, and other sources.1 At the same time, Miranda relied too heavily on Chernow, who exaggerated Alexander Hamilton's antislavery credentials and his sympathy with debtors, and deemphasized (or even celebrated) some of his more militaristic, elitist, and antidemocratic inclinations. Since there was little scholarly criticism of the biography when it appeared, however, current Benjamin L. Carp is Daniel M. Lyons Professor of American History at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. 1. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical, dir. Thomas Kail, produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

World Wide Enough: Historiography, Imagination, and Stagecraft

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 37 (2) – May 24, 2017

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

World Wide Enough Historiography, Imagination, and Stagecraft BENJAMIN L. CARP Is Hamilton good history? Or is this the wrong question? Hamilton: An American Musical is both an intriguing and imperfect vehicle for understanding the history of the American Revolutionary era. The show is grounded in learned interpretation of archival sources. The show's writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, drew extensively from Ron Chernow's well-researched biography, Alexander Hamilton. He and his co-creators also researched primary sources, quote from them extensively in the libretto, and use facsimiles of them on stage. Finally, the creators consulted other works to get a sense of historical context, while adding references to hip-hop, musical theater, films about the Revolutionary era, and other sources.1 At the same time, Miranda relied too heavily on Chernow, who exaggerated Alexander Hamilton's antislavery credentials and his sympathy with debtors, and deemphasized (or even celebrated) some of his more militaristic, elitist, and antidemocratic inclinations. Since there was little scholarly criticism of the biography when it appeared, however, current Benjamin L. Carp is Daniel M. Lyons Professor of American History at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. 1. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical, dir. Thomas Kail, produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs,

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 24, 2017

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