Friday, February 5, 2016

Hamilton: Chapters 20-26

Alexander Hamilton   

So my household was hit with two different plagues. Much like Aaron Burr with his heatstroke, I stayed home and tried to keep it together for the next several months....oh no, I'm sorry. We just took a week. But you do you, Aaron Burr.

Anyway, I did the reading for last week but didn't find time to write anything. This week, I am back. This is good because we need to talk about Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson's tendency to act like middle school kids. These six chapters seemed to be mostly Washington pleading with his kids to get along. They said they would try, and then went back to pulling each other's hair and writing in their burn books. Of course, the eighteenth century equivalent of that was each supporting a newspaper whose main purpose was to write nasty things about the other under clever ancient pen names. 

We read a lot in these chapters about the French Revolution and America trying to decide exactly how cozy it is willing to get with England and/or France. Jefferson seemed to think France and the revolution was great, even after heads started to roll. Hamilton, as usual, reminds him that the government needs some power or you are advocating for anarchy. This comes in handy when a giant feud breaks out over a whiskey tax. AHam and Washington get to play soldiers again as they assemble America's armed forces for the first time and quash the rebellion.

As I was reading this week, I realized that Aaron Burr is not as central of a character in this book as he is in the musical. I find it so fascinating that Lin-Manuel Miranda decided to make him the narrator and really, the second protagonist. However, Aaron Burr does play into the Maria Reynolds drama when he becomes her lawyer. It's tough to tell if Maria was or is being portrayed as a victim or a wily woman determined to get ahead. Regardless, it's difficult to read about, because I have a lot of respect for Eliza (as one should).

When we reach the end of this section, Hamilton is retiring from the government. I am simultaneously excited and nervous to discover what shenanigans he will get himself into next...


  1. I expected Burr to be more of a main player too. Maybe now that AHam is retiring and going back to NYC, Burr will be around more?

    1. That's a good point. I guess we will have to see what crazy adventures ABurr and AHam get into next.

  2. I love this post, even though I'm just now cracking Chapter 22 (sooo behind). I too was tickled by the thought of Ham and Jefferson hunched over their respective columns (especially what sounds like Jefferson's Hamilton-themed scrapbook).

    Agreed on being pretty lost as to what to make of Maria Reynolds. I'm glad that Chernow eventually admitted that the affair was pretty baffling coming from Hamilton, especially since he seemed to be making excuses for him in earlier chapters.

    Let us trudge on through this HamAlong!