Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hamilton: Chapters 27-31

Alexander Hamilton     

At the end of the last chapter, Hamilton left the government...sort of. He went home and started working as a lawyer again. But Hamilton being Hamilton means that he still had a finger in every proverbial pie - he often wrote letters to the cabinet members, Washington, and President Adams himself in an effort to shape policy and guide major decisions.

The crux of these few chapters is the evolving relationship between America and Britain and America and France. John Jay, he of the five federalist papers, wrote a treaty between the U.S. and Britain. As per usual, any political act makes the Federalists and the Republicans fight. Hamilton can't resist getting in the middle and inevitably ends with him challenging people to duels. He also picks up his pen and starts writing a defense of the treaty under the name "Camillus." He also picked a second pen name, under which he could write articles that celebrated how wonderful the Camillus articles were. Never let it be said that Hamilton was not a self-appreciative man.

AHam continues to fight with Jefferson and then with President Adams. While Chernow obviously roots for Hamilton in these altercations, it seems like all of the men involved were focused on achieving their own goals, regardless of the casualties. When their opponent stood in their way, they went on the attack with the lowest blows possible instead of wondering if the other man might be trying to help the country in a different way.

The last big thing in this section was the Americans planning to go to war with the French. Things were going downhill fast, and Washington and Hamilton were asked to lead the army if needed. Hamilton is running his crazy brain again, coming up with ideas for a military academy and the veterans' administration. Even this far into the book, it's incredible to see how many different facets of life and government Hamilton thought about.

One of the most interesting things for me was realizing how much information Lin-Manuel Miranda condensed when writing the musical version. From just listening to the soundtrack, it seems like things move pretty quickly from Hamilton fighting the Republicans in the cabinet to his affair with Maria Reynolds to the revelation of the affair to his son's death. But there is A LOT here that isn't covered in the musical. Can you imagine if everything was put to music? We would be sitting in that theater for 12 hours...

Best part of this section? I think it's Alexander and George Washington being buddies. Now that they have both stepped down from politics (?), they can write sweet letters to each other and George can send a wine cooler of support to Alex and Eliza when his stupid, beloved Hamilton publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet.


  1. I would be FINE sitting in the theater for 12 hours for this (except like probably not BUT STILL). I was so surprised how much is going on here that the musical just doesn't get a chance to touch on.

    I did not talk enough about the Washington/Hamilton friendship and that is too bad cos those parts were great.

  2. I am very, very grateful that Lin-Manuel Miranda left a lot of this Adam's drama out. Maybe he was as bored as these chapters as I am and hence spelled it all out perfectly in

    "Adams fires Hamilton/Privately calls him “creole bastard” in his taunts/Hamilton publishes his response/Sit down, John, you fat mother—[BLEEP]"

    I mean that's really about the gist of it. I'm three chapters into the next section and they're STILL arguing with each other.