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Friday, February 26, 2016

Hamilton for Homeschoolers--How the Musical Teaches Monetary Policy in the Federalist Years

I love the fact that, with Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton kids can learn history from rap battles. (And grownups, too, of course.)

In Hamilton, hot, hungry, arrogant and brilliant young folks dis one another over monetary policy. And, like many of Shakespeare's heroes and heroines, they think so much more swiftly than the rest of us that their words have to elide into one another. (Check out the elision in our William's The Winter's Tale if you want to know what I mean.) 

Tommie Jefferson comes home from France, hands something off to "Sallie," and leaps into "what did I miss?" 

King George gets into the fun, in his high, heavy crown and his high, heavy cape and his high heavy heels. Sure, Geordie Three is slower than our young colonists--much slower, in speech, rhymes and ideas. But then, his tune is so catchy. And he sings it on and on and on. (As monarchs--and tyrants-- tend to do.) 

Duels fought in the 1780's or the early 1800's, duels fought amid a macho culture of defending your "honor", turn out to be as foolish, wasteful and deadly as they are now. 

And, of course, the women when focused on, are sharper, smarter, rap faster, fight more wisely--and last longer than the men. Although we have never heard about most of them before this musical.

All in all, put Hamilton in the hands of a teenager, and you have probably hooked them on history for life. And maybe, one would hope, on politics, or at least political activism. 

the cast of Hamilton as painted by Gilbert Stuart. 

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