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Monday, February 22, 2016

In "Hamilton", Lin Manuel Miranda's Generous Spirit Reclaims Aaron Burr from Calumny

 I don't have the funds to leap on a plane and get a black market ticket to the musical Hamilton, about the rough, raucous early days of our country told through the lens of the life of hard-charging young immigrant, Alexander Hamilton. This means I have had to make do with listening to the recording and watching all the excerpts I can find on Youtube. (Sigh.) 

So one kid and I were listening to the song Dear Theodosia, sung by Burr and Hamilton to their just born, firstborn children. "I guess Burr wasn't such an evil guy," my kid said, and I wondered. There is that duel, not to mention all that stuff, unproven, but floating around, about Burr wanting to take part of the Louisiana purchase as his own kingdom, and the treason trial, though Burr was acquitted. . ."I don't know enough about him to say," I said. "But I can tell you this: Lin Manuel Miranda has a generous soul, one wide enough to encompass the heart of both Alexander Hamilton and his arch-rival and ultimately killer, Aaron Burr." 

Both men sing to their newborn children, wrestling with the notion that these infants will grow up with their young country, and praying for the wisdom to parent them wisely. It's a song that moves me to tears, particularly knowing how it ends: Young Hamilton dies in a duel at age nineteen, and Theodosia Burr Alston was lost at sea at age 29, less than six months after the death of her young son, by fever. 

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