On reframing history

Over at The Atlantic, Edward Delamn talks with (genius!) Lin-Manuel Miranda about how his work of art is influencing how people understand the past —

Delman: You talked about seeing people use the opening song in classrooms—how do you think your interpretation of Hamilton and this period will shape the way people understand the man and his era?

Miranda: Well, I think it’s a particularly nice reminder at this point in our politics, which comes around every 20 years or so, when immigrant is used as a dirty word by politicians to get cheap political points, that three of the biggest heroes of our revolutionary war for independence were a Scotsman from the West Indies, named Alexander Hamilton; a Frenchman, named Lafayette; and a gay German, named Friedrich von Steuben, who organized our army and taught us how to do drills. Immigrants have been present and necessary since the founding of our country. I think it’s also a nice reminder that any fight we’re having right now, politically, we already had it 200-some odd years ago. The fights that I wrote between me and Jefferson, you could put them in the mouths of candidates on MSNBC. They’re about foreign relations; they’re about states’ rights versus national rights; they’re about debt. These are all conversations we’re still having, and I think it’s a comfort to know that they’re just a part of the more perfect union we’re always working towards, or try to work towards, and that we’re always working on them. You know, we didn’t break the country; the country came with a limited warranty, like it was never perfect. It was never perfect, and there’s been no fall from grace. I find that heartening, honestly, that we’re still working on it.

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