Liberal darling Lin-Manuel Miranda is facing backlash over the popular musical “Hamilton.” Historical scholars say the composer has painted an inaccurate picture of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Fathers and Aaron Burr.
From the AP:
Miranda’s glowing portrayal of a Hamilton who celebrates open borders — “Immigrants, we get the job done!” — and who denounces slavery has incensed everyone from professors at Harvard to the University of Houston to Rutgers .
They argue that Miranda got Hamilton all wrong — the Founding Father wasn’t progressive at all, his actual role as a slave owner has been whitewashed and the pro-immigrant figure onstage hides the fact that he was, in fact, an anti-immigration elitist.
“It’s a fictional rewrite of Hamilton. You can’t pick the history facts that you want,” said Nancy Isenberg , a professor of American history at Louisiana State University who has written a biography of Aaron Burr and is the author of “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.”
They’re also criticizing how Miranda portrayed Aaron Burr and call for the play to be shut down.
It’s not just the portrait of Hamilton that has drawn fire. Critics also say Miranda’s portrait of Burr is horribly distorted and argue that Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Angelica Schuyler, was in no way a feminist, as she is portrayed in the musical.
Historians are writing their own play as a rebuttal to “Hamilton.”
Ishmael Reed, who has been nominated twice for a National Book Award, has chosen to fight fire with fire — collecting his critique of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acclaimed show into a play.
Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” is an uncompromising take-down of “Hamilton,” reminding viewers of the Founding Father’s complicity in slavery and his war on Native Americans.
Reed considers “Hamilton” so problematic that even edits to it wouldn’t help. “I think the corrective would be to close the show,” he said.
Publicists for the musical as well as Miranda have not commented on the matter but in the past, Miranda has said he tried to be historically accurate. “I felt an enormous responsibility to be as historically accurate as possible, while still telling the most dramatic story possible.”