Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

This song serves as the epilogue to Hamilton’s story but also the chance for Eliza to “put herself back in the narrative” to tell some of her own remarkable story. She lived to the age of 97 and advanced a range of causes including not only the orphanage referenced in the song but also the building of the Washington Monument.

My only quibble with Eliza in this song – and it’s really a quibble with words Lin Manuel Miranda puts in her mouth – is the line “Every other Founding Father’s story gets told….”

“Founding Fathers” commonly refers to Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Of these seven, John Jay arguably gets far less historical recognition than any of the others, despite contributions that included negotiating the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War, authoring the Federalist Papers along with Hamilton and Madison, and serving as first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But while John Jay may get short shrift, Lin Manuel Miranda did collaborate with comedian Stephen Colbert to create a hilarious one-song musical honoring the legacy of a historically obscure signatory of the Declaration of Independence who like Hamilton died in a duel, Button Gwinnett. That to me is a perfect illustration of this song’s point that in the end we may not even imagine, let alone control, who tells our story.

Thanks for joining me for the telling of this story. If you liked it, please pass along a link to a friend who shares our love for the musical Hamilton and the stories behind it.   

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