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Over the past two weeks, there's one piece of streaming content that everyone's talking about: Hamilton on Disney+. Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical has been dominating pop culture since it opened in 2015, with the show going on to win 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy, and even a Pulitzer Prize. There has been some conversations about Hamilton's historical accuracy and the liberties Miranda took, and now a historian has weighed on the subject.
Hamilton covers decades of its title character's life, which America's founding and the Revolutionary War. In order to fit in all of the historical and emotional content, Lin-Manuel Miranda made some changes to the story and characters. While some facets of the internet took umbrage with this discrepancy, American Historian Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed recently defended these changes. While appearing on Disney+'s Hamilton: History Has Its Eye On You, she addressed historical inaccuracies, saying:
No, it doesn’t matter that it’s not perfect history. You kind of expect that there are going to be things that are done for dramatic license, for dramatic purposes. The really important thing, I think, is for people, after they’ve watched it, to go and find out more.
Hamilton is available exclusively on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the new streaming service and be in the room where it happens.
Well, that was pretty cut and dry. Hamilton simply shouldn't be looked at like its a history book. Instead, it's an artistic take on the time and various historical characters. And it should hopefully inspire Disney+ subscribers to do their own research in order to get a more expansive view on the events of Hamilton.
Lin-Manuel Miranda took a few creative liberties when adapting Hamilton for the stage, in order to help clearly define the characters and simplify the dense story. For instance, during fan favorite bop "Satisfied" Angelica Schuyler reveals that her father had no sons. But in reality there were two sons, as the Schuylers had a whopping eight kids. But ignoring the men of the family added stakes of Angelica to size Alexander up and eventually introduce him to Eliza.
There's also been some conversation about the portrayal of slavery in Hamilton. While slavery is mentioned a number of times in the show including the opening number and related to the plot lines of John Laurens and Thomas Jefferson, some critics have taken umbrage with the subject being largely absent. Lin-Manuel Miranda even politely responded to this feedback on social media, admitting he couldn't include everything he originally wanted to in Hamilton.
You can judge for yourself, as Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney+. Check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.