If you know anything about Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s that he’s a pretty obsessive reader. He did his homework when it came to Alexander Hamilton’s story and combed through Ron Chernow’s biography of the founding father while on vacation in Mexico. But even the most beloved works of historical fiction are still fiction, and not everything you see in Broadway music (now at Disney +) will ring.
For example, you love the Schuyler sisters from their named song, but how much of what Angelica tells us actually happened? This was hundreds of years ago; was Eliza̵
Here’s a look at the freedoms Hamilton bring the sisters – and why the show is such a proof of their story anyway.
Angelica, Eliza and Peggy were not the only Schuyler children.
In “Satisfied,” Angelica sings, “My father has no sons, so I’m the one who has to socialize for one,” which motivates her need to marry rich (and therefore not marry penniless Alexander).
But this line is actually completely untrue and probably included for the convenience of the story. Angelica, Eliza and Peggy were three of five sisters who lived to adulthood, along with Cornelia and Catharine Schuyler. Their parents, Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler and Philip Schuyler, also had three sons who lived to adulthood: John Bradstreet Schuyler, Philip Jeremiah Schuyler and Rensselaer Schuyler. The couple had a total of 15 children, but only the eight above survived childhood.
Yet it says that Angelica may want a husband with more influence and worldly experience than Alexander. Describes a contributor to Hudson River Maritime Museum blog, “The power of an adult woman came from the influence she had on her husband and the influence she had on the next generation through the education of her sons. As such, 93% of women in the Northeast went to the early 18th century. ”
The Schuyler family was not as progressive Hamilton can make them work.
Philip J. Schuyler, the father of Angelica, Eliza and Peggy, was a general of Revolutionary War, American Senator and Businessman, much loved and respected by his community. But he was also a prominent slave owner who considered that the abolition was too much trouble for slave owners.
As Ian Mumpton wrote for the official blog of the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, “Philip Schuyler had little interest in abolishing outside political capital to win, as more and more politicians embraced the idea (in theory, not in their daily lives) … Even at the time of his death in November 1804, at least seven people, including three children, were still working in slavery on his estate in Albany. ”
In recent weeks, this controversy has led Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan to order the removal of a statue of the general in front of the city of Albany City Hall, according to Times Union.
Angelica wasn’t the only Schuyler child to choose.
In fact, there seems to be hopeless romance (and rebelliousness) in Schuyler’s DNA. Yes, Angelica moved and moved abroad with her husband, who Hamilton shows, though according to the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, a total of four Schuyler children chose to flee.
Catherine, Philip Jeremiah and Cornelia also loved – with Cornelia’s man writes, “She jumped from a two-storey in my arms and abandoned everything [sic] to me the most convincing evidence of what a man desires most [sic] knowing that his wife loves him. “
Eliza and Alexander actually met two years before the “Helpless” ball.
Although Hamilton describes Eliza and Alexander’s love as almost immediate, that was not the case. The famous evening party when Alexander and Eliza meet, as described in “Helpless”, actually took place in reality. But it wasn’t the first time the duo met.
According to Biography, they had first met two years earlier in the Schuyler home in Albany, possibly because of Philip Schuyler and Alexander’s mutual political contacts. It was at the party in 1780 when Eliza and Alexander rejoined, triggered a prison and got married soon after.
There was definitely real chemistry between Alexander and Angelica, although Angelica’s real feelings remain unknown.
On that fateful night in the Broadway musical, Angelica is shown introducing Alexander to Eliza, later regretting that she did not take him himself. But in reality, she did not introduce the two, nor could she have married Alexander. At the party night, she was already married to John Church, with which she shared two small children.
But that didn’t stop her from looking up any flirtatious correspondence with her brother-in-law. The two matched broken regularly, with cinema Chernow notes“It’s hard to avoid the impression that Hamilton’s life was sometimes a curious ménage à trois with two sisters at only one year’s intervals.” He added, “The attraction between Hamilton and Angelica was so potent and obvious that many assumed they were lovers.”
Although there is no concrete evidence that the two have ever had an affair, they remained close to his marriage and career. Chernow wrote“When Eliza reluctantly bowed to the social demands of Hamilton’s career, Angelica applauded his ambitions and was always famous for news of his latest political exploits.”
But Alexander and Peggy were also close.
Perhaps the most neglected relationship in Hamilton it’s between Peggy and Alexander. Although she gets the smallest screen / stage time for the three main sisters (apart from their absent other sisters, of course), in reality, she was a prominent ally politician. They were so close that Alexander was at Peggy’s deathbed when she died 42 years old. She was as evil brilliant as Angelica and even shared much of her sister’s glittering social skills – she was apparently a “favorite at dinner tables and balls,” according to The New York Times bestselling author LM Elliott, who wrote a book about Alexander and Peggy’s friendship.
Peggy was also one of Hamilton’s most platonic relationships. Elliott continued, “Peggy was a friend – maybe the only woman in Hamilton’s life that he didn’t engage in double opinion. Lots of loving teasing, yes, but very much of a knowing big brother to a willing and lively younger sister. “
Eliza and Alexander had several children other than Philip.
The only Hamilton child we meet in the musical is Philip, the eldest son who later dies during a duel, who presumably foretells the death of his own father in the hands of Aaron Burr. The focus on Philip may make some viewers forget that Eliza and Alexander had it a total of eight children: Philip Hamilton, Angelica Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton Jr., James Alexander Hamilton, John Church Hamilton, William Stephen Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton Holly and another Philip Hamilton, born after the death of Elder Philips.
In fact, Eliza was so often pregnant that Angelica would often join Alexander at social events in her sister’s place, according to American National Biography. Alexander also adopted Fanny Antil, “a daughter of a fellow revolutionary war veteran.”
Eliza actually helped keep Alexander’s legacy alive.
After Alexander’s death near the end of Hamilton, we see Eliza picking up where he left off, with his letters and connections to build an orphanage and a legacy. “Without her dedication to organizing her papers, Hamilton could have easily moved to the trash or tangentially found fathers,” Elliott explained.
For nearly half a century after her husband’s death, Eliza collected her writings, collected papers from other federalists and defended her husband’s reputation against his critics, including claiming he authored George Washington’s “Farewell Address” according to ANB. That is largely because of Eliza (and her sisters) that Hamilton available on your screens today.
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