Thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda, you were able to make history captivating for the masses. While I’m an avid lover of history I didn’t even have the understanding of one of America’s founding fathers that I now do thanks to Hamilton and I am eternally grateful.
What many teachers couldn’t do, attract students to love history, you were able to do with fantastic music and lyrics. It’s truly a testament to your skills but also I think it’s a promising sign for people in general. By helping people realize that events from over 200 years ago are just as relevant to today than they were during their own time, you proved history is not boring.
Of course, most history teachers don’t have the ability to put on a play for every major historical event, and to be honest I’m not sure if that’s something we’d even want. Just the same, I think the major takeaway that we can make from Hamilton is history needs to be told in a way that people can imagine themselves in those events. For it to truly come alive and captivate there needs to be an investment in the historical narrative just like we do with our favorite characters in books and television.
Hamilton achieved that connection not only by the music and lyrics that melded a historical culture with today’s culture but by also using a multicultural cast to represent the players of the narrative. There is nothing better short of time travel than that to help give the visualization to the public that they are in fact taking part in the unfolding of history and that these histories are all our stories.
History is a passion of mine and I’ve always seen it as exciting and engaging and it’s a goal of mine to teach it to others in that same way it comes alive for me. I had the good fortune of having teachers that can weave the narratives of history in a way that they can flow off the page and into my imagination and those have been a good part of what has driven me continue to pursue my ultimate goal.
However, what Lin-Manuel Miranda created has taken my goals for history to new heights. While I’m sure I can’t write mesmerizing lyrics that can tell a founding father’s history I can only hope that I can harness those fundamentals he used to create Hamilton and bring them to classroom learning. So once again, thank you!