Musical, book put Alexander Hamilton on history buffs' radar

April 17, 2015

By Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press

It’s a fine time for history geeks with a thing for Alexander Hamilton. A hip-hop-and-history musical called Hamilton — inspired by an 800-page biography — recently opened off-Broadway and is sold out for months. Fans of the man, book or musical can also visit a variety of places connected to Hamilton, from his Harlem home to the New Jersey waterfront where he was shot in a duel.

Don’t know much about the Founding Father pictured on the $10 bill?

Here’s the elevator pitch: Hamilton was a penniless orphan from the Caribbean who was so brilliant — and so good at self-promotion — that he rose through the ranks in the Revolutionary War to become George Washington’s right-hand man. As the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, Hamilton created a modern financial system, funded the national debt, founded a bank and established a mint with the dollar as currency. He defended the Constitution in the Federalist Papers, founded the New York Post and was even involved in a sex scandal, the Reynolds Affair.

Hamilton also had a lifelong rivalry with Aaron Burr, the vice-president under Thomas Jefferson. Burr claimed Hamilton insulted him and challenged him to a duel. Each man fired one shot; Hamilton missed.

Here are some places around Manhattan and New Jersey connected to Hamilton’s life and death...

The Burr-Hamilton duel took place July 11, 1804, across from Manhattan in Weehawken, New Jersey. Now called Hamilton Park, the Hudson River site includes a plaque and bust. Hamilton died a day later in Manhattan’s West Village; a sign at 82 Jane St. marks the site.

He’s buried at Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street, alongside his widow, Elizabeth, who outlived him by 50 years. Nearby, the Museum of American Finance, located on Wall Street where Hamilton founded the Bank of New York, has an Alexander Hamilton Room.


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