August 13, 2017—by Jonathan
Carrying on from the previously published Part One of this feature!

Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father investigates and identifies all the places and ways in which Lin Manuel-Miranda & Co. had to tweak history in order to rise to the daunting challenge of adapting Hamilton's life and times for the stage in Hamilton: An American Musical.
Thomas Jefferson enters the Hamilton story as a slick, Johnny-Come-Lately upstart who has been cooling his heels overseas while men like Hamilton have toiled and suffered.
Because the musical uses a single song (“Non-Stop”) to quickly cover the entire period from the Battle of Yorktown (October 1781) to the beginning of the first Washington administration (April 1789), “What’d I Miss” arguably characterizes Jefferson as having sat out the entire Revolutionary War in Paris.

Jefferson did not, however, leave for Paris until July 1784. This was nearly three years after the Battle of Yorktown. The bulk of the warfare between America, Great, Britain, and France by then had already passed.

Jefferson in fact departed for France nearly one year after the peace treaty which formally ended the war—the Treaty of Paris—was negotiated and signed by both the United States and Great Britain.

Jefferson indeed had never properly served in the role of a soldier.
 But while he was the sitting governor of Virginia,  he had been very close to thick of combat. During Jefferson's time as governor, troops under the traitorous Benedict Arnold burned the state's capital, Richmond. Enemy soldiers were in fact sent to capture Jefferson. As the chief author of the Declaration of Independence he would have made a valuable "prize" to King George III.

Jefferson fled and hid out. Some labeled him the "Coward of Carter's Mountain" after this rather unflattering episode of his career, about which he remained sensitive for decades. Jefferson later hid out in one of his plantations in the central part of the state.
“There’s a letter on my desk from the president...I am to be the Secretary of State. Great!”
Washington had informed the Senate that he was nominating Thomas Jefferson for Secretary of State on September 25, 1789.

Jefferson reported first hearing of his nomination when he arrived by ship to Norfolk, Virginia, in late November 1789. At that point he had not yet set foot back in his Monticello plantation.

Jefferson was in Chesterfield, VA, when writing back to Washington to inform the president he had received his letters notifying him of his nomination.

“I just got home and now I’m headed up to New York.”
When Jefferson finally made his way to the new capital, it was hardly right after his homecoming from Paris.

In fact Jefferson did not even depart on his “journey Northwardly” to New York until March, 1790. This was quite a few months after receiving word of his nomination.

Hearing Madison decry Hamilton’s financial plans, Jefferson pronounces he has gone “Head first into a political abyss.” He and Hamilton almost immediately set about antagonizing one another.
Jefferson and Hamilton began their period as Executive Branch colleagues much more cordially than the musical makes out.

The men exchanged many letters and had a number of private meetings before eventually devolving into open warfare and backbiting in the press.
Jefferson aggressively lights right into criticizing Hamilton and his plans.
In Hamilton: An American Musical, probably the single character who is least like his historical counterpart is Thomas Jefferson.

Lin Manuel-Miranda and company stylize Jefferson as a pugnacious, silver-tongued, boasting infighter. But nearly everyone who knew Jefferson personally described him as someone quiet, thoughtful, and meticulous who avoided confrontation almost to a fault.

Jefferson preferred to pay close attention to what others said. He would take detailed notes afterwards, and then work against his rivals through gossip, rumor, scheming, and often anonymous letters and essays in the press.

If anything, Hamilton’s former close ally James Madison was the one who most directly and scrappily crossed swords with the musical's hero. As a member of the House of Representatives from Virginia, James Madison orchestrated the blockage of Hamilton’s assumption plan four times.
“Our debts are paid, I’m afraid. Don’t tax the South, ‘cause we’ve got it made in the shade.”
It is true that not all Southern state governments were facing high war debt. Georgia’s was one of the lowest.

However, Virginia and the Carolinas all faced millions of dollars in unpaid loans.

The two states with the greatest debt were South Carolina and Massachusetts. But Virginia owed more than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

In addition, wealthy Southerners like Thomas Jefferson had dizzying amounts of personal debt.

See Gipson, Lawrence, “Virginia Planter Debts before the American Revolution.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, July 1961.
“Your debts are paid because you don’t pay for labor.”
In this period before the perfection and widespread adoption of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, the slave system actually tended to place planters with cloying amounts of debt.

Slave plantation products (like tobacco and rice) were sold mostly overseas in Great Britain. And the business was typically transacted through intermediaries like brokers.

Brokers and other middlemen charged fees and set prices in such a way as to often make it highly difficult for a slave plantation to be profitable. (Revolutionary Era luminaries like George Washington and George Mason all struggled with this).

Plantation owners nevertheless were "land rich" and saw themselves as pillars of the community. Desiring to possess and display the trappings of gentility, they often borrowed money and spent lavishly on a high lifestyle and fashionable furnishings.

Alexander Hamilton’s opposition to slavery, while among the most enlightened of the Founding Fathers, was much more mild than Hamilton: An American Musical often makes out. For instance, Hamilton defended the Constitution's 3/5 Compromise, which added political power to Southern slave-holding states, in the New York State convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 
“Don’t lecture me about the war! You didn’t fight in it. ...We almost died in a trench while you were off getting high with the French.”
This is not entirely accurate: see note above on the timeline of Thomas Jefferson in the Revolutionary War. 

Jefferson was in the United States the entire time. He was not “off getting high with the French.” 
“You don’t have the votes.”
Hamilton’s financial scheme for the infant republic was multi-faceted and involved several different programs that had to be voted on separately over a period of years. It was not a one-off, all-or-nothing measure.

The legislation now known as "The Funding Act of 1790" [HR-63] was, indeed, the first major package.
“They think me MacBeth.”
This is an embellishment unsurprising to see added by artists working in English-speaking theater, known for their love of Shakespeare.

In one public essay Hamilton did quote MacBeth. But his knowledge of the play was so scanty that he misquoted a line, attributing to the Weird Sisters what is actually said in the tragedy by MacBeth to MacDuff.
Angelica Church visits the Hamilton family while Hamilton is in the midst of excruciating work to get his funding theme passed.
The play's timeline is incorrect.

Angelica Church had arrived from England to spend the spring, summer, and fall in New York in 1789. This was a year before Hamilton's exhausting campaign to pass his assumption plan for state debts.

Angelica set sail to return to her husband in November, 1789. She was not on American soil during the height of Hamilton's 1790 political struggles.
Hamilton begins an affair with Maria Reynolds.
According to Hamilton himself, this known extramarital affair of his actually began “sometime in July” of 1791.

1791 would have been the summer after the so-called “Compromise of 1790,” in which Jefferson and Madison worked with Virginia’s congressional delegation to pass Hamilton’s funding plan in exchange for the seat of government being moved to the Potomac.

Hamilton: An American Musical sets this episode of Hamilton’s life in New York City. In reality it took place in Philadelphia.
“A month into this endeavor I received a letter from a Mr. James Reynolds.”

Reynolds blackmails Hamilton into paying him hush money so his affair with Maria will not be exposed.
Extortion was not James Reynolds’ first move here. And in blackmailing Hamilton he was never quite so explicit.

James Reynolds first claimed to have delicate information about corruption in the Treasury Department. When that failed to accrue him any kind of reward from Hamilton, James Reynolds wanted Hamilton to give him a job.

The husband of Maria Reynolds did not begin asking for money to placate his “wounded honor” over the affair until that winter: December, 1791.

This takes place much later than one month into the “endeavor.”
“You know Clermont Street... They renamed it after him. The Mercer legacy is secure.”
The renaming of this street occurred in 1799, about eight or nine years later than these other contemporaneous events in the play.
Burr wants to be in the room where it happens.
An oversimplification.

By this point in the musical it is important to keep sharpening the Burr character’s motives for eventually facing off Hamilton in a fatal duel.

But as previously mentioned, Burr would have had little reason to feel sidelined by Hamilton’s success.

Before his later political downfall, Aaron Burr might fairly be said to have had access to “the room where it happened” whenever he chose to.

Burr was favored by important people in New York, like its governor George Clinton. As attorney general Burr was busy reforming outdated criminal code. He would also be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1791, just a year after Hamilton’s assumption plan was made law.

Burr was also demonstrably more interested in making money than Hamilton, and at this time was speculating in land and other business endeavors.
Aaron Burr unseats Hamilton’s ally and father in law Philip Schuyler for one of New York State’s two seats in the U.S. Senate.
Again, this election took place in January, 1791. This was six months or so after Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison’s famous dinner.
“Burr, since when are you a Democratic-Republican?”
Even the earliest vestiges of a two-party system were still being formed when Burr defeated Schuyler for the New York U.S. Senate seat. The phrase “Democratic-Republican” was not in wide use at the time. Jefferson only began using the phrase “republican party” to refer to a like-minded political faction of Americans in 1792.

The idea of Burr as a self-serving political chameleon is also exaggerated here and in the musical generally. Burr had clearly been affiliated with the anti-federalist faction well before this time.

In fact, most would start citing Burr for political "slipperiness" only after he started making overtures to the Federalist Party—that is, Hamilton's party—beginning at a notable gathering of Federalists in February, 1802/
“Wall Street thinks you’re great.”
Wall Street, as a section of New York City, was not yet synonymous with finance and banking interests. It was more or less just another street—including where Hamilton had lived and had his next door office.
“I bet you were quite a lawyer.”
Arguably this line would lead one to believe that Jefferson is being dismissive of Hamilton because he, Hamilton, was a lawyer.

Jefferson had also been a lawyer.
“Jefferson resigned this morning.”
Jefferson actually tendered his letter of resignation in late July, 1793, but stayed on in his office through the end of the year.
“He’s stepping down to run for president.”
The musical exaggeratedly shortens the period between late 1793 and the 1796 election.

Jefferson in fact had returned to Monticello in 1794 vowing never to have any part in public life again. Over the next few years, however, and after many appeals from men like James Madison, he changed his mind.

Even with the intense Hamilton-Jefferson rivalry relaxed a bit, Washington would face ever rockier times and more and more criticism from the public.

Hamilton actually resigned from his secretaryship well before Washington retired. Hamilton ended his time in the Executive Branch in January 1795. Washington’s last day as president was March 4, 1797.
“Adams fires Hamilton”
This never happened.

By the time John Adams was inaugurated, Hamilton had been out of office for over two years.

Hamilton had been replaced by Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
"Sit down, John, you fat motherf##***!! "

Hamilton drafts and publishes his screed against John Adams in retribution for his dismissal.
In fact, Hamilton’s printed rebuke of the president,  “A Letter from Alexander Hamilton, Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams” did not reach the wide public until October, 1800.

This is four years—and an entire presidential election cycle—later than musical depicts it.

“Let’s Let Him Know What We Know”
Thomas Jefferson played no known role in the affair that brought the Maria Reynolds Affair to light.
Jefferson, Madison, and Burr accost Hamilton in his home. They anger him with allegations that he used his Treasury Secretary post to commit fraud.
The musical has heavily altered this episode from Hamilton’s life.

It was on December 15, 1792—at least four years earlier—when three men confronted Hamilton with allegations of fraudulent behavior.

As in the play, Hamilton confessed to these men that his suspicious money drafts were made to James Reynolds not for financial speculation, but as "hush money" for the affair with his wife.

The three men to whom Hamilton confessed were not Jefferson, Madison, and Burr.

Instead they were Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg, Virginia Congressman Abraham Venable, and future president James Monroe.

Jefferson and Madison played no known role in exposing Hamilton’s affair. Burr was at an even greater distance to the episode.

Likewise, this scene took place in Philadelphia, not New York.
“Total strangers” take up a collection to send Young Hamilton to New York.
The exact details of this history are not well-preserved. But most scholars agree that Hamilton’s chief benefactors in raising his education fund knew him well—like his employers on St. Croix, especially Nicholas Cruger.

With its relatively small population of free white residents, nearly all of whom would have co-existed in a network of familial, professional, and civic networks (like the militia, of which Hamilton was part) there would have been few “total strangers” to Alexander Hamilton in his teenage years in the Caribbean.

“I was sick and [my mother] was holding me.”
Possibly a fair bit of speculation in most circumstances. But Hamilton’s relationship with his mother was complicated. In his writings he never spoke of her fondly, and in fact tended to demonstrate much regret about and affection for his father, James Hamilton.
“I came as soon as I heard.” Angelica rushes across the sea from London to comfort Elizabeth when Hamilton publishes the details of his own affair to the public.
Angelica Church and her husband had already moved back to the United States in May, 1797. This was three months before the publication of the “Reynolds Pamphlet.”
“You’re Never Going to be President now.”
It’s not at all clear that this was ever an aspiration of Hamilton’s.

Even someone as ambitious as he was would have known he did not possess a wide enough political base in any state to make a run for president.

Some might offer that the U.S. Constitution’s “eligibility clause,” which limits the presidency to those who are natural born citizens of the United States, would have prevented Hamilton from being elected anyway.

But in fact Hamilton had been in the United States for more than 14 years before the U.S. Constitution was ratified. By these lights, he would have been considered a legal citizen and at least on this technical point a viable candidate for president.
Elizabeth Hamilton is emotionally crushed by the Reynolds Pamphlet.
This is a devastating account of a woman’s pain and sorrow, and although it is not possible in the absence of hard evidence to guess how Elizabeth Hamilton reacted at the publication of her husband’s infidelity, it is worth noting that attitudes about sex and marriage vary markedly over time.

See, for example, Holmes, Ann Summer. “The Double Standard in English Divorce Laws, 1857-1923.” Law & Social Inquiry, Spring 1995.

Hamilton’s first known letter to his wife after the publication of the Reynolds Pamphlet, is from September, 1797. This is less than a month later.

That letter is full of affectionate terms like “My Dear Eliza” and “my Betsey” and “my Beloved.” Hamilton in the letter is commenting on a family emergency: their oldest son, Philip, is sick. But Hamilton is away in Connecticut on professional, legal matters.

The overall tone of the letter does not jibe well with the play’s more contemporary portrait of betrayal and a marriage on the rocks, with a long period of estrangement. 
Hamilton tells his son Philip, “take my guns” to the dueling ground.
The pistols used in this affair of honor belonged to Hamilton’s brother-in-law, Angelica’s husband John Baker Church.
Philip Hamilton is slain by George Eacker in a duel sparked over a fight about Hamilton’s reputation.
This tragic event for the Hamilton family took place in November, 1801.

This is a year after the Election of 1800—which the musical poses as the climactic, closing event of the story.

"They are going through the unimaginable."
There is, I believe, a degree of modern sentimentality about the loss of a child in this song.

While the loss of a child is a tragedy under any circumstances for humans across civilizations and historical eras, early and premature death was so common in the 18th Century it cannot quite be described as "unimaginable."

Certainly many families lost young sons in the Revolutionary War, for instance. In per capita terms, the Revolutionary War was the second deadliest in American history (i.e., second largest number of deaths in terms of percentage of overall population). Yellow fever epidemics were also common at the time, killing many in New York and Philadelphia.

Elizabeth, who had lost twin baby sisters when she was 4, a brother when she was 7, and yet another brother when she was 21, must certainly have been no stranger to the possibility of tragic premature death of children.

The Hamiltons would also welcome a new child whom they would also name Philip in June the next year, seven months or so after the older Philip’s duel. 

“I Pray. That Never Used to Happen Before.”
It definitely "happened before."

Hamilton’s religious feelings seem to have wavered over time. But for a period as a young man (his last year or so on St. Croix and in the first years he spent in America, in school), many around Hamilton noted him demonstrating fervent and regular prayer habits.
Hamilton is shocked by his son’s death into a period of quiet, grief-stricken mourning.
The devastation Hamilton must have felt did not sideline him from work, nor from political involvement.

Three weeks after Philip passed away, Hamilton began publishing his latest, long series of political essays, “The Examination,” in the New York Evening Post.

The essays begin by criticizing President Thomas Jefferson for his conduct at the outset of the war with the Barbary Pirates of Tripoli.

“John Adams shat the bed. I love the guy but he’s in traction... So now I’m facing Aaron Burr with his own faction.”
The Election of 1800 is one of Hamilton: An American Musical’s most distorted retellings of history.

In 1800, Aaron Burr did not start out by running against Thomas Jefferson. It was quite the opposite, in fact. Burr was doing absolutely everything he could to see to it that Jefferson would be elected president.

Citizens of New York State at the time were not enfranchised to cast individual votes for president. Instead, delegates to the Electoral College were chosen by members of the state legislature. Presidential electors thus faced very little pressure from the public.

Aaron Burr had schemed and politicked to elect Jefferson sympathizers to state office in Albany. By doing Jefferson this immense political favor, he hoped to earn—and did earn—Jefferson's "nomination" (less formal at the time) to the vice presidency.

The Constitution, prior to the 12th Amendment, arranged for presidential electors to each cast two votes for president. The candidate with the most votes won the presidency. The runner-up received the vice presidency.

Backroom deals among electors were supposed to deliver a purposefully just-slightly-smaller final toll for Burr. But some of these electors were afraid their colleagues would not keep their words. All of them therefore cast a vote each for Jefferson and Burr. This—accidentally—resulted in a tie.

Then and now, a tie in electoral votes throws the election of the president to state delegations in the House of Representatives.

When Burr discovered that because of this accidental tie he actually stood a chance to become president—and not vice president, as had been prearranged—Burr eventually made the choice not to get out of Jefferson’s way. Burr evidently preferred waiting to see what Congress would do. This was the source of his “challenge” to Jefferson, and Burr would pay dearly for it.

John Adams was not “in traction.” He may not have been especially widely popular as election time neared. But he was running.

In fact Adams came in with 65 electoral votes compared to Jefferson and Burr’s 73. This placed him a close third.
“It might be nice to get Hamilton on your side.” Madison proposes to Jefferson that they should do the almost unthinkable and recruit Hamilton as a political ally.

Later, a chorus of Federalist voters also approaches Hamilton in pursuit of his opinion.
Nothing like this ever happened.

Hamilton in 1800 was a political has-been. He enjoyed just a small base of supporters in New England and to a lesser extent, New York.

In no way would Hamilton's endorsement have played a deciding role in the presidential campaign anywhere.

Madison and Jefferson completely steered clear of Hamilton during this period. He received no letters from and had no meetings with either of them during this entire time.

All twelve of New York’s members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Jefferson and Burr.

Although in the play the chorus of would-be voters in the play is made up of both male and female voices, in no state at the time were women enfranchised to vote for president.

In occasional extraordinary circumstances, however, loopholes sometimes allowed women to vote. For example, a widow who had inherited her husband’s property would have been able to vote in New Jersey.

“Jefferson has my vote.”
Hamilton did ultimately apply as much pressure as he could upon James Bayard, the single member of the House of Representatives from the small state of Delaware.

Because members of the House were deadlocked between choosing Jefferson or Burr, Bayard found himself as a potential swing vote.

Bayard ultimately abstained from casting his lot in one vote, and that threw the presidency to Jefferson and the vice presidency to Aaron Burr—which was the outcome the Democratic-Republicans had wanted before Burr placed the country in crisis.

It is not clear how valuable Hamilton's efforts were in Bayard's fateful decision.
“I have never agreed with Jefferson once.”
This is a bit exaggerated.

There were in fact some public policies upon which Hamilton and Jefferson agreed. For example they both supported public education, the establishment of West Point as a military academy, the standardization of U.S. coinage on the Roman system of tens, the establishment of public libraries, and the importance of a coast guard.
“Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none.”
This also, again, badly overstates Burr’s ego and lack of political conviction.

There is no question that Burr was a bit of an opportunist, but his passion for legal reform makes clear that he was not a nihilist.
“You won in a landslide.”
The Election of 1800 was not a “landslide” at all.

As noted above, Jefferson and Burr received the same number of electoral votes. And in the congressional contest that ultimately decided between the two, Burr lost by the abstention of a single voter in the House.
Jefferson asserts that because he is the president, he can change the system that appoints the presidential runner-up to the vice presidency.
The president has no formal or legal role in amending the U.S. Constitution.

Burr did serve as Jefferson’s vice president for all four years of his first administration. Although it should be noted that Jefferson mostly ignored and sidelined him.
A humiliated and angry Burr drafts a letter challenging Hamilton to a duel.
Nothing like this happened in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election of 1800.

The final conflict that brought things to a head between Burr and Hamilton took place years later in 1804, after Burr unsuccessfully ran for governor of New York State—and Hamilton worked behind the scenes to discredit him.
“You stand only for yourself,” Hamilton tells Burr.
This is not necessarily the essence of the grievance that led to the Burr-Hamilton duel.

While Hamilton harbored such beliefs to a certain extent, at the time he was most motivated by the whisper campaign in his own Federalist party for New England states to secede from the Union.

Certain New England senators were so distressed and outraged over Thomas Jefferson’s policies that they wanted to form their own republic. They did not believe this would be a viable plan, however, without New York among them.

The New England secessionists had been courting Burr’s favor and hoping to get him elected governor of the Empire State so they would have New York's support.
The morning of the duel, Elizabeth urges her husband to come back to bed. He tells her he has an early meeting.
Husband and wife were not actually together the morning of the duel.

Elizabeth and some of the children were in Harlem at the family country house, “The Grange.” Hamilton had slept miles away in Lower Manhattan in the town residence on Cedar Street.
“This is a soldier with a marksman’s ability,” Burr says of Hamilton.
Burr had also been a soldier in the Revolutionary War and arguably saw as much combat, if not more, than Hamilton had.
“They say Angelica and Eliza were both at his side when he died.”
This is not true. Hamilton had many visitors, and his wife and all their children were present. Angelica Schuyler was not.
“I’m the one who paid for it. Now I’m the villain in your history.”

“I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.”
No one has ever recorded Burr expressing regret for having slain Hamilton in the duel.

It should be remembered that for much of American history, the Hamilton-Burr duel was regarded as an obscure episode.

Burr paid a much heftier political price for failing to withdraw from consideration for the presidency in the Election of 1800. His acts succeeding Hamilton’s death—evidently working as a spy for Britain, possibly fomenting a secession movement in the western U.S., or even just “filibustering” to raise a private army to conquer Mexico—provided plenty more ammunition to his detractors.

Burr was tried and acquitted of treason in 1807. The charges had nothing to do with Hamilton.