Our Everly Mag Writing Leaders told us about a single piece of art that changed their life. Whether it’s a song, book, television episode, YouTube video, or more, our leaders discussed why and how this piece of art made an impact.
This article was written by our writing leader Emily. Get to know our Summer 2018 Leaders here!
Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton used to be the names that we’d skim over in our textbooks, with no real connection to the things we ACTUALLY cared about. These old men founded our country, and this is obviously important because I need a good grade on my history test. Lin-Manuel Miranda turned these names and their impact into something more – since Hamilton’s opening in 2015, we have felt their struggles like our own. As if I ever thought that I could relate to someone like Marquis de Lafayette – or even remember who he was. Hamilton showed me that the figures we learn about in school are not just people too, but people like me. People who I can be inspired by to use “my shot” to shape our own modern world. How did one musical have such a strong impact?
With Miranda’s choice to cast nearly all people of color, representing characters who were actually mostly white, people could really see themselves in the story. Asian girls, or even just girls, like myself, aren’t usually shown taking such a stake in early American history – but Phillipa Soo’s portrayal of the feminine but strong-willed Eliza Hamilton tells a different tale.
The Power of the Music
The emotion and relatability of Miranda’s lyrics goes from the heart-wrenching ballads like “Burn” to the upbeat raps like “Guns and Ships.” It’s enough to rile up any crowd and get them feeling the feelings of our forefathers before they even know it. The characters, amidst all the political strife, experience their own romances, friendships, and ambitions just as we would today.
Timing is Better than Ever
In the age of social media activism and with politics all over our news, teens want to get involved too! I still remember playing Hamilton songs in our office alongside my boss while interning for a local campaign office during the 2016 elections. Sometimes the bad news out there makes us feel helpless, but remembering all the challenges that the major players in Hamilton had overcome in order to take a stand, shows us a light at the end of the tunnel.
Youth are the nation’s future, but even in the age of technology, we can relate to the fired-up founders of the past. Hamilton changed my perspective on history and inspired me to seriously take charge. If a poor, orphaned, immigrant could rise up and use his shot to become one of America’s legends, what’s stopping you?
Are you a part of the “Hamilton Generation”? Comment below!
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