Hamilton: Rising Up and Telling Your Story5-7 pages;
OVERVIEW: Hamilton has been described as a play about “America then, told by America now.” It shows the power of words, the power of the pen, and the power of voice. It also questions who will tell your story and why that matters. Alexander Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, yet he is seldom taught in history classes—certainly not as much as Thomas Jefferson or George Washington, even though he was Washington’s right-hand man, fought in the Revolutionary War, created our financial system, and was the first Secretary of the Treasury, among many other things. He argued for the abolition of slavery and promoted passage of the U.S. Constitution (which many were opposed to) in the Federalist Papers, where he argued for the importance of a centralized government that could become a great power in the world. He was an orphaned immigrant from the West Indies, who was not a wealthy, white, slave- and land-owning man and he rose to become one of the most influential people who wrote prolifically and helped to create the democratic republic of the United States. Lin-Manuel Miranda casts his play with people of color and digs deep into the stories, rivalries, and personalities of the Founding Fathers and other key players—including women—who have had such a major impact on our lives. He literally “re-members” history, meaning he re-constructs it from perspectives that have largely gone unheard and unseen. And he does this through hip-hop beats and creative choreography, bringing this story to life for a modern audience. In this essay, drawing upon history, current events, and the text, casting, and staging of his play, answer the following prompt.
PROMPT: Why does Lin-Manuel Miranda “re-member” the history of Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers in this play and what is he revealing about the power of storytelling?
DIRECTIONS & KEYS TO SUCCESS:
– Draw upon lyrics from the songs as well as the casting and staging in the play to show how Miranda “re-members” history and gives the audience new perspectives. – Argue what he is revealing about the power of storytelling and hearing from marginalized voices
– Bring in relevant historical and current events
– Write 5-7 pages, in MLA format, with a separate Works Cited page
CHECKLIST FOR WHAT TO INCLUDE IN ESSAY
– In this and all essays you should: Open with something that hooks your readers and provide context on your topic AND/OR introduce your texts and authors if you are writing about literature.
– Write a clear and forceful thesis statement that answers the prompt.
– Use ample support to illustrate your points
– Make sure all quotes or paraphrases have signal phrases and are in “quote sandwiches” with proper MLA in-text citation (see handouts on Canvas if you need to refresh your memory on how to do this; this goes for any of these skills)
– Add appropriate transitions between ideas within paragraphs and to connect your points between paragraphs
– Conclude with a summary of your analysis and make a final point or call to action
– Carefully proofread for spelling, grammar, and format errors
– Write a catchy title
Lyrics to “Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells your story”
Alexander Hamilton Bio
Passages from Hamilton
Original Hamilton Cast
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