As I posted earlier this week, I am teaching a course on the “Age of Hamilton” in the Fall. We will be discussing the history behind the Broadway musical “Hamilton” and I will be making extensive use of the soundtrack.
As I prepare the course, I have tried-out a few Hamilton songs in my United States Survey to 1865 course this semester (Spring 2019). For example, I used the song “You’ll Be Back” to introduce my students to the deeply embedded royal culture in the colonies on the eve of the American Revolution:
We are now covering the 1790s in the course. On Wednesday I used the soundtrack to help my students make sense of Hamilton’s debt assumption plan and the Jefferson/Madison opposition to it. These two songs were very helpful:
I will probably use one more Hamilton song next week when I lecture about U.S. foreign policy in the late 1780s and 1790s:
Not all the “Hamilton” songs work well in a U.S. Survey course (largely because many of them are historically inaccurate), but I have found that several songs bring to life the debates between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans and help my students make sense of this material.