Back Watch: Joanne Freeman answers your questions about Alexander Hamilton

Video: Joanne B. Freeman on Hamilton’s presidential prospects (2:18)

A little over two years ago, U.S. founding statesman Alexander Hamilton was arguably best known as the face on America’s ten-dollar bill. Today, of course, he is the subject of widespread fascination, having rocketed to the kind of historical celebrity that was previously reserved for his contemporaries George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Why has the smash Broadway musical based on Hamilton’s life and writings struck such a chord—and how accurate is it? To answer these and related questions, Library of America hosted an hour-long live webcast on October 6 featuring Hamilton expert Joanne B. Freeman, editor of the LOA volume Alexander Hamilton: Writings, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University and a member of LOA’s Board of Directors.

The Essential Hamilton (2017)

Responding to questions about Hamilton submitted in advance by Library of America members and fellows, Freeman ranged over such topics as Hamilton’s prospects for higher office had he survived his duel with Aaron Burr, his rumored Jewish ancestry, his relationships with Washington and Jefferson, and much more.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Hamilton musical, has graciously acknowledged his debt to the LOA collection of Hamilton’s writings. In order to make that writing even more accessible to a general audience, Freeman and Library of America are now preparing The Essential Hamilton, a trade paperback selection of key correspondence and other texts by the first Secretary of the Treasury that will be released in spring 2017.

Watch the complete program below (58:24).

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