Elizabeth Hamilton should have her own musical

By James Stein Dec 3, 2021
Painting of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. From Wiki Commons
Painting of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.
From Wiki Commons

Since its Broadway debut in early 2015, Hamilton has gained quite a large fan base and lots of popularity. The thrilling, yet tragic storyline in addition to the brilliant work of Lin-Manual Miranda leaves me far from surprised that it has received a multitude of awards. While there is no question that Hamilton was a self-made, hardworking man of exceptional talent, his wife, Elizabeth “Eliza” Hamilton (born Schuyler) is deserving of her own musical and fame out from behind her husband’s shadow. 

Alexander Hamilton, the historical figure that the musical is centered around, created quite the name for himself in just 47 years as a Revolutionary War Veteran, First Secretary of Treasury, founder of the American financial system, Constitutional Convention delegate, and one of Washington’s dearest friends and closest confidants during his presidency. 

Eliza Hamilton, lived just as impactful of a life as her husband. Much like the typical woman during this time period, Eliza Hamilton raised eight children nearly on her own while her husband was constantly away at work. She also assisted Alexander in his political career by helping him draft public documents. Supporting Hamilton in all of his endeavors, I imagine that she was quite shocked when hearing of the scandal that her and Alexander faced. 

After a lengthy affair with Maria Reynolds, Hamilton was approached by political rivals who had acquired evidence against him. Alexander was wrongfully accused to have taken part in illegal financial activities. Fearing the impact that criminal accusations would have on his hard-earned reputation and career, he published the Reynolds Pamphlet. This was a public record that, with its detailed explanation of the affair, provoked drama but cleared his name of any wrongdoings. As you might imagine, dealing with an affair is painful. But being wrapped up in a scandal while in the public eye? That was agonizing for Eliza Hamiton. 

When faced with the threat of losing his reputation and political career, Alexander chose to save himself while openly embarrassing his wife and showing the world just what his priorities are. Without consideration of the fact that they were married, the extent of her support throughout Alexander’s life and career made his betrayal even more personal. 

Despite Alexander Hamilton’s infidelity towards Eliza, she still remained the kind-hearted woman and loyal wife she was even long after his death. From standing up to the men who exposed Alexander, founding a private orphanage, establishing a free schooling system in a lower income neighborhood of New York and honoring her husband and fundraising for the Washington Monument, she never broke her promise to Alexander Hamilton. Eliza Hamilton truly left the world a much, much better place than how she found it. 

I truly believe that it is nothing but an understatement to say that Elizabeth Hamilton deserves her own musical. She endured a lifetime of hard work and betrayal while raising eight children. She also honored her husband and his passions for the 50 years she outlived him. She never let herself turn cold despite all she experienced, and only used her wealth to help those in need and to follow her passions. Simply being known today as “Alexander Hamilton’s wife” is an injustice to not only Eliza Hamilton, but to all those who she helped in her lifetime, and a musical detailing her accomplishments is well deserved.

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