Lafayette in Hamilton: History in Art




Cleworth, Catherine

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, based on historian Ron Chernow’s award-winning biography of the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, quickly became a cultural phenomenon after opening on Broadway in 2015 and introduced a new generation to the medium and magic of musicals. This thesis discusses how Hamilton portrays the Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who fought in the American Revolution. It compares the character presented in Hamilton with the historical figure of Lafayette and considers the historical accuracy of the portrayal. The thesis also looks at historical musicals and how they have employed history in their composition. Ultimately, I find that Hamilton’s portrayal of Lafayette is effective in engaging a broad audience with history even if it is not completely historically accurate. The balance of accuracy and engagement make it possible for Hamilton to reach a broad audience while still offering historical value.



History., Theatre.