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10 facts about Hamilton you wouldn't know from the musical

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January 11th is the birthday of Founding Father of The United States and subject of the hit Broadway Musical, Alexander Hamilton. To celebrate the big day, here are 10 facts about Hamilton that you wouldn't know from Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit show.

1. Hamilton likely lied about his age

We know that Hamilton was born on January 11th, but what we don't know is the exact year. He himself stated it was 1757, but official records from Nevis, the Carribean Island where Hamilton was born, cite his date of birth as 1755. Ron Chernow, whose biography of Hamilton inspired the hit show, states that Hamilton may have decided to "correct" his age when applying to Princeton, to make himself appear younger.

2. He passed the bar exam after only six months

Whilst the musical will tell you that he became a lawyer following the revolution, what it won't tell you is that he passed the New York Bar exam (something that people take years to study for) in only six months!

3. No one actually knows what Alexander Hamilton's last words were

This is kind of touched on in the musical by the fact that he goes on and on before finally dying, but in real life, no one actually knows what Hamilton's last words were - he lived for a day after his fatal shot by Aaron Burr and apparently would not stop talking! There are various different possibilties considered by historians as to what his last words might have been, but no definitive answer.

4. He had a lot more kids than the musical mentions

The musical mentions his two eldest children, Phillip and Angelica, but Alexander Hamilton in fact had eight children, two of which were named Phillip as Alexander and Eliza named their youngest son after the eldest who died in a duel the year before he was born.

5. His eldest daughter suffered a mental breakdown

Also not mentioned in the musical, his eldest daughter Angelica (named after her aunt), was incredibly close to her brother Phillip and after his death in 1801 she suffered a mental breakdown and was interned under the care of a doctor for the rest of her life.

6. He participated in no fewer than 10 duels

Whilst we do know from the musical about Hamilton's fatal duel with Burr, and the duel with Charles Lee in which he was a second, it turns out Hamilton was quite the dueller, being the challenger in no fewer than ten duels, including one with President John Adams and future President James Monroe!

7. His brother-in-law could have saved his life

Hamilton's brother-in-law, John Church (barely mentioned in the musical as they try to play up the Angelica/Alexander infatuation), could have saved his life. Five years prior to Hamilton's fatal duel with Aaron Burr, John Church took him on, in the same place, Weehawken, New Jersey and even with the same guns! Church called Burr out in 1799 for taking bribes and his father's senate seat. He even put a round through Burr's coat, coming within inches of killing the man. How different history would have been had Church killed Burr that day!

8. He received George Washington's last ever letter

Hamilton was Washington's 'Right Hand Man' and the two were great friends, shown by the fact that two days before he died, Washington sent Hamilton a letter praising his plans to establish a National Military Academy. This letter was to be his very last one.

9. Hamilton did write 51 of the Federalist papers - but he had help!

In the song "Non-Stop", Burr states that Hamilton wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist papers. This is true, but the musical does leave one minor detail out of that statement, he did not do it alone. His wife, Eliza, being well educated and the daughter of a politician, helped him out as he had such a short time in which to write them.

10. Ironically, for a Secretary of The Treasury, he left his family in debt

Hamilton's salary as Secretary of The Treasury was far less than he could have made as a full time lawyer, and because he died so young (before he was 50) and didn't have time to make up the money, he left his family in serious financial trouble when he died, so much so, that his wife Eliza had to petition Congress for the money and land Hamilton had been due for his service in the revolution, which he had previously forfeited. She wisely waited until Hamilton's old enemy Jefferson was no longer president!




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