NOW we have attained the kind of rap-battle controversy that I was expecting from Ron Chernow’s Hamilton.
The lines are drawn, the gloves are off, and A. Ham is wading into battle against prettttttty much every other Founding Father. Which means that it’s time for a new #HamAlong feature I shall call Which Founding Father Is Being the Worst This Week?
Which Founding Father Is Being the Worst This Week? I’m going to have to say Monroe. This fuckin’ guy. When some guys in the federal government got wind of Hamilton’s history of giving money to James Reynolds (they heard about it because James Reynolds was all the time telling people about it), they went round Hamilton’s house to see what was up, and Hamilton explained to them about Maria Reynolds at great length.
Two of the guys were horribly embarrassed by all this and were totally like “uh, yeah, bro, that’s your business, we’ll just — sorry about charging you with speculation, this is super awkward, we’ll be on our way then.” Monroe, by contrast, promised not to tell another soul what he saw, and then ran away and IMMEDIATELY TATTLED to Thomas Jefferson.
Which…okay, as I’m typing this, I have to admit that if I found out some salacious gossip about the lady at my old job who always stole the cream cheese,1 I would have a very hard time not going straight to Whiskey Jenny with this news. However, if I gave my word to the cream cheese-stealing lady and I promised not to tell, I would not tell. You still have to keep your promises even when they have been made to people who steal communal cream cheese and keep it all for themselves. So Monroe is still the worst, after all.
Also not the best, however? Thomas Jefferson. This is a tricky time for foreign relations, and Thomas Jefferson does not rise to the occasion of our new nation as much as maybe one might have hoped. As you will remember from your history classes (slash, from “Cabinet Battle #2”), France and England were not at this time the best of pals, and America had to articulate a foreign policy to address that hostility, as well as the increasingly bloody French Revolution. Jefferson was very
Which nobody who’s ever seen that one part of Casablanca could be completely out of sympathy with, as a position. But it seems to me that Jefferson feared that France would get forgotten and abandoned if Hamilton were left to his own devices, and this fear made him keep on siding with France even when they were being super terrible and beheading people bloodily all over the town square. “Thus always to tyrants!” said Jefferson, probably, when he heard about Louis XVI being executed, and that, boys and girls, is why you should learn to live with cognitive dissonance. So that you don’t find yourself Secretary of State trying to explain why widespread guillotine massacres are a-okay under some circumstances.
Various other things happened, including Ron Chernow blaming Alexander Hamilton for Eliza having a miscarriage. Bro, remember that time you blamed Alexander’s infidelity on Eliza being pregnant? And we were all like
about it? Well, this is another of those times. Lots of pregnancies miscarry. Especially in olden days. Don’t be weird.
Altogether, A LOT happened in this section of the HamAlong. By the end of it, Hamilton has retired his position in the cabinet to spend more time with his family. What I am curious to know is, can he stick to this resolution? And if yes, is Retired Hamilton like one of those very, very, very energetic dogs where you have to tire out their brains or else they’ll chew up your sofa while you’re away at work? (Seems likely.)
Hamilton Burn Ward: Like last week, someone tries to insult Hamilton but kinda ends up complimenting him. A Republican foe making a joke about Hamilton’s favorable view of the monarchy suggested that Hamilton be made king, since the country would then never want for heirs. Get it? Get it?
As always, thanks to the wonderful Alice for hosting!
- SHE KNOWS WHO SHE IS. ↩