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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  October 26, 2016 2:41am-4:41am EDT

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>> you mention something i think is sophisticated, talking about the fact that everyone is a specialist maybe you can talk about a specialization of labor. each individual his own personal talents and professions being specialized in. >> the report on manufacturers is very long and there's a lot in it. and it's easy to miss this paragraph. it leaped out at me as a biographer, i did have this sense that hamilton was writing about himself, which he rarely does. he's not a self-analytical person. he's not very self-reflective. he never kept a diary. some of his letters talk about himself. this is true of most of the founding fathers they weren't
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generally an inward looking lot. john adams was, he has some of that purt an self-examination and he keeps a detailed diary but -- i thought here for a surprising moment, it's like the mask slips and we're seeing something about the inner man. he's probably perhaps not even aware of it. this is his own life, how it could have gone, this alternate life he's describing. it could so easily have happened he worked for a merchant that was headquartered here he had a men sister who had been educate at princeton, that was a second break. when he was a teenager, he wrote a letter about a hurricane that flattened st. croix, it was published in the local
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newspaper. and so people read this thing and thought, this is a bright kid, let's give him a boost. you could so easily see none of those things happening or just short circuiting somehow. that's what he could have been, i just see him wanting to change the deck for future players. very inspiring. any other questions? >>. >> i know you've seen the play hamilton. if your books had been the source of material is there anything you would have changed or added. >> i love the play. i saw it at the public theater. i reviewed it, they made me pay for the reviewer's ticket. that's how hot the show was even before it went to broadway. ron and i agree on everything
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except the year that hamilton was born. there's a controversy about that michael newton has finally put that to rest. he agrees with me, not -- i agree with hamilton. the question is, was he born in 1755 or 57. anyway no, i -- the one thing that the play does. and i see why they did it. they make aaron burr into basically a nice guy. he has no ideas and he does kill the hero, basically, he's a good sort. and this is done for dramatic reasons, you want an antagonist who's not just a villain. so they're trying to make a kind of a -- not a parody between him and hamilton, but nothing lopsided. burr had many admirable qualities, he was a brave man,
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an intelligent man well reedman. i see something cold and empty at the heart of him which is not the way miranda chose to go. it's not the way chirnow chooses to go in his book. his idea is dark indeed. >> they were also able to speak to huge rooms in the 18th century. i don't -- they did it differently. it must have been like singing. >> i'd like to ask you a question that i asked an alexander hamilton actor at the grange. i asked the question in front of professor friedman, and neither her nor the actor -- they didn't
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give me an answer. but the actor in his portrayal of hamilton was offended by my question. was alexander hamilton romantically involved with his wife's sister? >> you know, yes. but did they have an affair? i don't know. we never know. his wife's sister angelica. betsy skylar was one of a number of skylar daughters. her sister married john church and it was actually john church's dualing pistols that were use d in the fatal dual wih aaron burr i've seen them. and they're really good looking, which makes it terrible. i mean, these are fetishized
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artistic objects of gentlemenly death. it's chilling to see these things. dualing was also illegal in new jersey. it was illegal everywhere. deaths and duals were considered murders, but they were never prosecuted. no jury would have convicted, because that's what gentlemen did. it was a parallel system. it was a wicked system. but we lived with it. there were these church sisters and clearly angelica is smitten with hamilton. she writes these letters to him and about him and she reminds me of a character in a jane austin novel. one of these characters who's amusing by how annoying they are. they're always in your face and putting their emotions before you i think hamilton was flattered by this attention. he had an eye for the ladies.
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he's not the only person you can think of who falls in love with a whole group of sisters simultaneously. mows art did that. charles dickens did that it's a common pattern for someone, often from the margins and they meet rich glamorous or attractive sisters, and they pick out one whom they marry, they're just in love with the crop of them. and they're in love with him. that's my best answer. there's no solid proof of anything more than that. yes, i think there was a kind of erroticized quality to the relationship with all the skylar girls. thank you so much for your attention. [ applause ]
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>> you can tell by his knowledge and the depth -- there are many historians, there are many biographers, many authors, many journalists, very few have the charlie depth and wit that mr. brookheiser has. i wanted to share this with you all today. richard brookheiser has been designated as an alexander hamilton scholar. provide active, objective and insightful information to the public about alexander hamilton. the alexander hamilton society 2016. thank you for your service to alexander hamilton.
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and to conclude, we want to let you know if you haven't gotten one of these, you can ask for it afterwards. we have a number of more hamilton events, on the hudson and mid valley region. that's july 15th and 17th. the trinity church archives is going to have original documents. i believe baptism -- we encourage you to see that. thank you so much for coming and keep following and cheering on alexander hamilton and his contributions, thank you. [ applause ] "first ladies" is now available at your favorite bookseller and also as an ebook. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a
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public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your table or satellite provider. coming up on c-span3's american history tv, a focus on alexander hamilton. he'll hear from authors and historians. also "hamilton" the musical and its impact on popular culture. c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. this week we're focussing on presidential battleground states leading up to election day. wednesday morning, it's pennsylvania. we'll talk about voters, recent polls and updates on other key political races in the state. our guests include terry madonna, director of the center of politics and public affairs at franklin marshall college. republican consultant
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christopher nicholas and democratic strategist mark evans. watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. the morris-jumel mansion was built in 1765 as a summer home for colonel roger morris and his wife. abandoned during the revolutionary war it was then used as a military headquarters. in 1810, steven jumel purchased the property. after he died, his wife married aaron burr and the two occupied the home. carol ward, executive director of the morris-jumel mansion on the ties between halexander hamilton, and the morris-jumel nsion. this is about 45 minutes. >> tonight's program is the room where it happened, hamilton connections to the morris-jumel
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mansion which is celebrating its 250th anniversary. as many of you know, it's the oldest house in manhattan. not only does it have a strong connection to alexander hamilton, but also to george washington, aaron burr and manuel miranda, as you will soon see. we're so fortunate to have carol ward, the executive director of the mansion, as our guide tonight. she's been there for eight years. carol is an art historian who is an expert on bringing contemporary art into an historic house setting. her book about the morris-jumel mansion is available for sale downstairs in our store and carol will be signing her book downstairs after the program. she'll be available for your questions at that time. please welcome carol ward. [ applause ]
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>> thank you, everyone. i'm going to set my timer and try to keep us on track this evening. okay. so i wanted to thank the historical society, obviously, and kathleen and everyone for inviting me this evening. this is a topic that i know can fill a room, as it's friday night in the summer, 6:30, and there's cocktails being served somewhere, i'm sure, and the sun still is out. so i'm very excited you're all here in the room with me. we are going to talk a little bit about the history behind the musical as it relates to the mansion. we're going to talk about the musical itself. we're going to talk about leslie odom jr. all these amazing people that are part of the history of the mansion. just to warn you a little bit, there are sound clips in the power points and one of the technical things we worked on right before you worked in is the sound clip starts at the beginning of the slides. how many people have heard the soundtrack? okay. about half of us.
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excellent. so there's a couple that start really laoud just to warn you. who has been to the morris-jumel mansion before? awesome. about half of us again. thank you to those of you who have been. those who have not, you need to get out right now. no, i'm just kidding. i'd expect to see you soon at the mansion. let's begin by setting the scene with the two men or the one man we're talking about this evening. we've got alexander hamilton in his historic guise and his contemporary guise. to quote from the musical to start off with, how does a bastard -- i'm not going to rap it. how does a bastard orphan, sochb a whore and a scotsman dropped improverished in squalor grow up
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to be a squalor? it relates to hamilton historically and also relates to lindmon weld himself. historic hamilton is born january 11th, either 1755 or 1757. we're not quite sure. as i look to our hamilton descendant in the room. most historical evidence leads us to believe it was 1757. and as most of us know, he dies july 12th, 1804, after the famous duel with another resident of the mansion, aaron burr. flip of that, mr. miranda is born january 16th, 1980. so a little bit after that. and what i want to do throughout the evening is tell you about the history of the mansion relating to hamilton and then how lindmon weld factors into this story. so sew let's start.
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this is not hamilton related. as kathleen said, it's manhat n manhattan's oldest house built in 1765. 251 years old. and it was built as a summer country resdense by the gentleman on the left, roger morris. a retired british colonel. builds the house as a wedding present for his wife, mary philips morris. if you've ever heard of philips burg manor in tarytown, new york, that's her family's estate. when you start thinking about the welts of these families in the 18th century you have to think about washington heights being the countryside. closest neighbor is five miles away. they have 130 acres of land around the house. huge farm. now mary morris, before she's married, her family estate in tarytown has 52,000 acres of land around it. you're talking about the cream of the crop, the height of
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society in 18th century. we know roger marries her for her money. it's a given fact. she's an heiress. they live there for about ten years, until 1775. as you might guess, they're loyalists. they high tail it back to england when the revolutionary war breaks out. so they leave the house abandoned. interestingly enough, and this will be a theme throughout my story, the wife mary comes back to get a lot of possessions from the house. when they live back in england, roger dies at about 60. mary lives to be 95. also the point of my story today. all the women outlive their husbands. subtext. after that, it becomes a headquarters for george washington, then the british, then kind of becomes abandoned and a tavern for a little bit. we'll get to that. here's where the first sound clip comes in, and it's kind of loud so just get ready. ♪
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♪ this close is giving up mass scrutiny i scream in the face of this mass mutiny ♪ ♪ the men with whom i am to defend america ♪ ♪ we ride at midnight. i cannot be everywhere at once people ♪ >> george washington sounding a little different than you might imagine him from his portraits. so what i have on the screen is a still from the musical. that's chris jackson in the center as george washington. we've got an etching of the battle as they envisioned it, and then really amazing website that i would highly suggest called they have all the lyrics to every song from the musical and people annotate it based on historical fact. if you click on the mirric you just heard that we have to run up t harlem quick, this is what
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you'll find. and so it actually talks about the battle of harlem heights that's featured in the musical that took place around the mansion. that takes place september 16th, 1776. most people consider it a victory because it's the first time the continental army gets the british army to retreat. they come back with reinforcements and washington then retreats up to white plains. imagine it's a battle of brooklyn, battle of harlem heights and then goes to white plains. hamilton is there during the battle of harlem heights. he's coined the lilion by washington. washington considers him like a son. he's the right-hand man. that's the title of the song from the musical. he depends on him for many, many things. by this point in the war, hamilton is writing 50% or more of washington's correspondence. so washington cannot be the
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general he was without hamilton right there. i'm not saying that just because doug is sitting right there in front of me. now other interesting fact which i just found out as i was doing research for this talk. during the retreat, aaron burr saved an entire brigade, including mr. hamilton. interesting thing i found on the interwebs is normally washington would commend an officer after an event like that. it is the only recorded time that washington doesn't commend the officer. he doesn't commend burr. that's a really interesting sleight, and it starts -- you start thinking about the life of burr as it relates to hamilton and also just in general that start building up. as kathleen mentioned, i live with burr and hamilton at the house, so i have to be a little fair to both sides. so -- >> ladies and gentlemen. you could have been anywhere in the world tonight but you're here with us in new york city.
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are you ready for a cabinet meeting, huh? >> are you ready? so the great thing about the house and about our connection with the musical is it's not just that he wrote a couple of the songs at the hour, which i'll talk about in a little while. it's the historic pieces of the musical are taking place at the house. battle of harlem heights and the first rap cabinet battle took place in that dining room. that's a really amazing connection that we can talk about. so we have the dining room as it's seen now. something else i'm going to talk about, we're going through a five-year reinterpretation plan. you'll be one of the first groups to get a sneak peek of what the mansion is going to look like in a few years. and then the cabinet itself. very cool picture that was taken when the cast went to the white house for the second time. you have everyone under the portrait of their respective
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cabinet member/president. to lin's right. and jackson under george washington. very cool story also. david jefferson lafayette lives across the street from the mansion so we just wave as he walks his dog. it's really neat. the interesting thing about the cabinet battle in the show is it sets up the conflict between hamilton and jefferson. you've talked about the different views of what america was going to look like. the revolution is over. we've won as king george says in the musical. what comes next? what are you going to do now that you're an independent country? it's not as easy to govern as you all like to think. so we've got two factions. we've got the federalists which are led by hamilton. big business, government, banks, keeping the capital in new york
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city. really kind of controlling government. on the other side, we've got the republicans with thomas jefferson. egrarrian society, farmers, common man, which we're still having that conflict today. don't worry. i'll not get political, 2016. i stay out of that. all right. so then as i mentioned, while jefferson has that dinner party, it's a tavern for about a couple years. then the house is abandoned for about 20 years. these two farmers own it. it gets into disrepair, and then we're at 1810. 1810, the lady on the right who i do live with every day, her name is eliza jumel. a lot of you have probably heard about her if you've come to the mansion. she's my favorite person in the whole story today. no offense to hamilton or burr, but she is a super, super strong woman. lives to be 90 years old. starts off life super poor in rhode island.
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dies one of the wealthiest women in new york and probably all of the country. she buys this house with her first husband steven jumel. they don't change the footprint of the house which is interesting architectually because it was kind of out of style. an 1s century house. they could have made it more 19th century and grand. she adds things to the interior of the house. here'sior first sneak peek. below her portrait and that portrait dates to 1833 when she marries aaron burr. she's about 59 in that portrait. the wallpaper that literally just got put up at the mansion in the first floor hallway. it is based on a new primary source that we have found in our archives, and it's this amazing gray marbleized wallpaper to make you think you are in a greek and roman temple. eliza loved the best things in life. she helped steven triple his fortune. they travel back and forth to
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france a lot. an amazing duncan five suite related to the whitney suite you'd see if you went there today. height of 19th century decorative arts. why is she important to our discussion today? her first husband passes away in 1832 in a very odd accident involving a pitchfork. somehow he falls on to a pitchwork. i don't know how that happens there. don't you see it there? whatever. brought back to the mansion. he's bandaged up. what we know is that some time in the course of the evening, she dismissed the servants and he supposedly cries out that he's in pain. she unbandages his wounds to help clean them. he bleeds out and dies. that's what we know. the rest i'm going to leave to you because again, i live with her every day. about eight months later, she decides to marry her second husband. this man.
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♪ what to say to you you have my eyes you have your mother's name when you came into the world you cried and it broke my heart ♪ ♪ i am dedicating every day to you ♪ >> all right. so here's, as he calls himself in the musical, the villain of our history. this is aaron burr. and completely misunderstood guy. i mean, spoiler alert at the end of the musical every night he does shoot alexander hamilton. it doesn't change unfortunately. there are some people in the burr camp that really want it to change, but every night he shoots hamilton. so he is then t antagonist of t musical. li n has rated a well-rounded portrait of hamilton. he's born in newark, new jersey,
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in 1756. and so opposite to hamilton. he is born to a very famous preacher and a woman -- his mom, is transcendentalist. she's a super smart woman. she trains burr, if you will, in find of the best of the classics in architecture and art. and he also, his parents both die so they're both orphans. but very different scenario. his father didn't leave. his mom wasn't supposedly a prostitute. so he's got this legacy already on his shoulders to protect. a lot of what the story -- concurrent stories of hamilton and burr are are them viewing a legacy in a very, very different way. one needs to build a legacy, hamilton, and one needs to maintain that legacy. and that's seen a lot in their lives historically and also in the musical. so burr marries theodoci theodocia probos. they have a daughter they also
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name theodocia, the one he's talking about. she's born in 1783. some people will say that burr is one of the first feminists. i don't know about that. i'm kind of on the fence about that. but he does do something very different for his daughter. he educates her in more than just sewing and how to get a husband. so she just like his mother did for him, she knows the classics. she knows art. she knows architecture. and she becomes his confidante. after his wife dies, he is actually looking for a new place to live. in 1803, there's a survive iing to aaron burr telling him about the mansion. and she says, you basically should buy it now because in ten years, it's going to become, quote, a princely estate, which is kind of interesting and amazing when you think about he had the opportunity to purchase the house in 1803 and then becomes the owner of the house about 30 years later.
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so the song is about theodocia when she's born. the wife has died shortly afterward. and this is another thing about hamilton versus burr. if we flash forward to the duel, especially in the musical as well, there's this last song before the duel takes place. and burr says, it's either him or me. he's not going to make an orphan of my daughter. both these men know what it's like to be an orphan, not to have parents. burr's wife has already died. it's him or hamilton. and he doesn't want his daughter, who is an adult at that point, to not have parents. and a very weird, interesting twist of fate, burr basically gives all of his documents to theodocia about his time during the revolutionary war. she is traveling up from the south where she lives with her husband on a ship and we know that she dies in a shipwreck. either the ship flounders or possibly pirates board the ship.
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we have a copy at the mansion that an artist created for us. we did a whole exhibit on aaron burr and all the women. this is supposed to be theodocia drowning. so this was, i think, a really interesting slide. before we get to lin and where he comes on the scene. this is the hall the way it looks today with a newly conserved portrait. after eliza's death in 1865, her daughter takes control of the house. you can see her granddaughter on the right in the porerate. eliza jr., if you will. she takes control of the house and two last owners own the house. very quick succession. the family on the left is the
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laprince family. laprince was a very early filmmaker photographer and on september 8th, we're going to be premiering a film called the first film, a about how the movie would have been shown at the mansion. the mansion would have been the first movie theater in america. he mysteriously disappears in france before he can show it. if you want more information on that, check our website. the last, last owners of the earl family. the slide on the right is the back of the house. our famous octagon room. if you can kind of notice right by the chimney, they've cut out the roof for a skylight. the son of the earl family, ferdinand p. earl was an art student. and it was actually his art studio. it continues past these figures we've talked about. so the mansion becomes a museum in 1904. the dar, daughters of the
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american revolution, take it over. it's basically the site of colonial revivalism. yea, america. the morrises are not in the story. hamilton is not in the story. eliza jumel definitely not in the story. and it's all washington all the time. so they open after a grand renovation in 1907. really fun thing about this photo, you see it says 1758? they thought it was 1758. it's okay. and this was george washington's birthday in 1907 when they are grandly reopening the house. now we've switched over to museum life. this is william shelton and bolton on the top slide. they are the first curator and archaeologists of the institution. you can imagine a little bit, you love the dar. it's an interesting group of people. there were 20 spinning wheels
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throughout the mansion. there's a letter from shelton telling the dar, don't give me any more spinning wheels. please. and he is the first one, though, that actually goes through the collection and tells the dar, lo, we have to tell everyone's story. which kind of jumps to the musical, right? who lives, who dies, who tells your story? shelton is the one telling them, you have to tell everyone's story. i know you love george washington, but there's other people in the history of the house. so the dining room where the cab net battle took place? this is what it looked like in 1907. yea, george washington. let's have a bust, a plaque, little stoatues of george washington. when you think about 19th century museums, they were keeping that era alive of like these cases and you are really not telling the story so much of the room. those are some more dar ladies. and they are fabulous.
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what i would tell you is the dar single handedly saved houses like this. they went to city, elected officials and said you cannot tear down this house. it has intrinsic historical value. we were just talking about jackie kennedy. it was before landmarks laws and these ladies were really doing it the right way. so as much as we look back and say, well, why did they do this? they were doing what was best for the time and dressing up and looking fabulous as well. so you might recognize this woman. anyone have a guess? she's queen elizabeth. the mansion was the only new york stop on queen elizabeth ii's bicentennial like travels around the united states. and really cool thing, i'm going to step away right now. that shorter lady right there is kay parker. we lost her a couple years ago.
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she was on the board of the mansion for, gosh, 40-plus years. she was an amazing lady. came up to like here on me. and she was one of those people that just was in it for the right reasons. have to give her a shout-out tonight. we love her. we're going to rename the octagon after her. it's an amazing story. we love kayo. okay. now i've flashed forward like 30 years. lin-manuel. we have to talk about him. so i started off as the director of education at the mansion. and in 2011, we wanted to do this event that brought the community into the mansion because, first and foremost, we view ourselves as a community arts resource. i said let's create the culture and arts festival. i didn't know what that meant at the time but having a title was great. and it was to encourage artists and restaurants and performers from the neighborhood to have a space and it was completely free and open to the public.
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so at that point, i said we need a guest of honor. "in the heights" had already won its tonys. it was a super big thing and also, side note, i'm a complete broadway fan girl. out of everyone, we have to get lin-manuel. i'm e-mail with his scientiassi. he's working on this new project. didn't know what it was at the time. literally a week before the event, his assistant owen who is now like my bff says, he can come. he can come for ten minutes. what do you need him to do. he can do whatever he wants. just say something up there. it will be great. super. this is lin in 2011, opening our inaugural culture and arts festival. the beginning of my story about how we're related to the musical, before he spoke, ten minutes before this happens, i'm showing him around the mansion. he'd known about the mansion. his sister had her baby shower there. he lives ten blocks north. i said what's your next project?
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he's like i'm working on this rap spoken word musical about the life of alexander hamilton. and we both kind of went, uh-huh, sure, okay, that makes sense. and without missing a beat as we're standing in front of aaron burr's room, i said, well, whenever you want to, just come and write in aaron burr's bedroom. and then i thought about what i said. i was like, wait, i don't know if i should actually offer that. i wasn't the director at the time. i was going to have to get permission. and he's like, but there's like historic stuff in there. i was like, it's fine. it's totally fine. i had an out of body moment. so that's the beginning of the story. introducing him to the room and inviting him somewhat surreptitiously to work in the room. now we're going to watch a little bit of a video clip. there's a little transition. most of you have probably seen
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this already. >> i'm thrilled the white house called me tonight because i'm actually working on a hip-hop album. it's a concept album about the life of someone i think embodies hip hop. treasury secretary alexander hamilton. you laugh. it's true. he was born a penniless orphan in st. croix. illegitimate birth. became george washington's right-hand man. became treasury secretary. caught beef with every other founding father. and all in the strength of his writing. i think he embodies the word's ability to make a difference. i'm going to do the first song from that tonight. i'm accompanied by tony and alex lackemore. i'll be playing vice president aaron burr. and snap along, if you like.
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>> so if you haven't seen that clip, we go backward in time a little bit. and that's in 2009. he hadn't told anyone he'd gotten to do this at the white house. and it's the first time that he'd actually done a piece from hamilton. they had want him to do something from "in the heights." oh, but do you have anything new about the american experience. he's like i've got 16 bars of this new thing called "hamilton." the reaction the obamas had then was the reaction everyone was having, like myself. there's a rap spoken word musical about alexander hamilton? okay, sure. p.s., as i'm sure you've seen, the obamas have invited him back multiple times and michelle has said it's the best thing since sliced bread she's ever seen. a few years can make a bit of a difference. where we pick upp our story is n event we hosted in midtown about aaron burr. again, aaron, but not too bad in
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our story. he's a lawyer and has a huge collection of aaron burr memorabilia. we hosted this fund-raiser down at the club and i was like, huh, you know, maybe i'll invite lin because it had been about a year since we had that conversation at the cult aure and arts festival. so i invite him down and the gent gentleman who is the director of "hamilton" came with him. we're walking around, talking about aaron burr. he's eating it all up. we give him the book. he's like okay, cool. now we're in 2012, early 2013, so you have the timeline. so we've done that. all right. same time, there's lin. same time, 2013. we're opening that exhibit about the loves of aaron burr. we've got more aaron burr stuff going on. he comes to the opening.
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he sees all this amazing artwork by camilla. we were talking again. what's going on with this musical? it's been a few years. i know it takes a long time. he's like, i'm still working on it. took him one whole year to write "my shot" if you haven't heard that story. so he's working on it. it's taking some time. but, i still -- i still have you in mind. okay, great. just keep me in mind. i like that you keep me in mind. all right. so now we flash forward to mid-2013, and that's actually him sitting in aaron burr's room writing aaron burr and we should have the sound clip, if it decides to work. it was supposed to come on at the beginning of the slide. no, that's still the youtube video. that's okay. we can listen to that, too. so that's when and you saw alex in the youtube clib. and lin basically came in and
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out for about a month just sitting in aaron burr's room writing the songs. one of the ones he wrote was the introductry song when hamilton meets burr. and so flash to the culture and arts festival in 2013, and i actually e-mailed tommy, the director of "hamilton" about having lin's freestyle group perform that's year because i knew "hamilton" wasn't ready yet and i didn't want to pressure him. can he and the freestyle love supreme guys come and perform it at the show. and tommy is like, that gets complicated because there's so many people's schedules. do you want him to premiere three songs from "hamilton"? i was like, sure. what am i supposed to say to that? he comes in 2013 with alex and they premiere at the time which was "dear theodocia," "wait for it" and part of "my shot" at the mansion. we're working on getting some video of that to be out about in
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the universe. ♪ i'm an orphan i wish there was some way to prove we're worth more than anyone bargained for ♪ ♪ can i buy you a drink that would be nice ♪ ♪ let me offer you some free advice ♪ ♪ nice smile more don't let them know what you're against or what's you're for ♪ >> we've got eliza singing at the same time, too. >> it's ghosts. guys, it's ghosts. so the clip i wanted you to hear was that introduction between hamilton and burr and eliza's ghost. that introduction sets up what i was talking about. the difference between hamilton and burr. that line of, can i give you some advice, talk less, smile
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more, sums up their personalities. hamilton talks at everyone. and it got him into trouble. and burr stepped back but what happened at the end of their lives and one of the major reasons for the duel was the fact that no one knew really what burr stood for and that was what precipitated the duel. you can't trust burr. i don't like jefferson but at least you know what he stands for as opposed to burr. all right. we're flashing forward ahead. so we have culture and arts festival in 2013 and then we're starting to set up for our anniversary in 2015. so this is the room where it happened. so this picture is just not any dinner party. it is the dinner party for our board of trustees to launch all the events for our anniversary. at that point, i've been talking with lin and tommy.
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we knew it was going to be at the public theater in february 2015. and i said we have to buy out the theater. and my president, sitting right in the front here, it was a hard sell because no one knew what it was. okay. he had premiered three songs. that's all. it was going to be the largest fund-raiser the mansion had ever done. it's down at the public theater. the tickets were $250, $375 and $500 which was a very hard large lift for people to buy those tickets. and no one knew what the musical was. so we're sitting around the table. all my board members, lin came.
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those were the posters the public had. it was only supposed to be three weeks at the public and kept getting extended over and over again before even it opened. so the day we bought the seats for was supposed to be like the last week of actual performances. it turned into the third week of previews. because it had just kept getting extended. that was our advertisement. come see the show. we'll do a special q&a. a special gift bag. have lots of fun cocktails. and so we just kind of put it out there into the ether to see what happened. and it was up until like the day of the show that we were selling tickets. there were, you know, it was a slow burn, and we that theater sold. but -- and jim would back me up on this. it was, what are we buying these tickets for? we know lin from "in the
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heights" but it's still a little confusing to us it's a musical about alexander hamilton. so great event. it's still to this day the event that netted the most money, fund-raiser wise for the money. raised $30,000 on it, which is huge for an organization like ours. and we had this amazing talkback afterwards. so from left to right it's me, doug who plays lafayetyoff jeff. and hamilton's son, lin and chris jackson who plays george washington. and they were all just amazing. they give of their time. every time lin goes on a tv show, like he was on stephen colbert. he talks about the mansion. so we're really happy to have built this relationship. this was cbs sunday morning. once it caught on at the public, it started rolling really quickly as some of you might remember. so there's me with lin and mo rocco which was a really exciting moment for me as well. freely admit that.
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and it's great because he understands that the success of the musical helps us. our attendance is up 40% thanks to our relationship with him and the musical. and the thing that i think is amazing is that it keeps new people interested in history. and younger people interested in history. and people that would never come to an historic house museum otherwise. so flash forward a little bit again. 2015, october. culture and arts festival yet again. and that is leslie jr. who up until recently played aaron burr in the musical. he was our guest of honor at this year -- this past year's culture and arts festival. stay tuned for this year. we have some special guests in the works for this year which means you have to come. and the nice thing about all of this is it not only gives us more exposure, but also the
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ability to advertise to groups of people that, again, would never come. on the left is an ad we took out in the playbill of hamilton talking about our relationship to the musical. talking about all the important history. and leslie's appearance at the culture and arts festival. and on the right was our farewell to the 250th anniversary of all the amazing things we did. contemporary art installations, "hamilton" all of that's. lin is very much into social media. i had to put a couple things up he's helped us with. on the left, and i do most of the social media for the mansion. this is my voice from the mansion. so my best friend was in germany and a very small town which is like outside of frankfurt. so she's in the coffee shop there and they are playing "hamilton." and she was my date to the benefit. so she had been there from the beginning.
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she loves "hamilton," too. so she texts me, like, they're playing "hamilton" here. so i tweet that and then, as lin writes, he's huge there. the time i took the screen shot, 18 retweets, 323 likes. that got up to close to 1,000. so it's all the people related to lin that follow lin that now know about the mansion. the one on the right is he and his father, luis miranda are very connected in the washington heights community. and they were auctioning off a record that lin had signed at a meet and greet with him at one of the shows. and they decided that all the proceeds from that would come to the mansion. so, again, they are really giving back to the organization as well, which i appreciate. all right. so what does all this mean other than alexander hamilton is cool? he's going to stay on the $10 bill. people would say it's thanks to
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lin. i'm insure itsure it's a combin both. the important thing to take away from this talk is that history is still alive, right? it is all these people are not as chris jackson said in a really, really cool quote, that they're not just the statues and the portraits that we see. all of the men and women that are portrayed in the musical were living people. they all had good sides and bad sides and pros and cons to their personality. the musical make it so that you understand who these people were. and i know there's a lot of conversation about, well, there's a latino man playing hamilton and an african-american playing george washington. okay. that's just part of the conversation. and again, if that brings new audiences into the museums, like you all today, that's great. and i think that's what we should all think about when we think about the musical. here's your sneak peek, too. so talking a little about the room where it happened.
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so this is george washington's office at the morris-jumel mansion. if you've been there before it was the dark green color. this is what it looks like now. this is our phase one of our reinterpretation plan. it is this gray wallpaper with little tiny flowers on it from 1770 and this very bright persimmon trim which is historically accurate. we're going through a big rebranding. our new logo is on the left with the coining on the side of the mansion in that persimmon color. and just come back early and often. come to see all the really exciting things. our officialnofficial tag line is there's always something new at manhattan's oldest house. we really try to achieve that. over 100 different public programs a year. over 24,000 visitors and growing a year. 9,000 schoolkids. we're really viewing it as our job to keep history going for the next 250 years. and i can't end without a plug for our next public program.
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and you are the first group of people to see this. and this new logo. so our next major public program is a new version of "alice in wonderland." an interactive version of the play where guests walk with alice throughout the mansion and throughout the grounds of the house. and this logo was especially created for us by an artist whose first name is lauren. we're really excited about it because it brings together the contemporary side and the historical side. the twist -- okay if i give it away? i have to ask his permission. the twist is alice is on a tour of the mansion with her brother. and wonderland is the american revolution. so example, mad hatter's george washington. chessercat is -- i see a couple of people like, oh, maybe i should buy tickets.
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all of this is on our website. there is a link to get tickets. it's for three weeks in september into october. we're really, really excited about it. there's going to be some really fun programming around it. we're trying to get some hamilton cast members to come and do a symposium with us. and we have a launch event coming up on august 27th. so a week from tomorrow from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. it's going to be a mad tea party. you get to chat with me and vinnie and talk about history together. so thank you so much. i hope to see you at the mansion soon. i hope was this interesting as it related to hamilton and burr. so thank you guys so much. [ applause ] and i actually ended on time, yes!
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>> i think the plan is not to take questions up here but to head downstairs? >> yep. >> so if you have any questions, ides be happy to answer them. we'll mosey on downstairs. if you want to buy a book, buy a book and i'll sign it for you. and thanks so much, guys. for more american history tv in primetime, join us tomorrow for our focus on the civil war and reconstruction. that starts wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span3. after i came up with my idea
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of reproductive rights, i witness awent and researched. with infortion in our news, i knew i could find information on that. that would help me figure out what points i wanted to say about it and how to form my outline for my piece. >> i didn't really take a methodical approach to this process, but you could, if you wanted. but i think that really with a piece as dense as this, i would say, it's really just a process of reworking and reworking. so as i was trying to coming up with what my actual point was, i was doing research and finding more ideas of what i could film. i'd coming up with an idea. that would be a great shot. so id'd think about that and tht would give me a new idea to focus on. i'd do research about that. it was about building on other things and scratching what doesn't work. and you just keep going until you finally get what is the finished project. >> this year's theme, your message to washington, d.c.
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what's the most urgent issue for the new president and congress to address in 2017? it's open to all middle school and high school students grades 6 through 12 with $100,000 awarded in cash prizes. students can work alone or in a group up to three to produce a documentary on the issue. clood some c-span programming and explore opposing opinions. the $100,000 in cash prizes will be awarded and shared between 150 students and 53 teachers. and the grand prize $5,000 will go to the student or team with the best overall entry. this year's deadline is january 20th, 2017. so mark your calendars and help us spread the word to student filmmakers. for more information go to our website, next on american history tv, the significance of "hamilton" the musical in modern popular cult purp a panel looks at the relationship between academic history and entertainment.
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this hour and 45-minute event was part of the society for historians of early american republic annual conference. >> it's 2:00 p.m., and we should probably get started because i have a feeling, like the subjects of this panel, a great deal of people here have a great deal to say. and we like to do what we can to make that happen. welcome to the panel -- the second panel on hamilton. i am r.v. bernstein. i teach at city college. and i will spare you the rest. i would like to introduce my colleagues. i'll introduce them in the order they'll be speaking. we'll be going down the row alphabetically. benjamin carp is the professor of american history and brooklyn college. he is author of defiance of the
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patriots, the boston tea party and the making of america. the boston tea party. and cities in the making of the american revolution. nancy eisenberg is the author of "white trash," the 400-year untold story of class in america. which is just reviewed by "the new york times" book review and "the new yorker." she's also the author of "the life of aaron burr." a and her first book "sex and citizenship" was awarded the best book prize in she is the t. harry williams professor of american history at lsu and writes for salon tom. heather is points higher fessor and share of the department and drama and dance.
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she is author of early american theater from there and 1787 and 1861 and this is the best title of the three. hid warehouse characters and beautiful pagans. performing jewish identity on the antibell let me american stage. i'm looking forward to that one. also the author of many book chapters journal articles and edited volumes. andrew is professor of history and american culture studies and is the author of fighting over the founders. how we remember the american revolution which hi the pleasure to review for american political thought and founding corporate power in early national philadelphia. he'll lead us off. >> it's the friend of a banker
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prized in lying eyes, a $10 man of action, head of faction -- i have a whole version that is entirely verse but i knew when i started rhyming i was going to get myself into a lot of trouble. we all confess how often we have seen the show. i have never listened to the sound track because three times was a lot and the songs remains impressed upon my memory and i also should confess that go care that much about the so-called founding fathers. while i admire all the great work that's drawn conclusions from them they're featured actors in a broader ensemble so in other words i stand for nothing but i want to explain why i fell for the show just as some of its priethest critics did what we need to know is howell and in what way does it
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engage with the broader history of the revolution. it takes us through the revolutionary war the constitution and washington and adams administrations and hamilton's death in 1804 and howell does the show perform as history? some would say pretty well. he used a well researched source and consulted primary sources directly and even uses them on stage. broadened out sometimes and consulted other historical work to get a sense of broader context while mixing in references to hip hop and musical theater et cetera, et cetera. others would say it is poor and miranda relied too heavily on him who exaggerated the antislavery credentials and sympathy with debtors. but there was little criticism
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when it came out in 2004 which left they poorly equipped to engage over the debate of the quality of history now. there was a debate over the hamilton exhibit that was there from 2004 to 2005 so we have been here before but i have seen few recent references to that debate either. secondly he told a story that focused on elite characters missing opportunities to show how the revolution and it's conflicts effected and was effected by a broader swath of the population and broader and social political movements and ideological differences. and as we know you need a robust narrative through line and that demand is the gravity that keeps sucking popular narrators toward the founders and hamilton is not much of an exception in this
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regard. this frustrates academics that find this too simplistic for understanding history. finally he told a story with some very fierce female characters that don't in general have a lot of agency and mostly respond to what the men are doing although even here he is asking for women's equality and sequel to the declaration of independence. anyway he once said the patriot is to history as godzilla is to biology. he said that in the times. so whatever criticisms we have it is not this generations patriots. it is better than that in it's treatment of history and it's treatment of race. sir we're not slaves. we work the land as free men. i saw that movie in london by the way. they liked the french officer.
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so what does this say about the revolution? we won the war. what was it for? it was about glory seeking immigrants never mind material advantages. challenging a distant tyrant t. show is designed to make the audience feel good about the righteousness of the american cause and promise of the new nation never mind the fate of the enslaved and the constitution was about getting the country on stable and financial and military footing never mind the rebellion in the public theater edition of the show. overall the show serves up pretty vanilla stuff as far as this group is concerned but before the audience can look at this deeply you're swept up in the personal. it's who you would rather grab a beer with rather than policy
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interesting hamilton could have been more if he only lived specifically to abollish slavely but spends more time on the idea that it shapes his legacy. he had alreadyelf into irrelevance and fuels my skepticism about critics that claim the show is teeting hamilton as a hero. protagonist maybe hero not as much but we could debate that later. they are completely valid and it more of them. i'm not trying to argue it's just a show and beneath our highbrow criticism or that we shouldn't sully ourselves by engaging with it because popular culture does matter to our audiences and our students nor would i argue on the other hand
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that miranda somehow puts us to shame by presenting revolutionary history to a wider audience than we could because that gives him too much credit. he arrives at his achievements on our shoulders whether directly or indirectly. we can and should be able to have it both ways. take credit for what he gets right and criticizes him for what he gets wrong. but is it good history is the wrong question. we're seeing people break into song and there's all of these references that we love. we are asked to suspend belief and, indeed, in interesting ways, right? and this is vital i think to understanding the show and since not all consider some critics haven't seen it so they don't get what's there in the lyrics or there in the songs is interacting with what the actors are doing on stage or what the visual representations are doing to enhance your multilevel understanding of what's going on
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in the show so what is the right question and in the same way that american jews asked of world events but is it good for the jews, right, our tribe must ask but is it good for historians and i would say yes. he was trying to earn our respect and he does deserve it and for two reasons one having to to with race and the revolution. miranda was paying attention while they were putting the finishing touches on the show. he says we're screaming rise up and people are peeling that way. while some people are horrified there's no characters of color and instead nonwhite cast the fact that the cast members are people of color allows miranda to construct the 18th century revolution to current movements against police brutality, et
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cetera. an end to, to quote the show, the cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants possibly referring to the nonindictment of police officers that cause fatalities. the show has no non-white characters so does the color conscious casting solve this problem or deflect from it. it reconfigures the past to imagine a better future. miranda can still craft a work of art that argues for racial injustice and is that real provocative or just 18th century culture. it's about class or immigration and status et cetera. it's about about time honored
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and he quoted the show how lucky we are to be alive right now which by itself was pretty innocuous but had important connections to the lgbt community at the end of the weekend when the massacre at the pulse night club in orlando had taken place. great theater heightens our emotional responses. and that can be good for leading audiences to an empathic of the past. it uses imaginative interventions to fill gaps in the historical record just like we do so i'd argue the show actually enhances the public's understanding of the revolution. at the very least hamilton encourages audiences to explore historical inquiries further. during the past academic year i initiated this speaker series at
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brooklyn college interviewing historical fiction authors to see how they use fictional treatments no illuminate deeper truths about the revolution while reaching audiences beyond your typical history book club subscriber. so the astonishing life of octavian nothing these have black and female characters at their center telling a version of the revolution we would not have access too. by contrast it's subjects are well-known figures but the show benefits us as we study and open up questions about how we analyze and interrupt the past. the company is saying over and over, we'll never really know what got discussed. i'm erasing myself from the
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narrative. let future historians wonder. you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story in two different songs. the history obliterates in every picture it paints. we're constantly trying to tell our students that history isn't just a recitation of settled facts but a lively conversation full of missing pieces, retraction and competing stories and manipulation by legacy obsessed chroniclers. it's heaardly the only way to tl the story. it better fit what is was described as organasist. hamilton may well be an entree for some to the revolutionary era but the show strongly argues that it shouldn't be the last stop on the viewers journey. the audience should keep
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reading, keep learning and keep looking for inspiration for how the story might influence their world and their lives. it's up to us to carve out the spotlight and write our way out but hamilton made the worldwider for us and that's worthy of our respect. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> well, i feel like this is saturday night live so this is going to be the opposite view in a lot of ways about what he said even though in certain points i think we do agree. my take is whether professional historians agree or not hamilton is widely praised for its historical value. jodi rosen of the new york times asserted without qualification that the musical was a rigorously factual period drama. the washington post credited historical hamilton for invisioning the united states as the federal industrial democracy
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we have today as opposed to jefferson's utopianism. they ignore that the not so hip constituent sy the 1% were wealthy speculators. theater lovers defend the production as a article of history. carly rose when he interviewed him for cbs insisted it was not only history but something that could and should replace all traditional historical interpretation. miranda demured but that didn't stop rhodes. publicity for the musical centers on the biography of hamilton. the same strategy was used for john adams a television mini series that claimed to be based on the biography. it really wasn't. yet as demonstrated in articles for history news network the television production was
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riddled with errors. i don't remember anyone having a problem with the survey of the factual errors. that's a decree teak that you get for pointing out what i think are more serious problems. >> i see the musical as far less different than others claim it is. he is used by political enemies and fiction writers. the plot device is extremely simple. his behavior is traced back to the loss of his parents which supposedly lead him to lose his moral compass. the lyrics are quite explicit and then he is the flip flopper that waits to see which way the wind blows it makes for good
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opera but the real conditions are irrelevant. he has been quite open in saying that hamilton is my man. americans have always had a knack for turning the founders into modern day heros. some call it founder chic, others myths to sustain patriotic pride. one reason it's so popular is the powerful mixture that is channelled through hamilton ace kaerk. theater go hers treated to vigorous youth, sex appeal, macho brashness capped off by so-called genius all wrapped up in a loving portrait of hamilton that tells it like it is in the pounding nonstop rhythms of hip
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hop. but as we know, hamilton was far more calculating and at times could be utterly vicious. he had no love for the unwashed masses. that side never appears because it undermines what i think is still a heroic story line. as wrote to me in an e-mail, hamilton allows americans to overcome disillusionment with the founders when slavery enters the picture. though it is clear that hamilton purchased slaves and his father-in-law owned as many as 27 slaves, his northernness is con flated with abolitionism but the slight of hand is what makes hamilton much less progressive than it appears to be at first glance. as david summed it up, it desires to offer a view but really is offering of envelope for founder chic.
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i would add it has more to do with contemporary politics. it's a symbol for the age of obama. listen to how nate silver writing in esquire described obama in 2009. he is the first president who was, quote, unmistakably urban. pragmatic, superior, hip, stubborn, multicultural. as everyone knows his earliest trial run performance was in the white house. as a consequence of this act of transference the historical hamilton is given obama-like qualities pragmatic, concerned with with finances and banks and stubborn and the most farfetched of all he is a hip multiculture pop star. by this calculation if hamilton is like obama then the american dream is really possible. we also have to evaluate the medium. the world of theater relies on emotion, creating a fantasy
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world in which the past is wrapped up in the warm glow of illusion. it is more manipulative but more fun because the goal is not to be objective but reflesh rationally and indulge in playfulness. it invites the audience to reclaim the wonder of a child. the harsh reality of the early republic is hidden and retold as a fairy tale. have we also forgotten 1776 so quickly. i grew up loving tap dance. i'm fairly certain but now i have been corrected we are the only two on this panel that probably took tap dance lessons. they are my favorite dancers and they still are but i never would confuse singing in the rain with an accurate history of early
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hollywood. i have a different take on the gender. i'm troubled by what i see as the feminism of the skyler sisters. he relocated the more credible and more genuine 18th century feminism to the more conventional skylers. the reason is fairly obvious. hamilton must always be the progressive icon. i find it dismissive to refer to her anesthesia warming the bed. it reduces his future wife to an adulterer and mistres. it is used with sally hemmings which is merely mentioned by attacking jefferson. what could be less progressive. this fake feminism is a common pattern and it's what i call the molly pitcher syndrome.
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instead of talking about real feminism and 18th century feminism or describing women as they really were popular writers invent a fake heroic female character or she is given qualities she never had. abigail was learned in latin. she is not. knowledgeable enough to tell her husband how no advice his defense strategy and of course as in any hollywood show she has to be strikingly beautiful and whitey. enough to captivate even thomas jefferson while in france. it ignores the powerful resistance when it came to treating women as intellectual equals and sanitizing the thinking of most of the founders. why do we need elizabeth katie stanton? why did it take nearly a century
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long campaign to secure the female vote if the problem was already solved by the founders and the hip women of their generation? i urge all to revisit hamilton report's on manufacturing in which it was quite clear that the classes to be exploited for factory workers were women and children even, quote, children of a tender age. why? because they were idol and contributed nothing of value to the economy. hamilton did anticipate our modern industrial economy but one built on the backs of poor women and children. i ask again what could be less progressive than advocating child labor? this is why hamilton cannot be dragged into the 21st century without recognizing that it comes with some unpleasant baggage. now several scholars have talked about the racial optics. erasing the history of slavery.
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i would say it erases all power dynamics. race, gender and class. hamilton had no desire to challenge the existing social hierarchy. he had to marry into the family to secure his class reputation. his most powerful allies in new york are either marginalized or erased from the musical. his father-in-law and his british brother-in-law john barker church. extremely important figure to hamilton, he's not there and angelica is strangely enough portrayed as unmarried. elite and ambitious new yorkers built family dynasties and he loved both of his sons in law more than his daughters. he needed hamilton in church and this is what drove hamilton. the musical completely fails to address his policies and ideas. how can he be a genius if his intellectual world is ignored?
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party differences mattered in the 1790s and 1800s and yet in the musical hamilton stands for nothing at all. if hamilton is to be the every man of the american dream then he can't be what the real hamilton was, a party man hamilton determined the outcome of the election and voted for jefferson which lead to the landslide victory and defeat. a no named nobody that nobody cares about is the only person that had that influence and he didn't listen to hamilton. what happened to all of his underhanded efforts to defeat john adams. i find it strange that the musical calls him an orphan, but never identifies it was adams that gave him that title their
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messy relationship would completely undermine the noble and tragic portrait of hamilton it's absent to allow hamilton born a british subject like everyone else to be the immigrant made good. now a more accurate musical about the experience would be a story of a french immigrant mocked for his accent and hounded by the federalist and kafted a constitutional amendment that aimed to deny immigrants the right to hold public office. and he has a statue outside the treasury building as well.
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historians should discuss the biases. and the critique of hbo's john adams. isn't this the critical perspective we should be teaching our students? history should be about hiss lodging misconception and not entertaining our students. and in this room they would think it's too late. the broadway hit musical is a fictional rewriting of hamilton's life plain and simple. does that detract from its entertainment value? no, enjoy the music. laugh at the jokes. appreciates a social commentary on our current political environment. a fictional heroic hamilton and his predictable foiled burst steal the show but the historical hamilton and historical burr are there in
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name only. thank you. >> now for something completely different. so in this 1857 fashions and washington life political comedy, he pitts alexander hamilton against thomas jefferson as part of an argument between two roaring politicians. one hotly defends hamilton as a mighty genius that taught the doctrine of union and consolidation and claiming it will be a gross profanity to compare hamilton to jefferson. it was the democracy that first developed and brought into action the power of the masses. while both men lement the sorry state of the rising generation of politicians also the devicive
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issues of race and slavery and including a slave named tom that was born in the same year that the constitution was ratified and who lingers in bond campers as a symbol of its most serious failure. the play is one of nine dramas in the first half of the 19th century from 1802 to 1864 that envokes hamilton as a character or by reputation. obviously the usefulness persisted for more than two centuries. from the pages of john h. nickels 1802 closet drama to the broadway triumph of lin manuel miranda's hamilton, people have
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found it a compelling subject in part due to this outcider identity that has dogged his career and through their explorations of hamilton's life they illuminate critical moments in the nation's passionate and often painful debates about race, citizenship and belonging. i'm particularly interested in the ways in which slavery cycles in and out of these dramatic conversations and i can only begin to scratch the surface of these topics here but i hope we'll have time to explore them in our discussions. in our study of aaron burke, history is created by the archive. citing the often lopsided treatment that certain historical figures receive based on the written record and how those materials are interpreted by generations of collars. history is also created by the
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repitor. the performances that are repeated and recycled is beyond what was in the written record. and they are vital in sbeg fwating our history and this is important with racial representation in history where the archive and it's critical to understanding that the revolutionary impact. and in some ways miranda's memory project is similar to another drama featuring alexander hamilton. this one from 1864. in the prolog the playwright claims that the purpose of historical drama is to use power to give a more vivid embodiment. not to transform but to elevate and animate an enacted reality.
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and elevate and animate the enacted reality of slavery's history in the united states. the 19th century stage shared the same uneasy relationship with representing slavery. as many in the period. they fell into one of three categories. and disavowing violence playing tricksters and only very rarely voicing any open anger at their enslaved status and with very few exceptions such as 1820s new york, 1850s boston, none of the slave characters were portrayed by actors of color. thus no matter what the rhetoric whether it was pro or antislavery it was voiced by white performers and taking a stand on slavery often proved
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dangerous for theater managers. either in the form of box office failure or physical attacks by the audience on the play house. more than two centuries after the theatrical debut, it bodies forth the complex racial identities of the post revolutionary and modern periods. creating a calculated friction between traditional presentations of our white founding fathers and the men and women on stage in the richard rogers theater on broadway. scholar and playwright describes miranda's work as a play of mixed ancestries and hybridity in action. the theater historian observes weaving a hip hop sensibility into the fabric of the tradition means threading through afro caribbean and american musical oral visual and dance forms in
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practices. hamilton makes visible significance in american history in the face of a larger society. not the folks in this room that rarely recognize it. miranda's musical and his color specific not color blind casting reminds audiences that who tells your story remains the critical challenge. not only in representing but representing the history of race in early america and his hamilton invites artists and audiences to envolkswagen the power of performance in reimagining our most familiar narratives as well as the stories of those whose lives have not been preserved in the archives. this racially conscious casting tells a story bound by race. issues of racial representation surface as we know in the first number when jefferson describes hamilton's youth in the west
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indies and every day while slaves are being slaughtered he struggled and kept his guard up. yet despite these inclusions, jefferson's casual request that his lamb sally open his mail, he comment what is remains audibly silent is the violet history of slavery and she doesn't fault miranda. rather she sees it as a limitation of the genere. a challenge that faces the archive and the repitor. hamilton's early life was marked by a firsthand view of the brutal practices of the slave trade. the challenge for miranda or any artist become house to represent or represent that brutality in a theatrical form.
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indeed for more than a century may wrig playwrights struggled in oppression or in the words of williams wells brown to show what never can be represented about slavery. so take for example in the 20th century the america play that depicts a black abraham lincoln being assassinated over and over again in a demonic way which presents citizens of color digging feverishly in the great hole of history, ie the archive, to unearth archive documents that might conjure their long lost or deliberately erased pasts. in another example in his award winning drama holding history, robert o'hara sends his modern day gay, black protagonist spiraling back through history to nat turners uprising to
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represent the stories of slaves that fought in that rebellion. and tony award winning playwright august wilson's dprks em of the ocean brings his character back to the mythical city of bones under the atlantic ocean to visit the men and the women that died during the middle passage. deaths that left no names in the archives. each of these artists has tried to imagine a way to stage the violent history of slavery and to put those stories in the mouths of non-white performers. as john earnest argues authors of color have often been forced to tell crooked histories against dominant white narratives that repeatedly misrepresented experiences. and in deliberately dividing
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syllables i question how it challenges race. he describes this as ghosting suggesting that every performance is haunted by it's predecessors or real life counter parts and hamilton conjures a stage full of ghosts in terms of the founding fathers but it also harang gets kins back to a complex narrative of the way that slavery's history has been told on stage for two centuries. casts hamilton as coniving, of the revolution and he is the would be assassin of george washington and thomas jefferson and come police sit in the uprising. nickels describes hamilton in terms very similar to miranda's opening lines but without irony and with fear about what
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hamilton's identity as a potentially racially marked immigrant outcider means for the future of the new nation. in seeing hamilton as the immigrant, nickels die verges sharply from the best known example of the character on the anglo american stage. his popular drama the west indian, the show that you couldn't kill with a meat ax written in 1771 it tells the story after a west indian plantation owner coming to london to meet his father. cumberland presents him as passionate as unrestrained. not like hamilton. he has little awareness of social niceties and literally lashes out when people refuse to make way for him in crowded streets excusing himself by saying accustomed to a land of slaves i proceeded a little too roughly to brush them away with my stick while slave characters a pier in the west indian they
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have neither lines nor names. they exist only to silently carry in the spoils of empire that is brought and symbols of his wealth. land of slaves foesed the american stage for decades after the revolution. the piece recognized that questions of slavery and immigration remain unresolved even after the nation had declared it's independence and created it's constitution and scores of other early national dramas wrestled uneasily with this rhetoric of slavery and citizenship spoken in play houses that were staffed by immigrants and slaves behind the seens and also with them in the audience. white poids in brown face, black face, or red face served as surrogates from those absent on stage. much is made of his choice to
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represent the history with a multiracial hisself and the implications of having an african american actors play thomas jefferson and george washington. do they become new surrogates for the founding fathers? are they ghosted by their white counter parts? or can they serve to expand through their empodiment of america's complex racial history. perhaps the test will be it's tour and it's legacy. if it changes casting practices on broadway, if it changes the questions we ask about who can body forth our history or whose stories can be represented even if they don't exist in the archive then it will indeed be a revolution. i want to close with an epilogue about the revolution from 157 years before hamilton. on march 5th, 1851 around the first anniversary of the dread scott decision and anniversary
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of the boston massacre, william cooper nell restaged the massacre. he did it in part to commemorate scott and in part to protest a recent ruling by local boston authorities that they could not declare him the first victim of the american revolution. the restaging of the massacre used all black performers to protest the history of the revolution. it also forecast a day when actors of color might rise up and claim their true rights and privileges. in that nell resembles miranda and he became a playwright because there were no parts for me. they have literally and figuratively written themselves into the archive and the repitore. thanks. [ applause ] >> so heather, you put this
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in -- put hamilton in a longer i don't know hodge cal context and i'm going to put it more in a, in a much more contemporary context thinking about other similar productions that are a lot more similar than maybe we realize about hamilton, recently the american public as a lot of us know has become increasingly enamored of stories but it fits within an emerging entertainment genere that makes sense for the cultural industry whether in hollywood or new york or broadway in particular and for anxious u. s. audiences at this particular cultural moment. we already know the out lines of the story and the setting. there are heros with recognizable qualities. washington adams, franklin but in distinct and detail in public imagination so writers can play with them. the villains are british so as
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to minimize the possibility of public relations blow back nobody likes slavery. the true brutality of which still is never shown which of course is the reason why the patriots set in south carolina could only be produced in a way that was historically absurd an women can be strong characters while still standing by their men. plus wigs, corsets, breeches, and by the way, i used to work at colonial williamsburg and i do look great in breeches so if there's any casting people, i thought i would mention. this is my moment. but and of course we already know the outcome of the american rev hugs or at least we think we do. but there remains plenty of leeway for individual stories to parallel the broader historical events. and marketed successfully and appeal to audiences and be broad
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enough to allow for invention and provide interesting counter point. and because the popularity and prevalence of these productions they also provide the plotting through which the general public will increasingly under the american founding and today i'll talk about three general elements that these productions share where hamilton fits in all of this and why it's important. now for the sake of brevity i'm not going to wait until the debate concerning what constitutes and genere and how that works because that's an entire sub field of academic inquiry. rather i'll use a definition by the film critic that suggests we should think of generes as sets of conventions. culturally and historically contingent and that whether they're movies or television series or in this case a musical are spaces that allow for
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engageme engagement. it's not just a category we can put things in but a particular time and place that say a movie or novel or musical is both shaped by and perhaps shapes. hamilton's commonality with and stage depictions of the american revolution indicate that it's creators were more than aware of these conventions and subsequent shows will be made and watched with these conventions and hamilton in mind. so just to talk about some of these and over the last 15 years and especially since 2010, roughly 1770s through 1800 has become a setting for a lot of big budget and prominent production for film and television that played with
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these conventions so i'll go through some of them or most of them in chronological order and you'll probably be familiar with a lot of these. the crossing, the patriot, liberties kids, benedict arnold, felicity an american girl's adventure. that went straight to dvd. i know you have that at home everybody. john adams, turn washington spies. sons of liberty, book of negros, she sleepy hollow a hill pit and of course hamilton, right? and my argument today about the rece recent coalesce doesn't procollude our thinking about these earlier thinking of belonging although they may have thought of them differently. perhaps as history films. the sail way that many films of
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the late 1940s at the time were considered mellow dramas or detective or mystery or crime movies and only later were they thought and sort of about and lumped more broadly so things can come out earlier and still fit and effect those conventions and how people write about them and remake them. so here i'm going t talk about three major conventions. first, patriotism is the protaggist position of course and it's assumed of all angelo americans, right? the good guys are indeed what american culture has coded as good guys. hetero sexual white men. markers of british deviance include cowardess of feminism and brutality. they're painting them as being deviant, right? it consists of a personal
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libertarian view of freedom. let me take a survey here. who is for liberty? good. okay. you're already with the protagonist so that's easily explained on screen. that's it. the character becomes a patriot he does so in retox british violence against people and property. why? that's easy to portray quickly and easy to understand. even in the case, you brought up john adams. think of that series. when he sees the aftermath of the violence in lexington and concord. it's not intellectual at all. it's i see violence, bad. also here we can be mindful so for example alexander rose who is the author of washington spies and a consultant to the show says history is complex and drama is simple.
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you know, you have to find short hands to convey a lot of information visually and quickly and third and finally in american revolution productions resolution of conflict comes through unanimity among americans resulting from the expulsion of the deviant opposition. so in other words just as the central tension is the use of violence to establish order or in romantic comedies and independence to traditional monogamy and loyalty over law in american revolution productions it's about the establishment of american consensus through exclusion. and hamilton gauges with all three of these in ways that confirm and to some extingt in term of my convention that are the protagonists and several
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places but you can think of a song when they say that they are reliable with the ladies, right and they're contrasting favorably against king george who more plays the queen, right? and with a high pitched fearful samuel seeburg. the opposition cowardly brutal and in terms of the second convention that the heros for fight libertarian strain of freedom. with other examples of the genere all either embrace abbigs or remain silent. you can think of productions in american revolution recently in which that's true. and civic lesson from a slaifr and about his death and could have tun so much more.
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i don't know why you take issue with that because he actually did almost nothing when he was alive so he could have done a lot more. maybe that's just a valid statement. it's a third convention i suggest the establishment of united nation a united states through the exclusion of others that hamilton has played with in to notable ways and generated the conversation. it's a definition of who is included and who is not and it's intentional casting people of color and using hip hop to defy any suggestion of genere and notwithstanding their inclusion of course masks hamilton's otherwise very conventional story lines. if you watch this he actually
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got -- he introduced it as somebody that embodies hip hop. secretary alexander hamilton. why is that funny. and that's how generes work through these conventions that allow for quick recognition and surprise. i want to talk about the various critics and more direct and israel reid in his piece and black actors dress up like slave traders and it's not halloween and that sums up a good deal of his position that hamilton's casting of people of color
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merely provides his color and the revolution and we talked about that and i don't disagree with that at all but i also think we shouldn't entirely discount the effect that hamilton's casting has had on its extremely diverse audiences. the cast albums on precedented sales success and was number one on the billboard rap chart for awhile and countless match ups and appearing there as television shows magazines and anyone who has anyone -- anyone who has -- how many people or parents of adolescence in this room. so you heard it and it allows them to see themselves as belonging to the founding and vice versa. similarly hamilton's a historical emphasis on hamilton and the pride in their nonnative
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status and they say immigrants. we get the job done brings immigrants into the founding again. this is a big debate for example. i don't know in your familiar with liberties kid which is is a pbs show and that's a big debate. how do we show a founding for kids that don't see themselves in the founding. >> it's a serious question to grapple with. and i completely agree with critics is that a lot of it is devoid of the actual issues right in the debate but at least in some way trivializing it but admits that americans did have
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is that familiar path by all the popular depictions of the founders getting audiences this on which to rely at the same time defies a few of the conventions. i'm not talking to create a category where we can say there's a founders film. we just put nit there but to to think of it as an emerging category of cultural productions that very much condition how the general public perceives the founding period. and i think, i think that we're going to see a hot more of these productions because of course the cultural industry is very
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much copy cat industry. something successful. we make more of them and people will watch them and why? because people can see a 15 second preview and know what that story is going to be about. and i think it should be of great interest to us as and these current characters settings and in general public perceives what the founding was about and what it means. and we all brought up how visceral the connections that these create in people's minds that these impressions are far more memorable than most of what the public -- in some point of
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view. even mine. there's even been research showing that a history film of students and the professor will say all of these things are wrong about it and they remember what they saw and as you know. also just important for us as citizens and as residents of the united states when people see the founding on screen or on stage they project that on to their ideal vision of our society and how it should work and who belongs and almost another big national meeting almost as important as ours going on in cleveland recently as we can see from today's politics those questions, especially who pedestrians longs and how we engage in conversation are still at the heart of what we debate about the american revolution and our
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current american politics. thank you. >> i'm going to come in for just a few minutes and i'm going to begin with the question that all of these pose, what should we take about films based on but veering from history like hamilt hamilton. and leave them to ponder them and to struggle to find contrast and comalties among them. i was talking with one of my colleagues and he told me simple, when you watch a play you have to decide what your mind set is. if you seek entertainment you see that if you're going to assess it as history that's a different matter. that's a nice approach but i think it misses what some see.
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i think a lot of us in this room see as a danger. does a place fictionalizing of history impose on non-historians a way to see that history? eclipsing historical scholarship, they dpating whatever good we do. i'll give you one example not from our field. i know historians that still go ballistic claiming it whitewashes thomas moore and there's other historians that hate wolf hall because it demonizes thomas moore and whitewashes thomas cromwell. i can't resolve that one. i agree with your criticisms
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in general, the criticisms of these works and some of our colleagues who too readily ignore the flaws and works of entertainment claiming to present history. i, too, think that we must be more vigilant about the resorting distortions of the past. in particular of all too frequent tendency to turn it into contemporary heroes. i do admit, however, that i find hamilton with barack obama more ingenuo ingenuous. one thing really does worry me. like a soccer referee wielding a red cart to drive somebody from the field, he warns popularizes the field of history. yet for centuries, novelestis


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