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tv   QA  CSPAN  April 25, 2016 5:50am-6:49am EDT

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governing the rnc convention and recent exchanges between donald trump and the current chair. families u.s.a. execute yor examines the recent announcement that united health is pulling out of most exchanges by 2017. the expansion of medicaid in louisiana and the overall status of health care coverage in the u.s. be sure to watch c-span "washington journal" beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern this morning. oin the discussions. >> the safety of the grid is the topic of a new book. the book lights out a cyber attack a nation unprepared. surviving. examines the potential for cyber attack. he looks at what could happen, how vulnerable the u.s. grid is to attack and the degree to which government agencies and
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electric companies are prepared to respond. >> the motion notion that you are going to give over control of the defense of your industry requires that you give up an awful lot of information. a lot of these companies the not want to give up. there was a bill passed last fall in the senate after years of wrangling that has private industry willing to pass on information to the government. but only after they have sanitized it. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. >> coming up next, q&a with writer and historian ron chern ah followed by "washington journal." later a discussion on the criminal justice system and its impact on the economy.
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>> when did hamilton, alexander hamilton first get on your radar screen? >> i started writing it back in 1998. it seems rather comecal because the reason i chose to do alexander hamilton, besides it was an extraordinary personal story was that he seemed to be fading into obscurity. people were coming to regard him as sort of a second tier founding father.
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most americans know he was on the $10 bill. maybe that he had died in a dual with aaron burr but that was about it. it seems comecal that i was lifting him out of obscurity. now his name is on the mark key of a broadway show. >> what were you doing? >> i finished writing my biography on jaumplet d. rockefeller. i did a series afbooks. when i went to do lectures people would start shouting out do vanderbilt next, i found out i was becoming terribly stereo type. and i decided that i wanted to switch periods and so alexander hamilton was the perfect strategy because i knew there would be a lot of financial and conomic history. plus the most amazing storyive
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that i've ever written. >> you probably don't like this question. is there someone today that would come closest to the way alexander hamilton thought about government? >> that's a difficult question. i will say this. alexander hamilton was the most verble politician in our history. if he felt strongly he would write a series of 25 essays over the course of a few weeks about it. i think that hamilton would fit very uncomfortabley into an era of tweets and sound byteses. he was very rational deeply intellectual and principled. i can't think of anyone who reminds me of alexander today. would that we had him on the scene. >> your book comes out it's
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number one. and in the new york combind list it's in the top 15. >> six months on the paperback and five straight weeks at number one for an 800 page book published in 2004. i think it's safe to say that is unprecedented. it's really quite extraordinary. >> what's it done to your life? >> it's had a profound effect. this has been very much a through the looking glass experience for me. the greatest thrill is having them take this biography and translate it into a very vivid three dimensional life on the stage but it's been deeply touching to me the way that i've been completely embraced and incorporated into the world of the show not only the creative team but the cast members. and because i had never been involved with a show before maybe never will be again i decided that i wanted to have every experience i could
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possibly get with a broadway show. i was at every work shop, festival. i sat in on the recording of the cast album. i sat in one performance with the orchestra in this kind of black braveedo under the stage. i had been a lifelong theater goer. never imagined i would be on the other side. it's been an enchanting experience. >> you watch it up close you made what was the most difficult part? >> well, you know, in my book i have hundreds of characters. history is long messy and complicated. broadway shows have to be very short, tightly constructed and there is a conflict between hat. everything has to happen through them. establish them early.
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so there are certain places in the show where things happen accurately but were done by or to other people. for instance, there's a scene in the show where everyson bur, madison confront hamilton with the scandal. he actually was confronted by three jeffersonians but not those three individuals. in those cases where he felt obliged to use dramatic license he tried to incorporate authentic elements as he could ven if he changed something. >> how far are they sold out? >> as we talk through january 2017. all of this year and then january of next year. but if you get on these resale web sites thousand dollars
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might get you ticket. >> people have been scalpping tickets for 1500, 2500 a ticket. certainly routinely scalpping for 1,000 a ticket. >> what do you think of that? >> it's been frustrating for us because we didn't create the show for hedge fund managers and private equity people and we've been doing what is within our power to try to offset that. for instance, there's a lottery every night where the entire first row people get tickets for $10 apiece if they win the lottery. we also have starting in april every wednesday there's going to be a matinee for new york city school children. 11th graders. who are in title 1 schools. free lunch schools. so mostly black and latino audience. 1300 kids wednesday matinees will be sitting there for $10
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apiece. and not only will they see this show where it's impossible to get tickets. they will have a q&a with the cast. their teachers have been supplied with materials. so we're trying to broaden out the audience. nice problem to have. >> i got the washington prize for hamilton. they asked me to pay tribute to him at the awards ceremony. >> i want to show you a piece of tape. >> i know you are expecting me to stand up here and start snapping my fingers and breaking into couplets, but i'm afraid i'm going to disappoint you. one side of me is dying to do exactly that.
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i'm going to do it. [laughter] no -- i'm not going there, lin. [laughter] [applause] someone save me. i have had this fantasy about going on the stage, and i told lin i would like to do the opening number -- they can pull me off with a hook afterward. for some mysterious reason, he has decided not to throw on my unique theatrical talents. ron: i have never seen lin laugh as hard. he was doubled over. when he got on stage, he received the award and said, i
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cannot believe it, we have ron chernow rapping on c-span. that has been a fantasy of mine to go on for the opening. brian: it is a two hour and 55 minute show. you can purchase all of the music -- how much can you do by memory? ron: i can do most of the first song. i know lots of different portions. i have seen the show about 50 times. i was very intimately involved with the creation. when i started working with lin, he would send me the song via e-mail. i would hear him and see him singing along with psychedelic screens. i was absolutely astonished. he sang the opening number at my apartment, started snapping,
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sitting on my couch. he started singing. i said, that is the most extraordinary thing pretty have -- taken the first 40 pages of thing, you have taken the first 40 pages of my book and condensed it accurately into a four or five minute song. he had distilled 40 pages to 4.5 minutes so accurately. brian: we have a photo of lin-manuel miranda with your book in the water. is that when he first got it? ron: when i met him in 2008, he was still starting in his first show. he invited me to a sunday matinee and i went backstage -- i had heard that he read the book on vacation and it made an
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enormous impression. he said, i was reading your book in mexico and as i was reading it, hip-hop songs started rising off the page. he said alexander hamilton's life was a classic hip-hop narrative. i think that lin picked up that he had a world-class ignoramous about hip-hop on his hands. he said, ron, i'm going to educate you about hip-hop, and he did on the spot. he pointed out that in hip-hop, you can pack more information in the lyrics than any other form because it is very dense pretty -- and he talked about the fact that hip-hop not only has rhymed endings, it has internal rhyme -- he started educating me in
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all of these different devices that are very important to the success of the show. i am not a complete ignoramus about hip-hop anymore, just mostly. >> is there anything in the show that you directly had an impact on? >> in terms of the relationship between hamilton and washington, i was having lunch with lin and he said to me -- he was trying to figure out what the dramatic essence of that relationship was. he said to me, when washington met hamilton, would washington have seen hamilton as a younger version of himself? i said, absolutely, because washington when he meets hamilton, hamilton is 22. when washington was 23, he was the head of the armed forces in
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virginia, led his man into a terrible massacre. there is a beautiful song in the show where washington seems -- sings let me tell you what i , wish i had known when i was young. the next time i saw a new version of the show, to see that scene and that song and realize that it came out of it. but even late in the game, for instance, that the public theater where it originated off-broadway, i said to lin, there is one big policy point missing from the show, which is that when hamilton became treasury secretary, the country was bankrupt. by the time he left, we were as credit worthy as any other country in the world. in the closing scene of the show, madison comes out and says, he took us from bankruptcy to prosperity.
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for that, we will forever be in debt. he does not get enough credit for all the credit that he gave us. that was a direct response to what i had just said. that was pretty late in the off-broadway run. lin is always prepared to listen. he was very good at filtering out whatever ridiculous or asinine things that i would say. he had a very good instance. -- very good instincts. he was always fully open. he was diplomatic. if i said something that he thought was completely absurd, he wouldn't disagree, he would simply stare at me wordless. [laughter] brian: you were born where? ron: brooklyn. brian: mr. miranda?
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ron: lin was born in new york, the westside. brian: and alexander hamilton? ron: he was born in the caribbean. he spent his adolescence on one of the virgin islands. around the age of 17, a hurricane hit the island. he wrote a letter published by him in the newspaper describing the storm in shakespearean terms. he was a legitimate orphan at that point. the local merchant suddenly recognized they had his young genius in their midst and they took up a collection to send him to the north american colonies to be educated. he came armed with a few letters of introduction but he did not know a soul. hamilton is not only the original immigrant, but a completely self-made, self-invented figure.
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all of the other founding fathers were born in the original 13 colonies. hamilton was the outsider. he started life with as many disadvantages as the others had advantages. brian: here's about 20 seconds of the music. the tune is "stay alive." it shows his relationship with general eisenhower at the time. ron: you are talking about washington? [laughter] brian: yes. i'm getting down the road. ron: hamilton is 22 when he meets washington. washington would have been 45. [begin video clip]
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♪ [end video clip] ron: this was the valley forge winter. the continental army was sitting there amidst -- the problem was the farmers were selling the food to the british forces in philadelphia. i remember lin had sent me very beautiful, mournful music for valley forge. he would hear the words of thomas payne over the music. those were the only words that survived from that original draft of that scene.
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lin is extraordinary in terms of plucking out what he needs for a scene. he is a disciplined writer. it is hard for a writer to strike at a beautiful line. lin has the ability to do it -- i am not sure i do. brian: he is what age? ron: lin is 36. brian: during the first constitutional convention, the founding fathers were 30? ron: he would have been 32, then 34 when he became treasury secretary. brian: so all of this had been done by young people. ron: this is an interesting point. so much of the attention about the show has concentrated on the
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fact that this black and latino thingracial cast -- the that has not been sufficiently emphasized is how young the actors are. i grew up with a bunch of late middle-aged white actors in wigs and buckled shoes. here, there are very few people in the cast who are over 40. in the same way that this black and latino cast enables the audience to enter into this experience, providing a bridge between the sensibility of today and the sensibility of then. i think that the fact that the show reminds us that the american revolution was made by young people. i think that is very exciting.
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brian: at that ceremony when lin got the washington award, folks said they were going to fund 20,000 young people seeing it? ron: we got a grant from the rockefeller foundation. we will have one wednesday matinee a month with 11th graders. brian: why 11th? ron: they are studying this period of history. we have in the works 3-4 productions. there will be a chicago production opening in september. it will be in los angeles next year, san francisco, one or two national touring companies. it is going to be in london. as the show goes to other cities, i'm hoping it is not the
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rockefeller foundation, another philanthropy will do exactly what we are doing in new york for the reasons stated earlier -- this is our most important audience. thank god from the time the cast album came out in october, it already sold 252,000 copies at copies, it is the complete show it is almost every word of , the show. it is two cds, it has the complete libretto inside. the cast album as much as the show has enabled the hamilton musical to really enter into american popular culture in no way that i have never seen with a broadway show. every day, i get an e-mail from friends saying, my six-year-old is driving me crazy. she listens to the cast album again and again. i write back and say, there are worse problems than having the
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child who only want to talk about the founding fathers. brian: this is what the libretto looks like. you have to read this so you know who is talking. ron: we really have two audiences. we have the audience inside the theater, and that is 1321 people every night. i feel as if we have a much larger audience across the country of people who are listening to the cast album and reading the libretto. newsweek did an issue that features educators already using the cast album as an educational tool. there will be a certain moment where the producers will allow
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schools to start to license the show and perform the show. we all hope this is going to be the most widely-produced musical in american schools for many years. brian: here is lin outside the theater in august 2015 when he would entertain the folks waiting in line. [begin video clip] [applause] >> thank you for making this possible. i hope you all come to the show. i think we are going to run a long time. in the early 1850's, to pedestrians strolling past a house in washington knew the white house realized that the widow seated by the window was the last surviving link to the early republic.
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years earlier on a ledge overlooking the hudson, aaron burr fired a shot at alexander hamilton. in an effort to remove the man regarded as the main the -- as the main impediment to his career. [end video clip] ron: that was actually opening night on broadway. lin came out two hours before the show and read the opening paragraphs of my book. i was very startled when i saw the clip because there are a couple moments where he is tears as the edge of he is reading it. as powerful as i know his response was to the book, i learned something new about how deeply he felt. we both fell in love with eliza hamilton had been a completely unknown figure to the public. brian: here is lin at the same
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ceremony where you did the rap. people can see a little bit more of him speaking. [begin video clip] >> ron's version of hamilton is what made me fall in love. the first two chapters out-dickens dickens. in terms of the hardship hamilton faces and the odds he overcame to come to this country and help shape and -- shape it. it has been an incredible journey working with ron and learning about this history. the secret sauce of the show is, i am learning this stuff one chapter ahead. i am falling in love with these characters and i'm falling in love with the fact that they are not the people i grew up learning about in ap u.s. history. they are flawed, messy. burr came alive when i realized he was dating a woman when she
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was still married to a general who was down in bermuda. i said, this is a guy who waits for what he wants. that unlocked him for me. [end video clip] brian: explain more about aaron burr. ron: the way that lin presents the hamilton burr conflict. they had contrasting personalities. hamilton is a very aggressive and confident person, burr is a more cautious individual. he would hang back. during the war, burr fell in love with the wife of a british officer. there is a scene when hamilton says, if you love this woman, why don't you go get her? it is meant to point out the difference in personality
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between the two men. as time goes on, the difference in politics and ideology will become even that much more important. that is what lin is referring to. brian: as long as we are on this affair, you mention this earlier. we have an excerpt from the program about the reynolds pamphlet. this pamphlet was written when? ron: 1797. when hamilton was treasury secretary, a beautiful 23-year-old woman came to his door. she had been abandoned by her husband james reynolds and she was in need of money. hamilton was then the most powerful and controversial man in the government.
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that night hamilton slipped out , of the house, went to her rooming house, said that he found her at the top of the staircase -- she then ushered him into a bedroom and he wrote a famous line and made it clear that other consolation would be acceptable and that was the start of the affair. mr. reynolds suddenly appeared and instead of stopping the affair, decided it would be fun to charge hamilton with the pleasure of his wife posh -- wife's company in bed. it was so reckless. it was so reckless of him to enter into the affair to begin with but then suddenly he is paying hush money to the husband when all of the jeffersonian press is circling around him trying to get some dirt on him.
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hamilton is giving them the biggest story that they would ever get. brian: isn't there a difference in the broadway show from the actual way it happened? ron: yes. you are asking before if there were things that were changed. what happened in actuality was that a scandal mongering journalist, who was a jeffersonian, published these charges claiming that hamilton had paid money to james reynolds because they were secretly engaging in speculation treasury security together. hamilton publishes this pamphlet saying, no, i was paying money to james reynolds, what for -- but for the favor of his wife's company. i said to lin, i thought it was confusing to the audience because in the show it seems as if hamilton was preemptively
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publishing this pamphlet after jefferson and madison told him that they know about these payments. lin did not have the pamphlets that provoked hamilton. lin added a line at the end of the scene with burr, jefferson, and madison. he says alexander, rumors only grow. brian: thomas jefferson, james madison, angelica is in this, along with aaron burr, and hamilton. let's listen. [begin video clip] ♪
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[end video clip] brian: with all of the success you had in 2004, are you finding people that are learning more about alexander hamilton and the founders? ron: every single time i am at the theater, at least one person comes up and says, i loved the show and as i was watching, i was embarrassed to realize how little i knew about the history of my own country and i am determined to change that. it is nice that a lot of them are reading the book or other books about the founding era. i said to lin, i don't know what your next show is going to be. i said, you have had an impact
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in terms of stimulating an interest in american history that i have never seen. i just hope that periodically in your career, you circle back to american history because i think every biographer has said the same thing, that we did not feel that we were reaching young people. when i do a lecture or a book signing, typically the audience is about 35-40 and up. whereas lin has this magical connection with people of all ages. a friend even told me that she took her three-year-old to see the show and the girl was bouncing and swaying in her seat. i have seen the show with people in their late 80's who were as starry eyed as that child.
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lin is worth his weight in gold in terms of stimulating young people to read about american history. brian: how important to the success of the show was his appearance in 2009 at the white house in front of the first lady and president? ron: from a personal standpoint it was very helpful. you have to understand that for all of the years we worked on this, before people saw the show, i would say, i am involved in a show that will be a hip-hop musical about the founding fathers and they would look at me like i was crazy. it was a little bit like "the producers." they come up with "springtime for hitler." that is how people were reacting to a hip-hop musical. right before the show opened, i
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was walking near the theater and i passed two young women on the street and i heard one say to the other, it is a musical about alexander hamilton and they both started laughing and then the woman said, and it is hip-hop. they were roaring with laughter. the one thing about the white house clip is that when people would start laughing at me i , said, watch the clip from the white house. everyone who saw the clip then called me up and said, that was extraordinary. brian: let's watch. [begin video clip] >> i am thrilled the white house called me because i am actually working on a hip-hop album, a concept album about the life of somebody who embodies hip-hop, alexander hamilton. you laugh, but it is true. he was born a penniless orphan
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in st. croix, illegitimate birth, became george washington's right-hand man, became treasury secretary, had beef with every other founding father, and all on the strength of his writing, he embodies the ability to make a difference. [end video clip] brian: what had happened to lin miranda? what does success mean to him? how long can he keep starring in this? ron: he has already said that he is going to stay in the show through july. that was his announcement in the beginning. i think he would like to move on to his next show. they are doing eight performances a week, it is difficult for him to clear his mind. i recently heard him say that when he took my book on vacation to mexico, it was the first break he had had when he could
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open his mind to another story. i think the show has made him a superstar. people are running after him with every conceivable offer. lin is the original multitasker. the year that he was sending me the hamilton songs, he always maintained psychological continuity with the show. i think that lin has another 6-8-10 wonderful musicals in him. i hope some of them revolving -- revolve around american history. brian: from a financial standpoint, do they have to purchase your services? ron: lin optioned the book. the interesting thing is that the book came out in 2004.
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it was optioned three times in hollywood for a feature film, as often happens, it disappeared into a blackhole. hollywood couldn't figure out what to do with this story. i kept saying to my agent, i don't get it, here is the story of an orphan kid from nowhere who set the world on fire. violence, sex scandals, duels, all of the ingredients you could want. miranda knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. brian: in the back of your book in the acknowledgments, you say there was a study underway to find out whether alexander hamilton was black. you said the information is going to come later. what happened? ron: i discovered from
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geneticists that if i had direct hamilton direct male descendents, descendents who had the hamilton name, i had them out ofg -- swabbing their mouths and sending them off to a laboratory for genetic testing. the results were inconclusive. i was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be great for race race relations in this country if we suddenly had a biracial founding father? doing it was very instructive for me because it made me realize that race, americans tend to think of it as something precise and distinct -- becomes very nebulous on the genetic level. it turns out that so-called races have more in common with each other than differences when
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you look at the genetic material. when hamilton came to north america, he was a legitimate. -- he was illegitimate. they'll voice said my birth has been a subject most humiliating. he was always haunted by references to his legitimacy. there was always in the press -- john adams called him the creole bastard. there were a lot of references to his racial makeup. when young people came from the caribbean, it was not unusual for them to be the product of the union between a white master and a female slave. we have a lot of paintings of hamilton. it is not apparent just from the pictures of him that he would have been biracial.
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as i tell it in the book, his father may not have been james hamilton, it may have been a man named thomas stevens. hamilton's best friend from boyhood was somebody named ned stevens. everybody who knew hamilton suddenly had the chance to meet ned was bowled over by the resemblance, that they looked like brothers which makes me think that they probably were. lin decided that that was probably one complication too many and decided not to deal with that, which could have been difficult. because he starts the show in 1776, in the opening song, telling us everything that we need to know up until that point in hamilton's life. that would have been quite a
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bombshell to drop into the first song. brian: here is more video from that event. by the way, it was $50,000? ron: i think so. [begin video clip] [applause] ♪
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[end video clip] brian: that is the trailer that he used to publicize the show. you said off-camera that those -- that is your family now. ron: i am running with a very cool crowd now. it certainly changed my image around town. it has been so moving that they have invited me into their world. brian: any chance we will see you on stage? ron: no, although i am hoping that on june 12, tony night, i hope i will be on the stage if we win for best musical, which i think we have a reasonable chance. i do not think i will be on stage at the theater. although, i keep mentioning it as a possibility.
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brian: alexander hamilton, the main things that he did before dying at 49. ron: ok. the first act, when the -- winning the revolutionary war, hamilton was washington's aid. chief of staff, battlefield hero. the second act, the constitutional convention. hamilton issued the plea to meet in philadelphia. he was the sole new york delegate to sign. he originated and wrote 51 of the 85 essays considered the constitution. he became the first treasury secretary at age 34. he created the treasury department, created the tax
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system, the first fiscal system, the first central-bank, the first coast guard, the first custom service, on and on. hamilton was the architect of the federal government. >> did you like him after you lived with him for so long? ron: on the one hand, hamilton was very charming, witty, charismatic. it was easier like that side of him. he was also brash and headstrong and dangerously self-destructive. i had tremendous admiration for what hamilton had accomplished. i often say, the wonderful thing about this story was that you could admire him, but his flaws were so serious thate can all identify with him. he is at once very human and superhuman, depending on the moments. it is a fascinating story of
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someone who was as brilliant as hamilton was, flawed and fallible. when we were creating the show, there was this notion in broadway that the central character should be sympathetic. he should be rooting for the central character. hamilton, with the reynolds pamphlet and other things, hamilton is constantly testing the sympathy of the audience. it has been interesting that people walk out of the theater with tremendous admiration and affection for him. the reason is he becomes real to them. this is the big mistake that we make in our schools teaching history. we think that in order to love a historical figure, we should present a series of statements. the students are very bored and the figures seem unreal.
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if you can capture them accurately, they will love these characters. brian: where did you go to high school? ron: forest hills high school in queens. i did two degrees in english literature, at yale and cambridge. brian: you must have had some history classes? do you remember them? ron: history should be the most exciting subject. so often, it is memorization. i do not remember having exciting history classes. i think that i, like a lot of people out there, discovered -- some people were lucky enough to have fantastic history teachers, i don't mean to denigrate -- i think that my story, in their 30's and 40's, they one day on
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their own, pick up a piece of history or biography and a star -- and start reading and they say, this is fascinating, how come they never felt that before? having a sensation constantly with the show that people are coming and saying, how come no teacher let me know how passionate and brilliant and argumentative and fascinating these characters were? brian: the last time you visited was for your washington the, a -- washington book, a book as big as the hamilton book. now, what are you doing? ron: i'm doing ulysses s. grant. brian: how hard is it to live in different centuries? ron: extremely hard. mornings and afternoons, and i am in the civil war and reconstruction. then, nights and weekends, i am back in the 18th century. occasionally, when i come up for air, i am in the early 21st
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century, but only occasionally. because my books are very long and packed with information, when i finish a book, there is a delete button in my mind that wipes out the whole book. it's like my mind is tired of having to keep all of this information. whereas i have not only had to keep the ulysses s. grant book in my mind, but because of the show, hamilton and even washington -- sometimes i feel like my brain is bursting with these books in my mind is crying for release. brian: when will you finish the grant book? ron: i'm hoping to finish it this year, and it will come out next year. i have just had so many distractions with the show --
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pleasant distractions, but still distractions. every time i think that the interest in the show is going to subside, it actually intensifies. i would love if grant comes out next year. brian: what do you think of grant? ron: in terms of searching for topics, i always look to people whom i think were misunderstood. with hamilton, hamilton had been very demonized. when i was growing up, the idea was that jefferson was a virtuous man of the common people and hamilton was this villainous figure, a tool of the plutocrat. i tried to show that hamilton was much more liberal than he had been portrayed. and jefferson, maybe less. similarly with grant, i always try to start out with some of
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the myth around someone. grant was actually a strategic genius militarily. or grant the drunkard. that turns out to be a very complicated story. grant the president, whose presidency was riddled with corruption and nepotism. that was there, but hardly the whole story. reconstruction was a big story of his presidency. there is so much that has been forgotten by ulysses s. grant. i'm hoping that when the book comes out, it will be as surprising to most people as hamilton or the other books have been. they are going to see so many more dimensions to this figure. brian: if you were able to interview george washington, hamilton, or grant, or rockefeller -- who would you
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choose? ron: i would choose george washington. of all of the figures, he was the most important and the most mysterious. just to kind of the able to stare at him in study him. if i wanted someone for his intellect, clearly alexander hamilton. but i think that washington was the indispensable man who made everything else happened. -- everything else happen. in writing about hamilton, i certainly came to feel that his achievements were up there with washington. brian: we found some video that lin miranda put on youtube when he was a young boy. i want to know if there is any video of you that would exhibit this kind of talent.
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[begin video clip] ♪ [end video clip] brian: this is before hip-hop, i suspect. ron: i think it is safe to say there is no such video in their -- in the chernow family archives of me dancing on my bed. i was probably playing stickball. brian: has anybody shown any interest in doing a broadway show on washington? ron: there is interest in doing dramatizations, in terms of
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television and film. i'm hoping that will happen at some point. when lin told me that hamilton's life was classic hip-hop in that -- and that hip-hop was a perfect fit, i did not understand what he was talking about. i understand now, because there is something about the way lin presents him, hamilton is presented as this very, very intense, frenetic character. here you have this very dense hip-hop music, and there something about that personality and style that perfectly meshed. took me time to see what must have come to lin in one blinding flash, that this life and music would match. brian: we're almost out of time. has there been anybody that didn't like the show that wrote about it?
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ron: the only review i can remember that was at all critical was in "the new yorker." otherwise, we have had hundreds upon hundreds of ecstatic reviews of the show. it is inevitable that somebody would come along -- when you have everybody saying it is the greatest show, somebody will come along and say, i don't think it is so great. brian: did you know this was going to happen? ron: no. i remember in january 2012, lin did a performance of 10-12 songs -- 10 or 12 of the songs at the lincoln center. the audience was people in their 20's and 30's. they were not even staged, really. he sang these songs and every -- i can't remember -- i can
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remember at the end, although these young people were on their feet cheering, screaming, and it looked around and said, oh, my god, is this a preview of the future? every time the show was tested, that was then reaction. -- that was the response. when we were at the powerhouse festival the place was crawling , with producers from new york. just the first act was done, concert style and every producer in the room not only wanted to invest, but was saying, this is the greatest thing i have ever seen. we had inclinations that it might happen but we couldn't have predicted that it would be quite such a sensation, or that it would be not only a theatrical phenomenon but a political and cultural phenomenon. we were all at the white house to couple of weeks ago. i don't think there is a proven
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a sitting president who came twice to see the show, the first lady twice. we have had the obamas, the clintons, the cheney's, every hollywood and broadway star you can imagine. it has been a who's who rate -- parade passing through. that is something none of us could have imagined that it would be quite this kind of sensation. brian: ron chernow, author of "hamilton," thank you very much. ron: it was a pleasure, thank you. >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us online. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]


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