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Hamilton and the LawReading Today's Most Contentious Legal Issues through the Hit Musical$
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Lisa A. Tucker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752216

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752216.001.0001

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Hamilton and Washington at War and a Vision for Federal Power

Hamilton and Washington at War and a Vision for Federal Power

(p.52) 8 Hamilton and Washington at War and a Vision for Federal Power
Hamilton and the Law

Elizabeth B. Wydra

Cornell University Press

This chapter addresses how, as Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: An American Musical accurately portrays, much of the force behind the constitutional system of government came from advocates of strong federal power like George Washington and his “right hand man” Alexander Hamilton. They saw firsthand the pitfalls of a weak central government. The result was a vibrant federalist system that empowers the federal government to provide national solutions to national problems. Not ever wanting to see the noble nation barefoot, bloodied, and starving again, Hamilton made sure the federal government established by the enduring Constitution had at least a fraction of the dazzling energy he expended in defending and promoting it. It is important to remember that the Constitution was drafted in 1787 — and not without conflict, as the musical portrays in the “Cabinet Battles” — “in Order to form a more perfect Union” that was both more perfect than the British tyranny against which the Founding generation had revolted and the flawed Articles of Confederation under which Americans had lived for a decade since declaring independence.

Keywords:   Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton, federal power, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, federal government, U.S. Constitution, British tyranny, Founding generation, Articles of Confederation

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