Thursday, February 25, 2016

HamAlong Post VIII The Finale: Best of Wives and Best of Women

Here we are, the last HamAlong post. I am equal parts

The second gif is not only for whole dying-in-a-duel-that-totally-didn't-need-to-happen thing, but I'm also a bit sad to be done with this book. I mean, my shoulder is pretty happy I'm not lugging the book around, and it will be nice to read something else for a change, but still.
Thank you Alice for hosting this thing and congrats to all those that made it through. And congrats to those that will make it through eventually. Or just read the cliff notes version via the various HamAlong posts. These chapters, 39-Epilogue, covers tracks "It's Quiet Uptown" (SOB) through "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" (spoiler, it's Eliza).
Every day proves to me more and more that this American world was not made for me.
Hamilton is not in a good place. He's depressed about Philip. He's depressed that everything he worked to do for America is being taken apart by Jefferson. He's depressed that people keep saying he's a monarchist. The man has a lot of problems and feels unwelcome in his country. Of course he deals with this by blaming foreigners and dude, what the hell? Stop saying foreigners are going to "corrupt the national spirit". DON'T FORGET FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, MAN. It's right in the intro song. Luckily people didn't seem to be following him but that does mean "Hamilton seemed to rage alone in the wilderness" and that can't have helped his depression.
General Hamilton did not oppose Mr. Burr because he was a democrat...but because HE HAD NO PRINCIPLE, either in morals or in politics. The sum and substance of his language was that no party could trust him.
Things weren't going super well for Burr either. I don't know that it's possible for Jefferson to dislike someone more than Hamilton, but Burr seemed to be getting up there, which is unfortunate seeing how he was the vice president and all. Burr was doing whatever he could (in between having sex with just ALL THE LADIES) to revive his career. However, Hamilton was doing what he could to keep Burr from winning political office in New York, claiming Burr doesn't stand for anything and can't be trusted. Which was not a unique opinion, but Hamilton being Hamilton made it loudly and often.

And thus we lay the foundation for the famous duel. The famous, stupid duel. Apparently dueling was what the social elite did. If someone was below you, you beat them with a cane. If you were equals you COULD sue them for libel, but that was gauche. Much better to SHOOT THEM IN THE FACE. #classy
In a shockingly brief span, the two men had moved to the brink of a duel and were ready to lay down their lives over an adjective.
The duel eventually came down to Burr asking Hamilton to apologize for making cruel remarks about him. To which Hamilton replied that he would have to be more specific about exactly which cruel things he'd like an apology for. Hamilton and Burr quibbled over the word despicable and how other people may have inferred something about Burr and really, is it Hamilton's fault if other people infer something?

One of the last speeches Hamilton made was about how terrible dueling was, but Hamilton was a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy and thus he wouldn't just give some bland apology to Burr but instead they went ahead with their plan to duel. Hamilton was, however, determined to throw away his shot. He told many people this though word never seemed to make it over to Burr, which is too bad cos things could have gone very differently otherwise.

Since these were busy men, the duel was scheduled for a few weeks in the future, rather than happening right away. Burr was having a fair amount of money trouble at this time and in a move of pretty spectacular chutzpah, Burr actually showed up on Hamilton's doorstep to ask for money.
And Hamilton helped him out, soliciting money from various sources and raising $10K.

You'd think this would have put SOME stop to the duel, but no, not at all. The men got their affairs in order, headed to New Jersey, and Burr shot Hamilton. The jerk.
Eliza had not allowed the children into their father's presence the previous day, but she now realized that the time had come for Hamilton to bid them farewell...[She] lined up all the seven children at the foot of the bed so that Hamilton could see them in one final tableau, a sight that rendered him speechless...He opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed them again until they were taken away.
Not only Hamilton's family but the city mourned the death of Hamilton. Not everyone was sad he was gone. Jefferson, Madison, and Adams all seemed fine that he was now permanently out of their hair. And then there was Burr who seemed SUPER FINE with killing Hamilton. And it actually was ruled a murder, since Hamilton had thrown away his short and Burr shot him anyway.
Would have been a much better outcome
Burr was wanted in both New York and New Jersey, so he spent his time down south and later in Europe, avoiding charges. He kept his sense of humor. He continued to collect mistresses and told his daughter Theodosia "If any male friend of yours should be dying of ennui, recommend him to engage in a duel and a courtship at the same time."
I like musical Burr way more than real Burr. He seemed to regret what he did. And show various other human emotions
I heal all wounds but those which love hath made
It seemed that Eliza's world was falling apart, having lost her son, husband, sister and mother in rapid succession. But Eliza was a tough lady and she did everything she could to tell Hamilton's story. Oh and co-found an orphanage. And dine at the White House with friends like Dolly Madison. She also stayed defiantly pissed at James Monroe for the rest of her life. Oh sure, he tried to "sorry not sorry" to her about his whole bit with the Reynolds affair, but Eliza was having none of it, former president or no. She kept the memory of Hamilton alive.

And there we have the end of Hamilton and the end of Hamilton. I'm going to take a bit of a break from reading about the founding fathers, but I think I might need to read more about these fellas. And of course listen to the soundtrack 1000 more times.