Has “Hamilton” saved Hamilton?
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” said on Wednesday that he had received assurances from Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Treasury, that admirers of Alexander Hamilton would not be disappointed by a forthcoming redesign of the $10 bill. Mr. Lew has said that he wanted to add a woman’s image to that bill, which now features Hamilton’s portrait. That plan has won support from many, but there have also been complaints from those who don’t want to see Hamilton, the country’s first Treasury secretary, replaced.
Mr. Miranda met with Mr. Lew on Monday, before a visit to the White House, and described the currency discussion briefly on Twitter on Wednesday, in response to a question from one of his Twitter followers.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 16, 2016
The irony here is that an idea that was nothing more than a sop to progressives may have been kept at bay with an assist by perhaps the most progressive wing of the entertainment industry: the theater. The discussion about changing the $10 bill began simply because they wanted to put “a woman” on it; there was no great public outcry to honor a specific woman. Miranda’s popularization of one of the more interesting Founding Fathers was fortuitously timed if Hamilton does remain on the redesign.
The more conspiracy-minded among us may think removing Hamilton from the currency is yet another attempt to diminish the importance of the men who shaped the republic, and they may very well be right.
That would make this story even sweeter if it ends up being true.