Elizabeth Hamilton: An American Musical. Why Not?

Elizabeth Hamilton

The biography of Alexander Hamilton tells about a woman that actually shaped him as a leader. That woman is Elizabeth Schuyler, his wife and supporter in all his endeavors. She had a spirit of revolution running through her blood since Elizabeth was a daughter of the Revolutionary War leader Major General Philip Schuyler.

Her intelligence, sharp mind and “a fiercely indomitable spirit” attracted Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton. They got married on December 14, 1780.

While Alexander Hamilton was busy creating and polishing the economic philosophy of the country, she gave birth to eight children. She probably was snowed under family chores though this loyal woman was of a great help for her husband. Elizabeth was Hamilton’s speechwriter (she wrote Washington’s Farewell Address), she drafted his political essays, communicated with statesmen via correspondence. Well, that woman definitely gave lots of pieces of advice to Hamilton.

The big family moved into a country house named the Grange. However, the family didn’t enjoy living together there due to a horrible tragedy. Alexander Hamilton was shot in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804.

The poor woman was still grieving for her eldest son who was killed in a duel either three years before the father’s one. The two big losses didn’t kill her. Another bunch of misfortunes waited for her. Her father passed away and a nervous breakdown nearly destroyed her daughter. On top of the tragedies, creditors wanted to confiscate the Grange but Elizabeth Hamilton managed to pay back for it.

This is how her son James described her: “a skillful house-wife, expert at making sweetmeats and pastry; she made the undergarments for her children, was a great economist and most excellent manager”.

Not only did she handle all the problems but decided to solve problems of others. She took comfort in charity. Mrs. Hamilton became a co-founder of the Orphan Asylum Society (it was the first private establishment of such kind in New York). She supervised the way children were treated and educated there. Elizabeth collected goods and raised money for children’s needs.

At the age of 76, Mrs. Hamilton sold the house. Her new residence was a Federal-style townhouse. She was not alone there, her daughter Eliza, son Alexander with families lived there as well.

The unity cracked when Eliza’s husband passed away and she moved to the capital. Later on, she moved to Washington as well.

Elizabeth Hamilton outlived her husband by 50 years. The half of the century she dedicated to honoring her husband and finding the truth as not to tarnish his name by enemies. She died at the age of 97 having left a great impact on history.