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Book Chapter

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This chapter discusses how Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton: An American Musical is changing the future of originalism. Originalism in constitutional law has recently had a generally conservative valence not because the Founders were an eighteenth-century version of the Federalist Society, but because readings of Founding era sources that favored right-leaning causes were generally predominant in the community of constitutional lawyers. Since 2015, however, the millions of Americans who have listened obsessively to Hamilton's cast album or packed theaters to see the show in person have been absorbing a new vision of the Founding. The blockbuster musical narrative has retold America's origin story as the tale of a heroic immigrant with passionately progressive politics on issues of race and issues of federal power. And so the balance shifts: inspired in part by this retelling, a new orientation toward the Founding will come into view. Hamilton offers this alternative vision at the dawn of a period when liberals will find themselves attracted to rediscovering the Founding Fathers as political and jurisprudential allies.


From “Hamilton” and the Law, edited Lisa A. Tucker. Copyright © 2020 by Cornell University. Included by permission of the publisher, Cornell University Press. No use of this material is allowed with prior, written permission from the publisher.