Act II begins with Thomas Jefferson returning from France, where he spent most of the war as ambassador to France. The year was 1789 and George Washington had just been elected first president of the United States. Washington appointed Jefferson as Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury. That’s when the first song of the second act is sung, “What’d I Miss”, and Aaron Burr begins it by criticizing his rival Hamilton and calling him a bastard orphan. It’s Jefferson who, confused or surprised at the political debates and disagreements that are already going on in the new nation, sings the refrain, ‘What’d I miss’. The character of James Madison joins Burr and Jefferson in the song to opinionate that Hamilton’s financial plan will give the federal government too much control. There is a cabinet meeting and Jefferson and Hamilton debate Hamilton’s plan. When things heat up, Washington pulls Hamilton aside and tells him to figure out a compromise if he wants to keep his position as Secretary of Treasury, and that is where the song, “Cabinet Battle #1” comes in.
The political drama is followed by family drama. Hamilton’s oldest son, Philip, celebrates his 9th birthday, and Eliza manages to get Hamilton to stay in one place long enough to hear a short rap that Philip has prepared for his father. Hamilton is amazed that his boy is growing up. Eliza tries to convince him to accompany the family on vacation to upstate New York, but Hamilton refuses, saying he has too much work to do for the new congress. Eliza’s older sister, Angelica, arrives from England, still in love with Hamilton, and she also tries to convince Hamilton to take a vacation with the family, but also to no avail. The song that comes in at this time is called “Take a Break” and everyone joins in, Hamilton, explaining that he has important work to do, Philip presenting his rap, and Eliza and her sister trying to convince Hamilton to take a break and go away with them on a family vacation.
The Schuyler sisters leave New York City for the summer. While they are away, Hamilton begins an affair with a woman named Maria Reynolds, and a song, “Say No To This” is sung. The character Hamilton sings a good part of the song, but Maria joins in, as does her husband, James Reynolds. Actually, Hamilton did not say no to the affair at all until Maria’s husband began to blackmail him. The whole thing was probably a set-up planned by Maria and her husband, but we’ll never really know. It was the first political sexual scandal in the history of the new country.
It is around this time that Aaron Burr could no longer contain his envy of his rival, Hamilton. He was particularly envious of a dinner meeting in which Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (who would later be called the “Father of the Constitution and become the 4th president of the United States) were present. It was a meeting of power in which Hamilton’s financial plan was approved as a trade off for moving the capital from New York to Washington. Hamilton’s plan was for the government to pay state war debts, and today this plan is generally considered to have been one of the most important compromises in American history. If you look in a history book, this decision is called The Compromise of 1790. The decisions made that night are probably the first example of legislative “log rolling,” which means vote trading in Congress, and it was certainly the first government bailout. Burr was not invited to take part in this meeting, and in the musical, he sings the song “The Room Where It Happens”. The song is simply fantastic and shows the full range of almost all negative emotions known to mankind.
Eliza’s father, Phillip Schuyler, ran for senator and lost to Burr. In the musical, Hamilton accuses Burr of switching parties just to run against his father-in-law. Burr says he was just seizing an opportunity like any politician would, but of course Hamilton doesn’t believe him and things become even more strained between the two men. There is a song called “Schuyler Defeated” at this point.
Another cabinet meeting is called, and Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton argue over whether the United States should help France in their revolution. Jefferson argues that France helped them during the American Revolution, but Hamilton says that Jefferson doesn’t even know what a revolution is like, since he spent the whole time in France. Hamilton wants to remain neutral, and Washington agrees with him. The song that illustrates this incident is called “Cabinet Battle #2” and Washington raps while trying to diffuse Jefferson and Hamilton. Jefferson is very insulting and sings that Hamilton dresses like “fake royalty” and that he is “nothing without Washington behind him” – doesn’t that sound like it could be set in any time in history when referring to the right-hand man of a president or prime minister?
Not too long after that, Jefferson and Madison also became envious of George Washington’s unwavering support of Hamilton and begin to look for ways to damage him. There is a great song, “Washington on Your Side” that shows the mood. It is rap, and the lyrics cover just about everything that a government might be criticized for, in those days and in these days; problems with the press, a divided cabinet, the poverty of famers compared to the wealth of Wall Street, the increase of federal employees, federal debt, and of course, they couldn’t keep it all political so they included personal insults about Hamilton being an immigrant and his way of dressing. The song also mentions their hope to find some dirt on Hamilton to bring him down. But Hamilton was able to get a lot of things done in spite of all the opposition. He was the one who proposed a national bank, which he believed that it was fundamental to stabilize and improve the nation’s credit and to improve the financial business of the United States government. What was known as the First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791. Hamilton also was able to get the federal government to assume the Revolutionary War debts, to establish a mint to create a common currency and to establish credit, both in the new country and overseas to raise money for the new government.
Hamilton’s enemies didn’t have enough time to bring him down because George Washington decided to step down. Hamilton is shocked when Washington tells him that his enemy Jefferson is going to run for president, and even more shocked when he learns that his president is stepping down. Washington convinces Hamilton that it is the right thing to do, and Hamilton helps him write his farewell address, both in the musical and in real life. Washington set a precedent for In the musical, there is a song at this point, “One Last Time”, that has little rap, and is mostly just a beautiful song.
When King George II learns that Washington is leaving the presidency and would be replaced with John Adams, his first reaction is surprise that anyone would willingly give up power, or even that they could. Then he gets very excited about what he predicts will be confusion in the new country that had chosen to break away from him, and predicted that Adams’ inexperience would throw the country into turmoil. In the musical, he sings a song, “I Know Him” and the song refers to King George’s poor impression of Adams, whom he mocks and ends up hoping the Americans will “tear each other to pieces”.
After serving as Secretary, Hamilton returned to Manhattan and became one of the city’s most prestigious lawyers. But he never really left politics, and never learned to speak less. The second president of the United States was John Adams, and his vice president was Thomas Jefferson. The musical shows that they are all very pleased that Hamilton doesn’t have any power without his position as Secretary of Treasury and especially without George Washington. But then Jefferson reminds them that Hamilton is still a threat because he writes so well, and suggests they confront Hamilton and throw a scare into him. Burr, Jefferson and Madison go to Hamilton and accuse him of embezzling government money and committing treason, but all they really know about is that Hamilton paid James Reynolds some money, but they don’t know why. Because Maria’s husband was a shady character, involved in dirty business as well as an ex-con, Hamilton’s enemies built on that. They finally had some dirt on Hamilton! We’ll never know if they took the trouble to find out that the “business transactions” Hamilton had with James Reynolds were blackmail money. Hamilton denies any wrongdoing, and it seems that he is more worried about being accused of financial impropriety than of sexual impropriety. He reveals the details of his affair and the blackmailing and asks them not to tell anybody.
Alexander Hamilton didn’t really think his enemies would keep quiet and was pretty sure that affair was about to come to light. Marie’s husband, James Reynolds, had been jailed in 1792 for another illegal incident and plea-bargained his way out of jail by revealing his wife’s affair with the famous Alexander Hamilton. The whole scandal was leaked to a newspaper, exactly as such things happen nowadays. After Madison, Burr and Jefferson approach Hamilton, he remembers how, in the past, his talent for writing helped him, and decides to publish an almost 100-page account of what he named “The Reynolds Pamphlet” – an attempt to explain his sexual misconduct. You can actually read the original version on the Internet. Hamilton thought that being open and honest would be the best policy. There is a song in the musical at this point called “The Reynolds Pamphlet” that Hamilton and his enemies all take part in, as well as Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Angelica Schuyler, who has returned from London to support her sister during this period of gossip and deception. The song is sung as if Aaron Burr, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson are gossiping, with Angelica joining in and telling Hamilton that she is not on his side. Hamilton’s enemies sing a frequent refrain, “he’s never gonna be president now” in a tone of relief.
Hamilton’s idea of a public confession backfired and his affair became the first political sex scandal in the new country. He was a superior writer, but he was not nearly good enough to make up for the public humiliation his wife Eliza suffered. This is the part where Eliza sings “Burn” a ballad about her husband’s decision to make his extramarital affair public, and her decision to burn all his letters to her as a way of erasing herself from his life. She seems to be rereading the letters as she sings, and repeats that she “thought you were mine” which is what he had written in the letters. She also sings of his ambition, which she had been warned against, and how, by publishing the letters that Marie had written to him, he told the whole world how he brought the girl into their bed, and by clearing his name, he had ruined their lives. She sung that the world had no place in their bed, and she was burning the letters so that they would never be published. Those letters never were published, as Mrs. Hamilton really did burn them way back in the 1700s. As for Marie, she sued her husband for divorce and her divorce lawyer was Aaron Burr. Politics were sexualized in the days of the early Republic, just as they often are now.
Act II does not end here, and neither did Alexander Hamilton learn to “talk less, smile more” as Aaron Burr had advised him right after they met. Watch for the final part of the musical to see what further trouble Hamilton got himself into.
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Blackberries – Blueberries – Raspberries – Strawberries Nutritious food is nourishing and efficient as food in the sense that it gives you the sufficient amount of nutrients such as vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins that you need to survive. Healthy food is food that promotes good health, in other words, prevents illness and keeps you younger longer. I. All of the berries above are healthy and nutritious. However, according to nutritional content, total carbohydrates,…