With the release of the record-breaking Broadway play Hamilton on Disney+, a larger audience has now experienced Lin Manuel-Miranda’s historical hip-hop take on the life and death of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father and the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.
In the excerpt below, from God and Hamilton: Spiritual Themes from the Life of Alexander Hamilton & the Broadway Musical He Inspired, author Kevin Cloud describes how Hamilton’s non-stop work ethic reveals his own lack of initiative and how that has affected his spiritual life.
When the newly elected President Washington nominated Hamilton to serve as his first Secretary of the Treasury, he knew exactly what Hamilton would bring to his cabinet. Hamilton rushed into this position with his trademark intensity. “Hamilton hit the ground running. . . . he knew the symbolic value of rapid decision making and phenomenal energy,” writes Chernow.
Hamilton worked with a blank slate, and immediately began to create systems and structures for this new government. He quickly became the most influential figure in defining and shaping this new country. He created a banking and financial system from scratch, a strategy to deal with overwhelming national debt, and established tax protocol and customs regulations. In addition, he established a mail system, the beginnings of what would become the coast guard, and championed industrial advances. The breadth of Hamilton’s activity during these formative years is staggering. Chernow writes, “If Washington was the father of the country . . . then Alexander Hamilton was surely the father of the American government.” Joseph Ellis, in summing up Hamilton’s initiative, writes, “Once Hamilton encountered a major obstacle to the advancement of any cause in…