Ron Chernow Gets “America at Her Best Is Hamiltonian”


Ron Chernow, author of the bestselling book Alexander Hamilton—which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s production of Hamilton: An American Musical—recently spoke at Drew University. During the Q&A following the lecture, TOS subscriber Eric Kalin posed a question to Chernow (from memory):

Richard Salsman, who teaches political economy at Duke University, recently wrote an essay entitled “America at Her Best Is Hamiltonian.” Two questions: First, may I give you a copy? (I held up TOS; he smiled and said yes.) Second, what do you think of Dr. Salsman’s title, “America at Her Best Is Hamiltonian”?

Kalin reports what happened next: “Chernow responded for several minutes, mentioning several differences between Hamilton and Jefferson, so I think he’ll enjoy the essay. When he finished his answer, I approached the stage and handed him his copy of TOS.”

A big thank-you to Mr. Kalin for this wonderful gesture (and for permitting me to write about it).

As to Chernow’s lecture itself, Kalin writes:

Chernow’s talk was terrific. He’s a great fan of Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Nobody was more surprised than me to see Alexander Hamilton on Broadway.” In the middle of his talk, Chernow recited the entire opening number (“Alexander Hamilton”), much of it, it seemed, from memory. He got an enthusiastic and long round of applause.

America at her best indeed. It’s made of moments like these.

Here’s a clip of Chernow performing a couple of stanzas from that opening number:

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