Slate magazine declares Jefferson’s incarnation in “Hamilton!” one of the most important characterizations in the last 25 years.
Jefferson is a villain in the hit musical- audiences seem to agree. Alexander Hamilton has catapulted to favorable status according to some polling
- Jefferson is portrayed as arrogant and disconnected, an elitist who didn’t really believe in the American experiment.
- Hamilton’s monarchical inclinations are conveniently overlooked as the writers present him as a man of the people.
- Sales of critical Jefferson biographies have seen increased circulation.
There may not be a coordinated effort to force Jefferson out of our national consciousness – but the volume of negative material is taking its toll on public opinion.
- The salacious nature of Annette Gordon-Reed’s work fuels the public’s insatiable need for gossip and reproach.
- Any hope of Jefferson receiving the benefit of this doubt is now lost as the tiny clique of scholars controlling Monticello consider the Hemings allegations indisputable fact.
Academics like Paul Finkelman must be rejoicing that Jefferson is finally taking a beating in the public eye. Finkelman once accused Jefferson of inventing “racism in America.”
In the meantime, “Hamilton!” is still the most coveted ticket on Broadway.