Independence Day

Can you believe that July 4th is just around the corner!    

In addition to people hosting delicious barbecues or spending the day at a lake or by a pool, July 4th is a day to remember that in 1776 the thirteen colonies, fighting against the British in the American Revolution which started in 1775, officially declared their independence from British rule in the written document we call the Declaration of Independence which states: “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”

The story of the American Revolution and the beginning of the independent United States of America has been on a lot of people’s minds lately due to the tremendous popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton which was just awarded the Tony for Best Musical. The musical follows the life of Alexander Hamilton who fought with George Washington in the American Revolution, advocated for the adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America, became the first Treasury Secretary when George Washington became president, and sadly died in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Truly capturing the essence of the diversity of the United States and the timelessness of history, the musical, written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a cast that ignores race—for example, Mr. Miranda who plays Alexander Hamilton was born in Manhattan to parents who are Puerto Rican, and the actor who plays Aaron Burr is African-American. The story of Alexander Hamilton is told in songs, many of which are hip-hop in nature with lots of rapping and break-dancing which certainly were not around in the 18th century!

Click here to watch the performance from Hamilton broadcast on the Tony Awards just a few weeks ago (I guarantee that you will be impressed!!!)

As a life-long resident of the Albany area, I am really intrigued by the historical connection of Alexander Hamilton to this area. In the YouTube clip from the musical, you heard Hamilton refer to his wife “Eliza” who is pregnant with their child. Well, Eliza is Elizabeth Schuyler who met Mr. Hamilton in 1777 at her father’s house—Schuyler Mansion–in Albany, NY! They were married in that same house in December 1780. Eliza’s father was Philip Schuyler who was a wealthy landowner and politically active gentleman that enabled him to build Schuyler Mansion which is on Catherine Street just off of Pearl Street in downtown Albany. The statue that stands in front of Albany City Hall depicts General Philip Schuyler.

I remember many a visit with my father (a history buff) to Schuyler Mansion when I was a kid and how fascinated I was by the stories of life inside the Mansion. You should consider a visit this summer! Click here for more information. The story of the Schuyler family does not end here—another recent local news event involves this historical family too.

We can explore that story together in my next blog. Talk to you then!



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