The Women of Hamilton
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The Women of Hamilton

Women in early American history are
often forgotten because they weren’t allowed to play a part in the war or
politics, and while Lin-Manuel Miranda does a wonderful job of displaying the
importance of women during the founding of America, a lot of their stories are
still untouched and incomplete. I want to talk about the women in the musical
Hamilton and their stories, and just like in the musical I’m going to start with
the Schuyler sisters Angelica Eliza and Peggy.
Angelica Schuyler Church was born on February 20th, 1756. Little is known about
her early life other than that she was most likely well educated due to being
part of a wealthy family. In 1777 at 21 years old, she eloped with John Church. In
1780, she met Alexander Hamilton. Unlike in the musical where she was still
single when they met, she was definitely married at the time. Her relationship
with Hamilton was a loving one and everyone thought that they were up to
something together. Angelica even said herself that she
wished Eliza would share Alexander such as in the Roman days, but while their
relationship with saucy and flirtatious there was no proof that what went on
between Alexander and Angelica was anything more than mutual crushing. Of
course it’s not at all surprising that Hamilton had a crush on her, everyone did.
Angelica was the equivalent of every popular high school prom queen. Everyone
complimented her personality and she wasn’t unattractive either. When she met
Thomas Jefferson in 1787, he actively pursued her despite the fact that she
was married with four kids. They kept up their correspondence together until the
political feud between Hamilton and Jefferson became too extreme and she was
forced to choose sides. During her time in Europe she was also friendly with
Benjamin Franklin and later on in life she also entranced John Jay, as Ron Chernow said, “Angelic I never met a famous intelligent man who she didn’t enchant.
Angelica spent a good period of her life in Europe. She lived two years in Paris
and moved to England in 1785 after a brief visit to America. Based on her
letters and descriptions, Angelica didn’t particularly fancy European lifestyle.
She made many illustrious acquaintances such as the Prince of Wales, due to her
husband’s position in Parliament and threw many
lavish parties but she often complained about being lonely. In 1797, she and her
family moved back to America where she lives for the rest of her life. Despite
the change in culture, Angelica and her husband still often through French style
parties at their home and were viewed as a representation of European lifestyle. Due
to her loving relationship with both her sister and Hamilton himself,
she was always extremely involved in the Hamilton’s lives. Young Philip Hamilton
died in her house after being shot in a duel and she was present at Hamilton’s
bedside when he died himself Angelica had a very strong relationship with her
sister that became even stronger after Hamilton’s death. Angelica was fully
aware of American politics and in some ways involved in them.
Jefferson as well as Hamilton both discussed their opinions on politics
with her and when the war between Jefferson and Hamilton became nasty she
actually gave Hamilton information on Jefferson’s personal life. Hamilton later
published the information, using it against Jefferson. I often wonder how
many political secrets she had in her pockets just based off of the
correspondence she had with so many prominent political figures of the time.
She mentioned in her letters how she had high hopes for Hamilton as a politician
and she wished for him to become an American ambassador in Europe. She had a total of eight children and towards the end of her life her oldest son,
Philip Church, took some of the land they had been gifted by the American
government- as a consolation for John’s Church
donating money to the American Revolution- and her son turned into a
Parisian style town named Angelica after his mother. Angelica died on March 13th
1814, shortly after the town was made. She was buried in the same church cemetery
as Alexander Hamilton. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton was born on August 9th, 1757. She
had no formal education and was less literate than her older sister and some
of the other Schuylers. She was still very well versed in public affairs though, she
was a very beautiful girl and many commended her dark spirited eyes and
vibrant but good-natured personality. Eliza it was a very religious person and
this is something that persisted throughout her life and was something
that she actually relied on after her husband’s death. Sometime in 1780 Eliza
met Alexander Hamilton and it was love at first sight they sent
each other love letters until they eventually got married sometime later in
1780 they had a loving relationship and eventually had eight children together
Eliza’s every bit as much as the founding mother as Martha Washington but
she was more spotlight shy and spent her life trying to get more recognition for
her husband she even states how she was frustrated that her husband was not
initially recognized as one of the writers of Washington’s farewell address
the early years of the lives of marriage to Hamilton were riddled with separation
due to the Revolutionary War but it was still a happy marriage Eliza was a good
homemaker and a loving mother and wife even when the Reynolds affair came out
she still maintained faithfulness to Alexander it is clear his love notes
that Alexander loved Eliza very much we have no proof of her feelings for him at
the time though because despite her making a great effort to prove
Hamilton’s writings none of her letters to him survived despite the reynolds
affair elisha always recounted her marriage to alexander as a good one
shortly after the affair which occurred in 1793 her oldest son Philip died in a
duel in 1801 she was at his bedside when he passed and for some time after she
became inconsolable stricken by grief Eliza’s oldest daughter Angelica lost
her mind and never recovered from the death of her brother
Eliza lost two children in two years Eliza had also lost her younger sister
Peggy earlier that year as well and three years later her mother died from a
stroke this unfortunate pattern of tragedy continued when Hamilton died in
1804 and a duel just like his son and only a few months later her father died
also in her grief the already strong relationship with her sister Angelica
grew and they remained fast friends until Angelica died when Alexander died
he left Eliza and their seven children with sufficient debt but Eliza was
crafty and managed to survive Hamilton’s debt with some help from her friends who
made a very secret trust fund in order to support her and her children she also
worked to receive Hamilton’s military pension that he had waived after the war
this gave her a reasonable amount of money and some land she sold the land to
buy back the house that she and Hamilton had built together which had been sold
shortly after Hamilton’s death to pay off some of the debt Eliza was often
called saintly by her family and friends for her charity
these XI and Hamilton adopted an orphan that they raised for ten years alongside
their own children they also raised funds and supported French immigrants
during the French Revolution when the aristocracy was being persecuted after
being widowed Elijah raised funds for the Washington Monument
she was Pro abolitionist and eventually started the first private orphanage in
New York the New York Orphan Asylum Society their lives lived to be 97 and
towards the end of her life she was frequently visited by famous politicians
and presidents as a living reminder of America’s Founding she never lost her
spunk even in her old age when James Monroe the prompter of the Reynolds
scandal came to reconcile with her she said if you have come to tell me that
you repent that you are sorry very sorry for the misrepresentations and the
slanders and the stories you circulated against my dear husband if you have come
to say this I understand but otherwise no lapse of time no
nearest three graves makes any difference all of the lives of children
were successful and many of the boys followed their father’s footsteps into
military and law all but two of them outlived her Eliza is the Forgotten
founding mother and similar to Abigail Adams she often reviewed and critiqued
her husband’s writing she played an important but undiscussed role in the
production of the Federalist Papers she spent the later years of her life trying
to find someone to finish an Alexander Hamilton biography to immortalize her
husband the deed eventually fell to her son and unfortunately the biography
wasn’t finished until seven years after Eliza’s death in 1854 very little is
known about margarita or as she’s more commonly known Peggy Schuyler that’s why
Flynn’s line and Peggy and Hamilton is such a funny joke throughout the musical
she really doesn’t appear as anything more than an add-on she’s added on once
or twice in the Schuyler family during Hamilton’s romance with Eliza she was
added on historically a Stephen Van Rensselaer’s
Wife there is one story though in which Peggy shines while she and her family
hid in the Attic from British soldiers invading their house they realized that
her baby sister Katherine had been left downstairs in the cradle by mistake
Peggy had the courage to go downstairs leaving her mother and pregnant sisters
upstairs to save the baby when the Redcoats confronted her asking her where
her father was Peggy replied with you’ve gone to go get
which of course sent the Redcoats running out of the house and fear
supposedly as Peggy was walking up the stairs and Native American threw a
tomahawk at her head and you can still see the chips did you know the banister
was tomahawk hit most of the information recorded about Peggy Schuyler is in
reference to Alexander Hamilton all the descriptions of Huracan from in him and
while she is described as extremely beautiful she’s also described as sassy
sarcastic in vane generally just less likeable than her two older sisters she
kept up correspondence with Hamilton throughout her life and he was at her
bedside when she died in March 14th 1801 okay now let’s talk about Mariah the
woman who prompted the first sex scandal in American history
Mariah Lewis was born on March 30th 1768 she had five siblings and a half-brother
only two of which are known to have alleged to adulthood she appears to have
had no education based on a letter she wrote to Hamilton which lacked proper
spelling and grammar and we’re just generally terrible but her lack of
education isn’t surprising considering she came from a poor merchant family
when she was 15 she married James Reynolds and became Mariah Reynolds most
of the information we know about Mariah is based off her interactions with
Hamilton so it’s hard to find a positive representation of her however even
though everything we know about her is based off of her interactions Hamilton
the general consensus of everyone else with what little information there is is
that she was temperamental and kind of terrible a type of her affair with
Hamilton she solved with a lot of other men and was essentially a prostitute her
husband was a sleazy guy so that might be one of the reasons why she slept
around but judging by her future marriages it doesn’t seem like that was
the only reason history tries to paint her in different lights sometimes she’s
just a pawn in her husband’s scam simply to be used abused and then discarded
other times she’s an equal player and she played along with her husband to
scam Hamilton regardless of her status she was still involved in a scam and she
was still a player although you can feel a little bit more sympathy for her if
you believe her pleas that James was going to take her daughter away from her
she had one child with James Reynolds their daughter seemed to have inherited
some level of misfortune and just like Mariah she married
times and became a prostitute eventually Mariah DeForest James Reynolds and some
time after the affair with Hamilton which took her in 1793 ironically enough
she had Aaron Burr as her divorce lawyer she married again very shortly after her
divorce she married a man named Clingman she’d also been sleeping with him during
the Hamilton affair she disappeared to England with Clingman but eventually
came back to America with a new name and no proof of divorce she was out mariah
comment and her last marriage stalked for Matthew a previous employer she
supposedly became respectable she eventually died on March 25th 1828 at 16
years old now let’s talk about feodosia burrs wife Theodosia provoked later to
be known as Theodosia / was born in 1746 the daughter of a single mother her
father had died earlier that year and her mother and raised her alone for five
years before remarrying there was no proof that Theodosia had extensive
schooling but she was a very intelligent person who knew multiple languages and
was especially fluent in French at 17 years old in 1763 she married James
Marcus Provost and with him she had five children her boss was a British soldier
and was frequently coming and going and once the merican Revolution started up
he was sent down south and Theodosia was left to care for her five children
once again widowed mother and her half-sister she spent most of the
revolution opening up her home The Hermitage two soldiers in an attempt to
make friends so as to keep her property from being confiscated or ransacked she
didn’t seem particularly partial to the British side of the war despite her
husband being a British soldier she was what one might call a closet patriot in
the days that she opened up her home is a hotel at base camp she met many
important people like George Washington Alexander Hamilton and of course Aaron
Burr Theodosia was definitely out of birth lead she was smart
beautiful and successful despite her circumstances but even though she was
out of his League she still fell for him there were rumors of a love affair
between Bern Theodosia long before their marriage in 1782 their relationship at
its heart was an honest one for admirers Theodosius intellect and Theodosia
admired burrs lack of frivolity in pretense
they were in a relationship based on mutual respect and friendship before
they got married something that was not very common
during that time another thing that bound Theodosia to Burr was their shared
love of Education which they frequently discussed and debated
Theodosia firmly believed in a woman’s right to an education and it was
something that was clearly evident in the rigorous education of their daughter
their daughter also named feodosia was smart and beautiful and poised
definitely living up to her namesake Theodosia herself was in every way of
feminist she pushed for equal education rights going so far as inspiring brewer
to build a school that taught both boys and girls she believed that women play
an active part in politics and much like Abigail Adams was pushing ideas and
recommending appointments and basically acting through bar she was not secretive
about her feminism and wrote letters to for discussing Catherine the Great of
Russia and describing her as a role model that all women should follow
Theodosia died in 1794 of stomach cancer and while her legacy is small and
undetailed she was an impressive woman a woman who was intelligent and driven in
about 150 years ahead of her time I believe she would have been on par with
Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren as a politician and public servant and she
deserves more recognition as a figure in American history the women in Hamilton
story are often forgotten because they’re not the lives of presidents
Hamilton himself is almost forgotten as a founding father but despite their
historical invisibility I believed women to be just as important as the wives of
presidents such as First Lady’s Martha Washington and Abigail Adams


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