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Each week at In The Past Lane, the American history podcast, host and Historian-at-Large, Edward T. O’Donnell, brings you news, stories, interviews, and special features on all things U.S. history. His aim is to be both engaging and thought-provoking, inspired by the notion that history explains the world we live in and provides insights into how to achieve a more prosperous, peaceful, and just future. So come along with us as we journey In The Past Lane.  

May 24, 2018

This week at In The Past Lane, the history podcast, I speak to two historians about their new book on Hamilton: The Musical. Claire Bond Potter and Renee Romano’s book, Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America’s Past, features 15 essays by historians that examine many aspects of the Broadway sensation. For example, historian Joanne Freeman – some of you know her from the Backstory podcast – has written an essay, “Can We Get Back to Politics? Please? Hamilton’s Missing Politics in Hamilton.” Patricia Herrera’s essay is titled, “Reckoning with America’s Racial Past, Present, and Future in Hamilton.” Jim Cullen’s essay, “Mind the Gap: Teaching Hamilton,” focuses on the challenges and opportunities of using Hamilton in the classroom. Twelve additional essays, including one each by Claire Potter and Renee Romano, examine the blockbuster musical from many angles, including gender, social media, and the business of Broadway.

Among the many things discussed in this episode: 

How “Hamilton: The Musical” Plays into “Founders Chic”

How is it that “Hamilton: The Musical” appea

ls to both Mike Pence and Michelle Obama?

How Hamilton: The Musical kept Alexander Hamilton on $10 Bill

Just how revolutionary is “Hamilton: The Musical”?

How Lin-Manuel Miranda uses a savvy social media strategy to cultivate the #HamFam phenomenon for “Hamilton: The Musical”

In casting people of color as Founders, does “Hamilton: The Musical” inadvertently erase the black past?

How teachers are using “Hamilton: The Musical”

Recommended reading

Renee C. Romano and Claire Bond Potter, eds, Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America’s Past (Rutgers, 2018).

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2004)

Valerie Estelle Frankel, Who Tells Your Story?: History, Pop Culture, and Hidden Meanings in the Musical Phenomenon Hamilton (2016)

Stephen F. Knott and Tony Williams, Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America (2015)

Dona Herweck Rice and Emily Smith, Hamilton: An American Musical: An Instructional Guide for Literature (2016)

Related ITPL podcast episodes:

017 Alan Taylor on his book, American Revolutions

049 Gordon Wood on the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

041 Dean Snow on the pivotal Battle of Saratoga

028 Carol Berkin on the Crisis of the 1790s

023 Stephen Knott on the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and George Washington

065 Andrew O'Shaugnessy on the men who lost America -- essentially the British version of the American Revolution. 

Music for This Episode

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

The Womb, “I Hope It Hurts” (Free Music Archive)

Borrtex, “Perception” (Free Music Archive)

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Winter Trek” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

Production Credits

Executive Producer: Lulu Spencer

Associate Producer: Tyler Ferolito

Technical Advisors: Holly Hunt and Jesse Anderson

Podcasting Consultant: Darrell Darnell of Pro Podcast Solutions

Photographer: John Buckingham

Graphic Designer: Maggie Cellucci

Website by: ERI Design

Legal services: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too

Social Media management: The Pony Express

Risk Assessment: Little Big Horn Associates

Growth strategies: 54 40 or Fight

© In The Past Lane, 2018