Hamilton's tomcat story: Is it true?
Hamilton, the mega Broadway musical, has a plot that flows as quickly as Marquis De Lafayette’s rapping. One early moment pumps the breaks by winking at the audience — which is now being called into question.
When describing Alexander Hamilton as a ladies man, Aaron Burr reveals America’s first First Lady Martha Washington “named her feral tomcat after [Hamilton],” who quickly quips, “That’s true.”
Real-life Hamilton supporters are trying to reshape the narrative (like Eliza Schuyler does in the musical) to put the Secretary of the Treasury in a better light.
“If you’re saying Hamilton was this scoundrel, all of a sudden it colors your view on his position on politics and economics,” researcher Michael Newton told the Associated Press. He also pointed to the shifting definition of “tomcat,” which supposedly did not indicate promiscuity in Hamilton’s day.
Newton and Stephen Knott, another Hamilton expert, found a possible origin for the Washington-tomcat story: “a satirical letter from someone described as a British captain republished 56 years after Hamilton’s death,” the AP reports. It seems Washington’s name choice was only out of reverence and had since been twisted, according to the AP.
(It bears noting Hamilton publicly admitted to one affair by writing a 95-page document now known as The Reynolds Pamphlet; that also made its way into Hamilton.)
Read the AP’s full story here.