It comes as a surprise to no one that the broadway musical Hamilton is up for the Best New Musical Tony. In fact, I just typed that sentence without even checking the Tony nominations which were announced earlier this week. I just assumed it was true because the internet didn’t explode with outrage. It turns out Hamilton racked up a whomping 16 nominations, the most in broadway history. In fact, Hamilton has at least one nominee in every category the show is eligible for, and multiple nominees in the two best actor categories.
But award wins and nominations are only the beginning of Hamilton’s impressive feats. Many sources, including The New York Times, The LA Times and The Washington Post have given the musical at least partial credit for keeping Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.
Many feminist groups have been asking for women on U.S. currency for some time. While they weren’t specifically asking to replace Hamilton, the U.S. treasury initially picked him because the $10 bill is the next one due for a redesign. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of Hamilton even met with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew personally regarding the matter.
Now the treasury has changed its mind. Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 bill while the back will feature several women of the suffragette movement. Harriet Tubman will take Andrew Jackson’s place on the front of the 20, bumping Jackson to the back of the bill.
Let that sink in. Miranda probably had more influence over what U.S. currency will look like for decades than many legislators and bureaucrats. It’s not because he won an election or published a policy paper, it’s because he wrote a musical. While neither the musical Hamilton, nor the actual person Hamilton is libertarian per se, libertarians should take note of this.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with going to law school or pursuing a career in politics, especially if that’s your passion. However, I worry that too many libertarians go this route because they see this as the only means of creating a freer world. Hamilton, especially with regards to U.S. currency, is a perfect example of how writing music can have a direct impact on the decisions our government makes. If that’s what your talents are best suited for, pursue that. Maybe you can get Milton Friedman on our money.