The “Hamilfilm” is a Chance to Reflect on the Founding Father’s Manufacturing Legacy

By Scott Paul
May 12 2020 |

The ten-dollar Founding Father without a father is the father of American manufacturing.

There’s a Hamilfilm!

Since no one will be seeing the Tony-award winning and record-setting musical in person anytime soon, Disney+ has announced that a film version will start streaming this summer.

I’ve been an Alexander Hamilton aficionado for decades. So the emergence of Hamilton onto a more national stage (ha!) was a welcome development. As fans of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton musical surely know, his inspiration was Ron Chernow’s magnificent biography of this controversial founding father. The book should be required reading, particularly as our nation faces momentous decisions in the weeks and months to come.

Hamilton had exceptional foresight, knowing that it would be dangerous for our new nation in the late 1700s to become overly dependent on Britain or France, and that it would be a benefit to our economy and democracy to grow manufacturing.

Even today, our leaders debate tariffs and infrastructure, two subjects Hamilton tackled in one of the most clear-headed federal reports ever published: The Report on Manufactures, delivered to Congress in 1791. Here are three things you can do to prepare for the Hamilfilm: 

  1. Read the Chernow biography.
  2. Download the genre-bending and extraordinary musical soundtrack.
  3. Check out the essays I wrote on the relevance of Alexander Hamilton to our national economic debate, including a roadtrip to New Jersey!

My only deep regret about Hamilfilm and the musical is this: Why couldn’t Lin Manuel Miranda construct a hip hop treatment of manufacturing policy? 

The sheriff of the tariff is coming to town…and he’s not gonna let Jefferson keep him down.

When all is said and done one idea will be left standing, and that’s the support we give for American manufacturing.