A review of history

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Our perception of historical figures, whether great or terrible, is precisely that, a perception. We picture events in the past as being a certain way, often painting a rosier picture of people and events than is accurate. Reflecting on the current political climate is significantly above my pay grade, however one thing as been made more and more apparent to me as I watch events happen around the world- we often redefine historical figures and historical people to better match how we want the world to be. Allow me an example. Alexander Hamilton is currently a role model to many especially since the Broadway musical launched. Certainly there are many aspects of Alexander Hamilton’s life that are laudable. His work ethic in drafting our current economic system. His willingness to state his opinion no matter the cost. His enthusiasm for creating a better country. The thing that people love about the musical in today’s political climate is the fact that a young immigrant who began with nothing, invented and defined the financial system in America. However to get to place Alexander Hamilton on the pedestal of virtue and greatness much has been glanced over. For approximately year Hamilton had an affair with a woman 11 years younger. Throughout his life he was impatient and tirelessly self promoting to the point at which his relationship with George Washington was damaged. Although Aaron Burr is painted as the villain (which is certainly deserved) it was the constant battles for honor and reputation which lead them to that point- a point where verbal arguments were escalated to the level of deadly duals. Taken together, Hamilton did incredible things yet was a broken human being like the rest of us. And that is how is has always been and will always be. Humans rising to incredible heights to take on great challenges while at the same time often falling short of our own expectations and ideals. So let us not become disillusioned believing that we are worse today than the great people of old. Rather let us take hope in the fact that we too can do great things even as we stumble along the way.

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