Search Trends: “Hamilton” and Alexander Hamilton, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and Trump

“Hamilton’s” success drives interest in Alexander Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton in his musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton during a April 2016 performance of his musical “Hamilton.” Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The longstanding question of how to make history more interesting may have been answered with the popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton.” Since the musical’s debut on August 6, 2015, a surge in searches for “Hamilton” have been accompanied by a corresponding surge in searches for the historical figure at the musical’s center, United States founding father Alexander Hamilton. There is only one instance in the last year and a half, in late November 2016, in which the two trends did not mirror each other. This divergence most likely corresponds with the cast’s decision to urge then Vice-President Mike Pence to create a more inclusive America.

The search trends for Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical

The search trends for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton” and United States founding father Alexander Hamilton. More Detailed trends linked in heading title

Outside of its ability to spark an interest in American history, “Hamilton” has had profound cultural impact, even influencing government decisions. It has been widely speculated the musical’s popularity led the United States Treasury, the department which Hamilton led, to reverse their decision to replace Hamilton with a woman on the $10 bill. The treasury department announced they would instead replace Andrew Jackson’s image with one of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The interest in Alexander Hamilton’s life, and the history surrounding it, has led to tourists flocking to sites associated with his life. According to Playbill, visits to Hamilton’s grave have gone up 70% since the musical’s debut.

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