Hamilton's missing 'Cabinet Battle #3' addresses the slavery issue the show glossed over
Devon Pasternak/YouTube

"The issue on the table..."

Two of Hamilton's most beloved numbers are the Cabinet Battles between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. In Cabinet Battle #1, the issue on the table was Hamilton's national financial plan. In Cabinet Battle #2, the issue was whether to provide France assistance in their revolutionary war.

But there was a third rap battle written for the show, which was cut due to time and because it didn't actually move the plot along. The issue on the table for Cabinet Battle #3? Slavery.


One of the few criticisms of the Hamilton musical is that it goes light on the issue of slavery—criticism that creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and others in the original cast say they welcome and hope people talk about more.

Squeezing a founding father's life and a huge chapter in American history into a 2.5 hour stage production with adequate character development, plot movement, musical flow, etc. is a herculean task, and Miranda has said he wrestled mightily with what to keep and what to cut. Slavery is obviously a huge issue, but since none of the founding fathers in the show actually did anything to end it, the light treatment makes sense from a plotline perspective.

From a historical perspective, however, the omission is glaring. Much can be said about how the men who founded the United States thought about and engaged with the institution of slavery—and how their beliefs and actions were often at odds with one another.

Jefferson called the slave trade an "assemblage of horrors," and slavery itself a "moral depravity" and a "hideous blot," yet he kept more than 600 men, women, and children enslaved in his lifetime and fathered six children with one of them.

Washington became increasingly anti-slavery in his later years and was the only slaveholding founding father to free his slaves—but he only did so in his will. (He also had false teeth that may have been made up of the teeth of enslaved people.)

Madison argued that slavery was incompatible with the values of the Revolution, but he himself enslaved people his entire life, even selling people for a profit.

Hamilton himself, though publicly against slavery, did nothing of consequence to change it.

All of these hypocrisies and contradictions are highlighted as these men debate the issue in Cabinet Battle #3. It's too bad it didn't make it into the final cut of the show, but it can be found on the Hamilton Mix Tape album. And someone made a nice animatic video for it, making it a bit clearer who is speaking (since the recording has Miranda rapping all the parts):

Cabinet Battle #3 (Animatic) www.youtube.com

And there you have it. "Let's hope the next generation thinks of something better."

As much as many of us would love to see the slavery problem tackled more directly in Hamilton, the truth is that at that time and in that place and with those men, slavery wasn't going anywhere. It was wrong and they knew it, but they benefited from it. It was a sin and they knew it, but like Hamilton with Mariah Reynolds, they didn't say no to it. Instead, they chose to pass the ticking time bomb to their descendents.

Miranda explained Hamilton's slavery complicity in an NPR interview last week. "Hamilton—although he voiced anti-slavery beliefs—remained complicit in the system. And other than calling out Jefferson on his hypocrisy with regards to slavery in Act 2, doesn't really say much else over the course of Act 2. And I think that's actually pretty honest. ... He didn't really do much about it after that."

"None of them did. None of them did enough," Miranda added. "And we say that, too, in the final moments of the song. So that hits differently now because we're having a conversation, we're having a real reckoning of how do you uproot an original sin."

Here's another video of the song with the lyrics and names to make it easier to follow:

The Hamilton Mixtape - Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo) Music Lyrics www.youtube.com

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.