In the hip-hop musical Hamilton we learn about America's immigrant founding father and the Revolutionary War. But, who was Hamilton? Where does the play depart from history? And how did the Revolutionary War impact New York City? In this three-hour walking tour of Hamilton's New York we'll dive into the history of the late colonial period, explore the Revolutionary War in NYC, and discuss the Hamilton’s role in establishing American independence and how this impacts what, and who, America is today.
Hamilton Tour NYC
We’ll begin this Hamilton Tour together at the southern-most tip of Manhattan, which was founded as New Amsterdam by the Dutch in 1643. Its proximity to the Hudson River was a contributing factor in the colony’s prosperity and economic growth, and it eventually became the most important port for the British Empire. Hamilton himself was born and raised in the West Indies, was orphaned at age 13, and arrived to the colonies in 1772. He quickly became involved in politics, joining the militia and later serving as Washington’s chief of staff during the war. At the present-day site of the Museum of the American Indian, we’ll explore Hamilton's immigrant identity and consider the multi-ethnic communities that were already beginning to grow and shape what would eventually become the United States.
The Revolutionary War and 1776
Walking through Battery Park and on to Bowling Green, we’ll study the political position of these parks in protecting New York into the 18th century. Here, we’ll focus on the shift from Dutch colonization to the British Empire and Hamilton’s important role in the Revolutionary War. Ever-increasing economic trade, combined with the Seven Years War and increased angst about imperial taxation, caused colonists to revolt, resulting in a series of key events such as the Second Continental Congress and Battle of Yorktown, in which Hamilton played a crucial role. We’ll discover more about Hamilton’s friendship with figures like Marquis de Lafayette and John Laurens, their influential roles in the war and their contributions to the colony’s independence from Great Britain.
Becoming the United States of America
Passing by Fraunces Tavern, a popular meeting spot for the Sons of Liberty and where Washington bid his famous farewell, we’ll look at the role of Hercules Mulligan, a friend of Hamilton’s, in serving as spy and saving Washington’s life on two occasions. Walking towards Trinity Church, we’ll consider the role of religion in the British Empire during the eighteenth century, and visit the gravesite of Hamilton, his wife Eliza, and Angelica Schuyler. Our time together will end near City Hall Park and the US Treasury, to which Hamilton was appointed Secretary, and was just one of many legacies he left during his prolific career after the war.
The colonial past is still very much present in modern-day New York, as evidenced by the immense popularity of the musical and renewed interest in Hamilton's life. By piecing together sites with key figures and events from the Revolutionary War, we will uncover a picture of the country’s most formative time period.
Where do we meet?
Generally speaking, the walk begins near Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24 hour phone number for any last minute issues.
Where does the tour end?
Generally speaking, the walk begins near near Trinity Church, located at 75 Broadway.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this a walking intensive tour?
This walk covers about 2 miles overall at a gentle pace. There are occasional opportunities to sit, use the bathroom, and get something to drink if needed.