The hip-hop musical, Hamilton — based on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton — is lighting up Broadway, not only because of its high-energy lyrics, but because so many of the founding fathers are played by actors of color. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, is played by Daveed Diggs, a black actor. Hamilton, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, a playwright of Puerto Rican descent, is best known for being the founder of our financial system, the first secretary of the treasury, and the man who accepted Aaron Burr’s challenge to duel, was shot and died a day later.
But what most interests me is the little known historical fact, hypothetically speaking, that had Hamilton survived the duel, he would have been not only the most powerful economic figure in the history of the nation, but also an L1-2 paraplegic.
Imagine, history dreamers, where we might be today if fellow para Alexander Hamilton had lived. He would have been the first wheelchair user to 1. become a U.S. cabinet member, 2. lead the powerful Federalist Party, 3. lay the groundwork for the establishment of the United States Mint, 4. have his image appear on U.S. currency (the $10 bill). Do you think, if an economic genius/para like Hamilton had held the financial reins of this infant nation, that more than 25 percent of people with disabilities would be living in poverty in the United States in 2015?
But truthfully, Hamilton had little chance to live for no other reason than in the early 1800s, spinal cord injury was thought to be a death sentence. Like so many others before and after him, Hamilton did not expect nor want to live as a paralytic. The dogma that SCI is lethal goes back at least 5,000 years. The Edwin Smith Papyrus, considere