Myth: Alexander Hamilton Was Gay
One often gets the impression that myths like this are perpetrated to justify modern moral values. Hamilton certainly had a colorful career and death, but this accusation is based on amateur psychoanalysis and extremely circumstantial evidence. If Hamilton was gay, he certainly did a fine job of hiding it throughout his adult life. Here are some thoughts on the question “Was Alexander Hamilton Gay?”.
Is Alexander Hamilton gay: The myth of Hamilton’s homosexual past centers on his relationship with John Laurens of South Carolina. Both men served under George Washington during the American Revolution. Washington referred to his staff officers as his “family” during the war, and Laurens and Hamilton developed a close relationship. When the two were apart, they corresponded frequently. Their letters were written in the flowery language of the eighteenth century, and while they would raise suspicion in modern American society, they were typical in style and tone for their time. Hamilton told Laurens that he loved him, and Laurens referred to Hamilton as “My Dear.” They were both young, involved in a dire situation, and had idealistic notions about life and society. They were kindred spirits, but no hint of a sexual relationship exists.
Is Alexander Hamilton gay: Hamilton in fact requested that Laurens find him a wife. He described her desired attributes in detail, particularly her looks. Within a year, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a wealthy American general Philip Schuyler. The two had eight children together and from all appearances had a healthy relationship, though with some indiscretion on Hamilton’s part. There were rumors that Hamilton and Elizabeth’s sister, Angelica, had an affair, but the family edited Hamilton’s letters after his death, so no conclusive evidence exists.
Is Alexander Hamilton gay: Hamilton did have an affair with a married woman in 1791. Maria and James Reynolds concocted a scheme to milk Hamilton for money. Maria Reynolds planned to seduce Hamilton, and James Reynolds, her husband, would then extort “hush” money from him. The scheme worked perfectly, only Hamilton continued to pay James Reynolds for the “use” of his wife long after the initial blackmail. James Reynolds was eventually arrested for counterfeiting, and in the process implicated Hamilton. James Monroe and Aaron Burr interviewed Hamilton, but found Hamilton innocent of the charges of corruption and counterfeiting, though Hamilton was forthcoming about the affair Monroe and Burr decided to keep the affair secret, but James T. Callender caught wind of the illicit story and exposed Hamilton. Surprisingly, Hamilton publicly admitted to the affair. Thus, while Hamilton was an adulterer, his known and suspected affairs were all with women, not men.
The Alexander Hamilton rumor, unfortunately, has been seized upon by activist groups who want to make him a champion of gay rights, for which there is not a shred of evidence. Hamilton deserves to be remembered for many things, but homosexual activism isn’t one of them. There you have an answer to the question “is Alexander Hamilton Gay?.”
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