"Alexander Hamilton" is the first song of Act One of the Broadway musical Hamilton. It is the first song of the musical overall.

The song serves to introduce the characters, primarily Hamilton. It also explains Hamilton's backstory and early life. Finally, it brings us into the present as they tell the story of Alexander.

[BURR]
How does a bastard, orphan,
Son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by providence
Impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

[LAURENS]
The ten-dollar founding father without a father,
Got a lot farther, by working a lot harder,
By being a lot smarter,
By being a self-starter,
By fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter.

[JEFFERSON]
And every day, while slaves were being slaughtered, and carted away,
 Across the waves, he struggled and kept his guard up.
Inside, he was longing for something to be a part of,
The brother was ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter.

[MULLIGAN]
Then the hurricane came, devastation reigned,
Our man saw his future drip, dripping down the drain.
Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain,
And he wrote his first refrain, a testament to his pain!

[BURR]
Well, the word got around, they said, “This kid is insane, man!”
Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland!
“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came,
And the world’s gonna know your name!
What’s your name, man?”

[HAMILTON]
Alexander Hamilton,
My name is Alexander Hamilton.
And there’s a million things I haven’t done,
But just you wait, just you wait...

[ELIZA]
When he was ten his father split, full of it, debt-ridden,
Two years later, see Alex and his mother bed-ridden,
Half-dead, sittin' in their own sick, the scent thick,

[COMPANY]
And Alex got better but his mother went quick.

[WASHINGTON]
Moved in with a cousin, the cousin committed suicide,
Left him with nothin’ but ruined pride, something new inside,
A voice saying,

[WASHINGTON & COMPANY]
Alex, you gotta fend for yourself!

[WASHINGTON]
He started retreatin’ and readin’ every treatise on the shelf!

[BURR & ENSEMBLE] [ OVERLAPPING]
There would've been nothin' left to do,
For someone less astute.
He would've been dead or destitute,
Without a cent of restitution,
He started workin', clerkin' for his late mother's landlord!
Tradin' sugarcane and rum and all the things he can't afford!
Scammin' for every book he can get his hands on,
Plannin' for the future see him now, as he stands on
The bow of a ship,
Headin’ for a new land!
In New York you can be a new man!

[COMPANY]
Cause in-

[ENSEMBLE] & [HAMILTON]
New York you can be a new man! (Just you wait!)
In New York you can be a new man! (Just you wait!)
In New York you can be a new man! (Just you wait!)

[ENSEMBLE]
In New York.... (New York...)

[HAMILTON]
Just you waaait!!

[ENSEMBLE]
Alexander Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton)
We are waiting in the wings for you (Waiting in the wings for you)
 could never back down, you never learned to take your
Tiiiiiimme!! Ohhh!
Alexander Hamilton! (Alexander Hamilton)
When America sings for you,
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the saaaame, ooooh!!

[BURR] & [ENSEMBLE]
Ship is in the harbor now, see if you can spot him, (Just you wait)
Another immigrant, comin' up from the bottom! (Just you wait)
His enemies destroyed his rep,
America forgot him-

[LAFAYETTE/JEFFERSON & MULLIGAN/MADISON]
We, fought with him.

[LAURENS/PHILIP]
Me? I died for him.

[WASHINGTON]
Me? I trusted him.

[ANGELICA, ELIZA, & PEGGY/MARIA]
Me? I loved him.

[BURR]
And me? I'm the damn fool that shot him. (shot him, shot him)

[ENSEMBLE]
There's a million things I haven't done,
But just you waaaaaait....!

[BURR]
“What's your name, man?”

[HAMILTON + ENSEMBLE]
Alexander Hamilton!

Trivia

  • This song was performed at the 2016 Grammys live from the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City. The performance was broadcast via satellite to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the main ceremony was being held. Hamilton won a Grammy later the same night for Best Musical Theater Album.
  • This is the first song that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote for the show.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda performed this song at The White House Poetry Jam on May 12, 2009.
  • The cast of Hamilton performed "Alexander Hamilton" and "My Shot" at the White House on March 14, 2016.
  • The first line of the musical:
 
"How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman
"
— Aaron Burr

Is based on one of John Adams's essays criticizing his fellow Founding Fathers. The specific line is "that bastard brat off a Scottish peddler".

  • Hamilton is called a "son of a whore" because his mother, Rachel Faucette Buck, had him illegitimately with his father, James A. Hamilton. Despite this, she was not a prostitute, and was thus wronged falsely by her legitimate husband when in suing her for divorce he accused her of "whoring with everyone".
  • He is called the "son of a Scotsman" as his father was the fourth son a Scottish laird.
  • Second stanza, first line:

"The ten-dollar founding father without a father" (- John Laurens)

Refers to Alexander Hamilton's picture on the ten united states dollar bill. In 2015, President Barack Obama had decided to redesign the ten dollar bill, and put the face of an American woman on it. However, the global popularity of the musical Hamilton, made the US Treasury reconsider their decision. Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who was the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 as well as a fan of the Hamilton musical, told a New York Daily News editorial board meeting she'd "keep Hamilton where he is." Ultimately, thanks to social media, political pressure and legendary hip-hop/rap music, Hamilton stayed on the ten dollar bill. Andrew Jackson, the 7th controversial President who supported slavery and the genocide of millions of Native Americans was removed from the twenty dollar bill. Harriet Tubman, a former slaver and the first women as well as first African-American person to be in charge of a military operation which freed thousands of slaves, now has her picture on the redesigned twenty dollar bill.


Gallery

Songs in Hamilton (Broadway Production)
Act One
Alexander Hamilton
Aaron Burr, Sir
My Shot
The Story of Tonight
The Schuyler Sisters
Farmer Refuted
You'll Be Back
Right Hand Man
A Winter's Ball
Helpless
Satisfied
The Story of Tonight (Reprise)
Wait For It
Stay Alive
Ten Duel Commandments
Meet Me Inside
That Would Be Enough
Guns And Ships
History Has Its Eyes On You
Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)
What Comes Next?
Dear Theodosia
Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us
Non-Stop
Act Two
What'd I Miss
Cabinet Battle #1
Take A Break
Say No To This
The Room Where It Happens
Schuyler Defeated
Cabinet Battle #2
Washington On Your Side
One Last Time
I Know Him
The Adams Administration
We Know
Hurricane
The Reynolds Pamphlet
Burn
Blow Us All Away
Stay Alive (Reprise)
It's Quiet Uptown
The Election of 1800
Your Obedient Servant
Best of Wives and Best of Women
The World Was Wide Enough
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
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