In 2001 David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning “John Adams” and the HBO mini-series based on the book brought a lot of renewed interest in one of the great somewhat forgotten Founding Fathers. Certainly Adams had never received the attention of a Washington or Jefferson.
Over a decade ago Ron Chernow’s biography of another Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton made the best seller list, that book inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda and in the past couple years “Hamilton-An American Musical” has been all the rage. Chernow and Miranda both probably saved Hamilton from being removed from the $10 and the interest in the man who is probably the greatest presidential cabinet member is at an all time high.
My question is- who will the next figure in American history to get the Adams- Hamilton treatment? President Donald Trump has been compared to Andrew Jackson but I don’t see that happening. Jackson’s star seems to be fading somewhat, he is scheduled to be taken off the $20 and in a recent C-SPAN historical poll he continues to slide down the rankings of presidents. Frederick Douglass has been getting some publicity of late. Are there any new biographies of Douglass in the works? Who else could be a possibility? James Monroe to me seems too dull. Someone I’d like to see get this kind of attention is our 11th POTUS James Polk who I’ve always thought of as our most under-appreciated great president. Going back to the Revolutionary War era, how about Thomas Paine? One person I would bet against is Aaron Burr. Someone in the next few years will be the next “Hamilton” who will it be?