In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, “Farmer Refuted” is a song involving two main characters and sides to a discussion: Alexander Hamilton and Samuel Seabury (who wrote under the pen name A.W Farmer, hence the name of the song). Hamilton is involved in a hostile altercation with the loyalist (an Episcopal rector) who is voicing his opinions on the rebellion. This is introduced by the opening line of the song, “Hear ye, hear ye my name is Samuel Seabury” and following, “I present free thoughts on the proceedings of the continental congress” explaining to us his purpose of being there. What morally drove Seabury was the subject of the First Continental Congress for supporting a trade with Britain as part of the aftermath of actions after the Boston Tea Party.
The two held their disputes on paper through letters, pamphlets Another character is Hercules Mulligan who says the 5th line, “Oh my god tear this dude apart,” who encourages Hamilton to speak up and back towards Seabury. Hamilton responded to this by writing back to Seabury in a piece titled “A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress.” After these initial exchanges, the skirmish between the two continued to escalate. Later on, Aaron Burr makes a small appearance in the line “Alexander please” to which Hamilton responds with “Burr, I’d rather be divisive than indecisive, drop the niceties.” This line highlights the character’s desire to articulate and convey what he believes on the controversial topic, disregarding the concern of maintaining friendships and “niceties.” The final role in this song is a minor character who makes the first true appearance in the following song, “You’ll be back.” King George II is confused as to why the two are fighting and makes remarks through delivering a speech in the next song regarding the rebellion. The leeway and antecedent lines before this involve the people chanting “silence a message from the king, a message from the king, a message from the king.”
The big idea in the Socials Curriculum that this song best coincides with is disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and societies. Hamilton and Seabury are arguing over the actions of the continental congress following the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party. The disparity in this situation analyzes the contrast of opinions between Hamilton and Seabury and the imbalance of their evidence, bias and support of each side. These two men influenced what other people thought as they were both notable, authoritative and admirable characters in the scope of Hamilton as a whole.
The most important historical note of this song is the publication date of Hamilton’s second published letter The Farmer Refuted, based off of Seabury’s pen name throughout the exchange. The letter was published in February of 1775 and was a follow up of his first letter, A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress. During this time in Hamilton’s life, he was studying at the King’s college in New York where he was heavily interested and gifted in the field of writing. That year, the first shots of the revolution were fired at Lexington Green and Hamilton joined the New York Militia.
Some of the wants that can be revealed from this song through the interactions of characters is the desire to voice opinions and become involved in authority and events. Alexander Hamilton and Samuel Seabury were influencers in the varying opinions regarding how the congress was handling situations at the time. Many people other than Seabury and Hamilton were later involved in this song such as Aaron Burr, Hercules Mulligan and King George II, showing how small decisions and arguments involve the lives of many other people too. This song expresses how revolutions are heavily dependent on the contrasting ideologies and opinions. As stated earlier, the exchange of letters through the dispute caused tension between the two characters and those who supported them, and resulted in a negative relationship between Seabury and Hamilton. During the revolution, people wanted to become involved because their decisions and actions would make an impact on the large event as a whole (comparable to current day voting). Conflicts this created were cynical relationships, skirmishes and battles, tension between countries and the overall “civil war” as a whole.