Hamilton's missing 'Cabinet Battle #3' addresses the slavery issue the show glossed over
Devon Pasternak/YouTube

"The issue on the table..."

Two of Hamilton's most beloved numbers are the Cabinet Battles between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. In Cabinet Battle #1, the issue on the table was Hamilton's national financial plan. In Cabinet Battle #2, the issue was whether to provide France assistance in their revolutionary war.

But there was a third rap battle written for the show, which was cut due to time and because it didn't actually move the plot along. The issue on the table for Cabinet Battle #3? Slavery.


One of the few criticisms of the Hamilton musical is that it goes light on the issue of slavery—criticism that creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and others in the original cast say they welcome and hope people talk about more.

Squeezing a founding father's life and a huge chapter in American history into a 2.5 hour stage production with adequate character development, plot movement, musical flow, etc. is a herculean task, and Miranda has said he wrestled mightily with what to keep and what to cut. Slavery is obviously a huge issue, but since none of the founding fathers in the show actually did anything to end it, the light treatment makes sense from a plotline perspective.

From a historical perspective, however, the omission is glaring. Much can be said about how the men who founded the United States thought about and engaged with the institution of slavery—and how their beliefs and actions were often at odds with one another.

Jefferson called the slave trade an "assemblage of horrors," and slavery itself a "moral depravity" and a "hideous blot," yet he kept more than 600 men, women, and children enslaved in his lifetime and fathered six children with one of them.

Washington became increasingly anti-slavery in his later years and was the only slaveholding founding father to free his slaves—but he only did so in his will. (He also had false teeth that may have been made up of the teeth of enslaved people.)

Madison argued that slavery was incompatible with the values of the Revolution, but he himself enslaved people his entire life, even selling people for a profit.

Hamilton himself, though publicly against slavery, did nothing of consequence to change it.

All of these hypocrisies and contradictions are highlighted as these men debate the issue in Cabinet Battle #3. It's too bad it didn't make it into the final cut of the show, but it can be found on the Hamilton Mix Tape album. And someone made a nice animatic video for it, making it a bit clearer who is speaking (since the recording has Miranda rapping all the parts):

Cabinet Battle #3 (Animatic) www.youtube.com

And there you have it. "Let's hope the next generation thinks of something better."

As much as many of us would love to see the slavery problem tackled more directly in Hamilton, the truth is that at that time and in that place and with those men, slavery wasn't going anywhere. It was wrong and they knew it, but they benefited from it. It was a sin and they knew it, but like Hamilton with Mariah Reynolds, they didn't say no to it. Instead, they chose to pass the ticking time bomb to their descendents.

Miranda explained Hamilton's slavery complicity in an NPR interview last week. "Hamilton—although he voiced anti-slavery beliefs—remained complicit in the system. And other than calling out Jefferson on his hypocrisy with regards to slavery in Act 2, doesn't really say much else over the course of Act 2. And I think that's actually pretty honest. ... He didn't really do much about it after that."

"None of them did. None of them did enough," Miranda added. "And we say that, too, in the final moments of the song. So that hits differently now because we're having a conversation, we're having a real reckoning of how do you uproot an original sin."

Here's another video of the song with the lyrics and names to make it easier to follow:

The Hamilton Mixtape - Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo) Music Lyrics www.youtube.com

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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