Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events

“In New York you can be a new man”


The idea that you could reinvent yourself in the New World prompted many immigrants to leave places where they may not have been able to realize their full potential. This built a society in America that valued merit and hard work, and emerging ideas like the one by Thomas Payne that citizens could have power over themselves just provided more incentive for people from humble beginnings to go to the land of hope and promise: New York.

Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies

“In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

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 moving to New York and working hard to become a scholar and respectable gentleman, Hamilton was able to become a founding father, a feat that gained him considerable power and status. The difference between then and the life he led before he came to America show that even though America values merit over heritage, Hamilton wouldn’t have achieved nearly as much from the Caribbean.

Collective identity is constructed and can change over time

“His enemies destroyed his rep America forgot him”


Hamilton had done a lot to contribute to the winning of the American Revolution and achieving independence for America, yet his enemies were able to “destroy his rep” and America collectively forgot the impact that he had on the war as a founding father. This showed how Hamilton’s identity faded and the identity of America as a whole changed and overlooked the significance he held.

The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change

“Another immigrant comin’ up from the bottom”


As an immigrant, Hamilton was able to make a place for himself in society and make significant political and social changes. In America, more opportunities were available to him and he could make a difference with the education he’d been able to receive.