“Schuyler Defeated” by Lin-Manuel Miranda

This song (“Schuyler Defeated”) is from the musical Hamilton, which is based on historical facts surrounding the life of Alexander Hamilton. As such, the “Schuyler” referred to in the title is one Philip Schuyler, a prominent military man who served in the American Revolutionary War and also in the US Congress. But in 1791, he lost that political seat to Aaron Burr, whom students of American history will recognize as Hamilton’s main rival. To note, Philip Schuyler was also the father-in-law of Hamilton, and by the looks of things the two of them were close friends.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Lin-Manuel Miranda's Schuyler Defeated at Lyrics.org.

So those are the four characters we are met with in this song – Hamilton, Burr, Schuyler and Philip’s daughter, Elizabeth. And according to history, it appears to be Burr’s previously-noted victory of Schuyler which served as the genesis of the beef between him and Hamilton.

Lyrics of “Schuyler Defeated”

This song is pretty simple compared to some others found on Hamilton. Schuyler seems embarrassed to have ‘lost his senate seat to a young upstart’ in Aaron Burr, but Eliza is letting him know that “sometimes, that’s how it goes”. However, Alexander is not taking the matter as nonchalantly. Instead, he basically proceeds to accuse Burr of feigning political allegiance to a certain party just to win said seat. 

Apparently, the reason Alexander is upset would also have something to do with the fact that his own political career is tied to that of Schuyler’s. And Burr goes about assuring him that reality also factored into Philip’s defeat. In other words, as stated, dislike for Alexander’s “upstate” was one of the reasons Schuyler lost.

Conclusively, changing parties, especially just to win an election, is considered taboo in the political arena. However, Burr has no qualms mentioning that he did such straight to Alexander’s face. So the general implication would be that Burr would never admit to such a thing in public. However, he is doing so to Hamilton just to further piss him off. And he also seems to infer that Alexander should just mind his own business.

Of course, we know that this story ultimately ends with Burr killing Hamilton in a duel. And all things considered, it’s easy to see how such a beef founded in politics – a profession that is very much related to power and money – can eventually lead to a deadly misunderstanding.

Lyrics for "Schuyler Defeated"

Who wrote “Schuyler Defeated”?

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the sole composer of “Schuyler Defeated”. He proceeded to work on its production with names listed below:

  • Bill Sherman
  • ?uestlove
  • Black Thought
  • Alex Lacamoire


In addition to the song’s composer, Lin-Manuel, three other artists officially appear on this song. They are:

  • Anthony Ramos
  • Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Phillipa Soo

Aaron Burr’s 1791 Victory in the U.S. Senate Election in New York

The former vice president of the United States of America, Aaron Burr studied and was trained as a lawyer before enlisting into the army during the American revolutionary war.

After the American revolutionary war, Aaron worked with the New York State Assembly. He unsuccessfully fought to abolish slavery. In 1789, after being appointed by the New York State Attorney, Aaron became very invested in politics.

He was the Commissioner of Revolutionary War Claims and played in all parts of New York City politics. He ran as a Democratic-republic candidate for the position of the Senate of New York City against the Federalist and former Senator Philip Schuyler and Egbert Benson.

The results of the election showed Aaron receiving fourteen “Yea” and 4 “Nay” in the State Senate after his opponents were completely rejected. He also received 32 “Yea” and 27 “Nay” in the state assembly against his opponents who received 27 and 24 “Yea” with corresponding 32 and 35 “Nay” respectively.

Aaron served the New York Senate for six years. He served from 1791 to 1797 after which he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1798. He ran as a presidential candidate in the 1800 presidential elections.

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