so, you’re joining the hamilton fandom and want to produce content? great!! scared of the unofficial etiquette in this mess? let me help.
(disclaimer: this is an UNOFFICIAL guideline. i’m aware that this fandom is a problematic mess that’s full of discourse and the only adult ones tend to be actual legal adults. don’t fuckin @ me saying that hur durr i’m wrong and should rot in hell. this is based off personal experience.)
•Most pairings are accepted. The main ones are Hamilton/Laurens, Hamilton/Burr, Hamilton/Eliza, Jefferson/Madison, Jefferson/Hamilton, Washington/Lafayette, Maria/Eliza (or any Schuyler sister rly) and Mulligan/Lafayette. These usually have the most content, but also contain the most discourse. There’s also some major minor character ships out there; Lee/Seabury, Lee/KG3, Seabury/KG3 etc. I found Eacker/Philip H smut once. This fandom is literally the reason why Rule 34 exists. If it exists, there is porn of it.
•Polyamorous ships are widely accepted. I don’t ship any personally, but a few big ones are Hamilton/Eliza/Laurens, Laurens/Hamilton/Lafayette/Mulligan, Hamilton/Jefferson/Madison, etc. Basically, a lot of people like the idea of Hamilton’s cheating being converted into a happy, consensual relationship that’s polygamous, and that’s okay. (Please note I’m not equating cheating with polyamory. Hamilton being a dirty cheater doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with poly ships if you don’t want, but to me it seems particularly common, especially with the ships containing Hamilton and Eliza.)
•And I know you want to ask; what’s not accepted? Hard question. This fandom loves its angst, so there aren’t many ships that seem untouchable. For the love of God, though, don’t write anything that’s incestuous. I’m talking father/son, sibling/sibling. Don’t make any of Hamilton’s kids end up with the characters in the show. No, Washington/Hamilton doesn’t count as incest, although I personally can’t stand it.
•BASICALLY, don’t be a dick. Also, bear in mind that James Reynolds is the Umbridge of this fandom. If you portray his relationship with Maria as anything less than abusive, there will be riots. I’ve yet to see an (educated) James Reynolds apologist.
•In terms of physical appearance, this fandom is a little wishy-washy on guidelines, unofficial or no. Tip: don’t whitewash if you’re drawing/writing them as their musical characters. Just don’t whitewash in general. This fandom seems to be okay with historical-era fanart and fanfic, which usually involves the characters looking like they did historically, but don’t romanticise them. Don’t romanticise them in general, but especially if you’re making them historical-era.
•SPEAKING OF ROMANTICISING, these characters were BAD PEOPLE. Jefferson owned slaves, Burr owned slaves, Washington owned slaves, the Schuylers owned slaves, evidence points to Hamilton owning at least one slave. Don’t let the Alexander apologists fool you; they were bad people historically. Don’t refer to them, ESPECIALLY I HISTORICAL CONTEXT, as ‘cinnamon rolls’. They were misogynists against the rights of women and minorities. Don’t forget that, no matter how much you like their characters. The Jefferson you like is portrayed by a black Jew; the Jefferson in history was a racist with a history of sexual assault and a slavery apologist.
•KEEPING THAT IN MIND, personality-wise, what we get from the musical is a little murky. Peggy is a great example of this. Fanon Peggy is very outspoken, sarcastic and a typical millenial. In the musical, she’s shy, hides behind her older sisters and very cautious. This is because of the fact that a) Peggy’s vocals are only apparent in one song through listening alone and b) historically Peggy was very similar to fanon Peggy. THIS DOESN’T MATTER. PORTRAY THEM HOWEVER YOU THINK SUITS BEST. Don’t let the musical force you to make Eliza’s main trait be ‘nice’. For all you Laurens stans out there, it’s okay to let him have interests other than art, turtles and Hamilton. Feel free to give them depth, complexities, flaws. Not only is it fucking refreshing amongst the collection of bland chatfics and high school AUs that seem to reduce each character to a single trait, it’s good for original character practice as well.
•THE SCHUYLER SISTERS get their own section. If you’re doing something historical, remember that they had other siblings. It’s generally agreed that Angelica and Eliza were closest, but Angelica and Peggy and Eliza and Peggy are shown in the musical as being close too (see Angelica dancing with Peggy and hugging her in Satisfied, and Peggy helping Eliza put away her letters and being dragged along with her in Helpless and The Schuyler Sisters). Sometimes it seems that fics reduce them to plot devices, minor characters or love interests; I won’t go all 'SJW!1!1!1’ on you but they are their own people as well, and flesh them out. (This problem is not as common in artwork, since art of them tends to focus on them either as a trio or Satisfied and Helpless companion pieces starring Angelica and Eliza.) Also, fun fact that this fandom seems to have overlooked - all three of them could play instruments.
-REVOLUTIONARY SET AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICANS. Things to remember include Madison and Hamilton being friends before Jefferson showed up, Jefferson and Lafayette being close, Mulligan historically being Hamilton’s biggest hypeman (oh, I wish I was kidding) and Laurens and Lafayette being close friends. As for Burr, he’s traditionally relegated to the strange outsider by the fandom. This is more of a personal view, but Burr started off as a member of the Revolutionary Set, and progressed into a Democratic Republican, and this fandom likes to forget that.
-THEODOSIA JR. Theodosia is never seen, only mentioned, which basically means everything about her is fanon. Literally. The only confirmed thing about her are her parents. This means Theodosia is good for inserting an audience-type character into; she’s an empty vessel, essentially, so anything you do to her involves zero fact checking. BEAR IN MIND that Theodosia is usually shipped with Philip, and that some members of the fandom will have expectations of her. Ignore those people. Theodosia is a shell of an OC, so as long as you don’t murder her in childhood or something, there’s no real discourse you have to be wary of. (Apart from Philip/Theodosia discourse, which is apparently a thing? But there’s discourse in practically every ship, so by all means, ignore that too.)
•UNMENTIONED/UNSEEN CHARACTERS. I’m talking Ben Franklin, John Adams, James Monroe, Governor Clinton, them. John Adams appears to be universally hated, John Jay is often used as a filler or plot device, and the others are just used as names. Don’t bother about continuity with them.
-SOME COMMON AU IDEAS
•High School/College Modern AU. This is a big one. There are flaws in it, namely romanticising too much and relegating major characters to 'minor’ status, but it’s so widely used that it’s good to know if you’re new here.
•Modern Government/Law AU. Another big one. Not as commonly used because ugh, research and maturity, but there’s a massive pro to them - more complex themes and 'child’ characters can be added because the main lot are usually older. My personal favourite.
•Chatroom AU. What it sounds - no real fic, just usernames and text speak. Good for laughs or plain fights, but bad for complex emotion, fluff, angst, or major plot. Also, they clog up the tags of less major ships, especially on AO3.
•Soulmate AU. A variety of soulmate AUs exist, but essentially boil down to having some kind of matching mark, etc. Amazing for angst, fluff, plot and character development, but not so great for humour or multi-chapter fics.
•Domestic AUs. Exactly as they sound. Massive fluff traps, no real substance but they’re amazing if you’ve had a shitty day and need something to cheer you up. Fan favourite.
So there you go! Everything you need to know if you’re entering the Hamilton fandom, give or take a few things. Don’t bash ships, don’t romanticise them too much, and take Ron Chernow’s content with a pinch of salt (he’s known for 'not finding’ easily accessible content regarding the women of the Hamilverse). Good luck!