Aaron Burr Essay

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AARON BURR       Although Aaron Burr, b. Newark, N.J., Feb. 6, 1756, fought in the American Revolution and became an important political figure, serving a term (1801-05) as vice-president of the United States, he is best remembered today for having killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. The son of a president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and the grandson of another (Jonathan Edwards), Burr could trace his ancestry back to the earliest Puritans. He entered Princeton at the age of 13, graduated at 16, and went on to become a Revolutionary War hero, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel at the age of 21. In July 1782 he married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of a former British…show more content…
Frustrated by Jefferson's national popularity, and dropped from the Republican ticket for 1804, Burr entered the 1804 gubernatorial race in New York. Some northern Federalists who were plotting secession called on Burr to support them, but his response was masterfully enigmatic. An old enemy, Alexander Hamilton, did everything he could to defeat Burr. Some of Hamilton's derogatory comments, personal in nature, appeared in print, and Burr, who lost the election, demanded a retraction, which Hamilton refused to make. The duel that followed at Weehawken, N.J., on July 11, 1804, resulted in Hamilton's death. Charged with murder, Burr fled to Philadelphia to escape arrest. The Conspiracy In his final eight months as vice-president, Burr's conduct was exemplary. He presided over the impeachment trial of Samuel Chase with dignity, ability, and impartiality, and delivered a farewell address that favorably impressed the Senate. But his insatiable dream of personal glory led him to undertake a western scheme that ended in his arrest and trial for treason. Precisely what Burr planned will probably never be known. Most likely he envisioned the creation of an empire stretching from the Ohio River to Mexico over which he would preside, and he intended to take whatever steps were necessary to achieve it. "The gods invite us to glory and fortune," Burr wrote to his coconspirator, Gen. James Wilkinson;
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