Chapter One: The Duel was a well-known duel in American history. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. July 11, 1804 is the exact date when the duel took place. It was presumed to have taken place in Weehawken, New Jersey; when in actuality, the duel really took place on a ledge above the water near Weehawken. This isolated spot was foolproof for illegal acts like this. Hamilton ends up dying because of Burr. Burr shot him from a distance. The bullet hit a rib and then ricocheted off into his spine mortally wounding Hamilton. Hamilton was the one that chose the position and the weapons for the duel, but the public thought that Burr killed him in cold blood. The public also started to call Burr the new Benedict Arnold. (Benedict Arnold was considered a traitor.) Burr was never harmed in the whole incident. Because everyone thought Burr was the initiator, he had to leave the city and this was the decline of his political power. Both of these men’s reputations were failing by 1804. Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of Treasury under George Washington after the Revolutionary War. The Federalist Party was in decline and Hamilton did not hold office for approximately ten years. Burr lost the support
The duel between Hamilton and Burr transpired for countless reasons such as family backgrounds, personal careers, and political goals. In early 1804, Burr decided to run for governor of New York and lost partly due to Hamilton’s opposition and insults he had written in a newspaper that Burr decided to act. By this time, the two of them have been rivals politically for fifteen years and Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel, in order to redeem his reputation and worthiness as a political leader. On the other hand, if Hamilton refused he would be destroying his career along with his reputation. The duel took place on July 11, 1804 and is considered today as being very symbolic in the political life of the country. Hamilton and Burr met in Weehawken and they each loaded their pistols in one another’s presence. They calculated the distance, and had someone else give the command. Hamilton and Burr both fired at the same time, with Hamilton being murdered with a shot to the abdomen. Consequently, Burr was charged with murder but never arrested due
Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton share a series of correspondence revealing their distrust towards each other. Burr challenges Hamilton, “name a time and a place, face to face” (266). Hamilton answers “I don’t want to fight” (267), but accepts the challenge: “Weehawken. Dawn. Guns. Drawn” (267) when he must. The two meet “across the Hudson and dawn” to duel. Hamilton “aims his pistol at the sky” (273) but Burr strikes him “right between his ribs” (273). The action stops before Hamilton dies, and Hamilton contemplates “Burr, my first friend, my enemy, may be the last face I ever see?” (273). Hamilton is taken away and Burr is left alone, considering his actions: “He may have been the first one to die, but I’m the one who paid for it.” He shows his obvious regret when realizing “The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me”
Joseph J. Ellis, American historian and novelist has written many awards winning novels. One of his most recognized, “American Sphinx”, winner many prestigious awards such as the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 1997, and the Ambassador Book Award for Biography in 1998. His Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation”, talks about the founding fathers’ interactions with each other in the decades that followed the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Since dueling was illegal, all efforts were made so that everybody could deny knowledge of the actual event. Hamilton picked the weapons, as he was the one being challenged. Hamilton knew the pistols had a hair-trigger but it is unlikely that he told Burr. Hamilton also chose his position, and he selected the north-facing side, with the sun in his eyes. He practiced his aim a bit before starting. Hamilton’s purpose is still the subject of debate since Hamilton claimed that he intended for his first shot to go astray.
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis is an episodic recount of six pivotal moments in post-revolutionary America’s history. The book follows Abigail Adams, John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington through these events. The author seeks to show not only the outcomes that occurred in them, but to give in detail deeper thought about the thinking and actions that lead to those outcomes.
The book Founding Brothers - The Revolutionary Generation consists six stories, each of them focuses on a significant creative achievement or failure of seven important men of the early United States. They are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Aaron Burr. Joseph Ellis has depicted these founding brothers – or founding fathers - in their efforts to lay the republic’s foundation of the most liberal nation – states in the history of Western Civilization.
The preface in "Founding Brothers" shows a theme of History throughout. Knowing that this book is a history novel this theme stands evident. The preface shows how the book will take on the history of the American Revolution and shortly afterwards. It also shows the two fundamental party's of United States Government, the Federalists and Republicans. The author deems this point in American history the most important stating, "... They were actors in a historical drama written by the gods." (Ellis 3). In the novel the author, Joseph J. Ellis uses eight historical figures and their involvement with the early American government.
The chapters are titled "The Generation", "The Duel", "The Dinner", "The Silence", "The Farewell", "The Collaborators" and "The Friendship". In "The Duel", the story of the legendary duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr is related in its entirety. It was by far the most prominent deadly standoff between two men in history. Ellis relates the background and brief biographies of the two men involved in the duel. He also reveals the context for the duel, a culmination of political and personal jabs at Burrs character by Hamilton. In fact these jabs held a good deal of truth, and finally resulted in Burr challenging Hamilton. Both Hamilton and Burr went to the plains in Weehawken to conduct the duel in defense of their honor and characters. Historically, Hamilton is seen as a martyr in the duel and Burr seen as a treacherous murderer. This Hamiltonian viewpoint is dominant among historians because it is widely believed that Hamilton went into the duel not intending to fire a shot and that Burr fired the first shot. Ellis believes this version of the story to be wrong. He believes that Hamilton honored his bargain of not firing on Burr, wasting his first shot by firing it into the trees. Burr, thinking that Hamilton fired at him, shot and killed Hamilton with his shot.
Ellis’ novel seeks to find the truth in the moments of history. In the first chapter, the Hamilton and Burr duel is introduced. This is considered one of the most famous duels in American history. The author states that the story is presented with “all available and indisputable evidence” (Ellis 36). Through out the retelling of this same tale, many versions have arisen. All affected by bias in favor for the dueling sides of Burr or Hamilton. The author wishes to layout the facts and presents the most accurate version of the story possible. Ellis delves into detail about all the possible scenarios of the gentlemen’s duel. He explains the most realistic version accounting for who fired, if they both fired shots, and whether or not they were aiming. The truth is explained here and doesn’t adhere to the Hamiltonian or Burr version. As stated in the book, “The Hamiltonian story required a distortion in the
Founding Brothers The Revolutionary Generation , written and narrated by Joseph J. Ellis, is separated into six chapters and a preface. The six chapters are crucial events in American history, mostly the time surrounding the 1787 Constitutional Convention, which are described using many techniques, such as, quotes and dates. While each section contains one point, as a whole they can be understood to work together. The main purpose of Ellis’ writing was to inform readers of the early stages of government and how it was discussed. Founding Brothers focuses on ideals of the early revolutionary generation leaders and how conflicting their political views were. Ellis describes the personalities of Hamilton, Burr, Adams, Washington, Madison, and Jefferson with great awareness and detail. The results of these influential individuals have molded our country, and their acts of integrity will live on past America’s existence.
The most famous duel in the history of the United States is highlighted and explored in the first chapter of Ellis’ Founding Brothers. Ellis divulges his ongoing search for the hard cold facts and uncovers one of the clearest pictures and analyzations of what happened before, during and after the duel, through his analysis of various versions of the story. On a July morning, on a cliff near the
The founding fathers, or as the book calls them the founding brothers, are an assorted group of men from wildly different backgrounds. In political terms, they were divided. Yet, they came to together to help shape this country into the place it is today. Now on their journey towards the making of this country they did encounter some trouble. They encountered heated debates among themselves though for getting through these debates they show just why they deserve to be called, founding brothers.
The duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton started in 1791, during a senate race. Aaron Burr defeated Philip Schuyler who was Hamilton’s father-in-law to senate seat. Schuyler being a Federalist would