Aaron Burr, Jr., 3rd Vice President of the USA

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Aaron Burr, Jr., 3rd Vice President of the USA

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Death: Died in Staten Island, Richmond County, New York State, USA
Cause of death: Age
Place of Burial: Trinity Churchyard, New York, New York County, New York State, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Aaron Burr and Esther Burr
Husband of Theodosia Stillwell Burr
Ex-husband of Eliza Jumel
Father of Theodosia Bartow Alston; Sally Reeve Burr and Four TB Burr
Brother of Jane Burr; Sarah Reeve and (No Name)
Half brother of Aaron Burr

Occupation: 3rd United States Vice President under Thomas Jefferson, Att Gnl NY, Senator, Vice President of the U.S., Vice President of the United States, 2nd vice president of US, military, politician
Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Aaron Burr, Jr., 3rd Vice President of the USA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Burr

Aaron Burr, Jr. served as the third Vice President of the United States under President Thomas Jefferson (1801–1805) , and was the first vice president to never serve as president. He fought in the Revolutionary War, was an important political figure in the nation's early history, one of the founders of the Democratic-Republican Party and spent much of his career after politics engaging in a number of controversial adventures, including killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

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[following downloaded 2009 from Wikipedia]

Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician, Revolutionary War participant, and adventurer. He served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under Thomas Jefferson.

A formative member of the Democratic-Republican Party with a political base in NY, Burr served in the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1801), as New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), United States Senator (1791–1797), and for one term as vice president under Jefferson. A candidate for President in 1800, Burr tied Jefferson with 73 electoral votes, making him eligible for one of the Nation's two highest offices and sending the election into the U.S. House of Representatives. After 36 ballots, Jefferson was elected President and Burr elected Vice President. As Vice President, Burr was president of the Senate, and in this role presided over the impeachment trial of Samuel Chase.

During an unsuccessful campaign for governor of New York in 1804, Burr was often referred to in published articles written by Alexander Hamilton, a long-time political rival and son-in-law of Philip Schuyler, the first U.S. senator from New York, whom Burr defeated in Schuyler's bid for re-election in 1791. Taking umbrage at remarks made by Hamilton at a dinner party and Hamilton's subsequent failure to account for the remarks, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel on July 11, 1804, at the Heights of Weehawken in New Jersey, in which he mortally wounded Hamilton. Easily the most famous duel in U.S. history, it had immense political ramifications. Burr was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey (though these charges were either later dismissed or resulted in acquittal), and the harsh criticism and animosity directed towards him brought about an end to his political career in the East, though he remained a popular figure in the West and South. Further, Hamilton's untimely death would fatally weaken the remnants of the Federalist Party.

After Burr left the vice presidency at the end of his term in 1805, he journeyed into what was then the West, particularly the Ohio River Valley and the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Burr was preparing to lead a filibuster into Spanish possessions in Mexico in case of war with Spain, which would have been of interesting legality in light of the Neutrality Act of 1794. Due to the rumors and the sullying of Burr's name by means of claims as far-fetched as Burr's desire to secede from the United States and form his own monarchy in the western half of North America, Burr was arrested in 1807 and brought to trial on charges of treason, for which he was acquitted.[1] After several years in self-imposed exile in Europe, Burr returned to practicing law in New York City and lived a largely reclusive existence until his death.

Biography

Early life

Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, to the Rev. Aaron Burr, Sr., who was a Presbyterian minister and the second president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; his mother, Esther Edwards, was the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, the famous Calvinist theologian. The Burrs also had a daughter, Sarah, who married Tapping Reeve. Aaron and his sister were of English ancestry.

In 1772, he received his A.B. at Princeton University, but changed his career path two years later and began the study of law with Reeve at Litchfield, Connecticut. His studies were put on hold while he served during the Revolutionary War, under Generals Benedict Arnold, George Washington (for two weeks), and Israel Putnam.

Military service

During the Revolutionary War, Burr took part in General Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec, an arduous trek of over 300 miles through the wilderness of Maine. Upon arriving before the city of Quebec, Burr was sent up the Saint Lawrence River to make contact with General Richard Montgomery, who had taken Montreal, and escorted him to Quebec. Montgomery promoted Burr to captain and made him an aide-de-camp. Although Montgomery was killed while attempting to capture the city of Quebec during a fierce snow storm on December 31, 1775, Burr distinguished himself with brave actions against the British.

Burr's courage made him a national hero and earned him a place on Washington's staff in Manhattan, but he quit after two weeks because he wanted to return to the battlefield. Never hesitant to voice his opinions, Burr may have set Washington against him; however, rumors that Washington then distrusted Burr have never been substantiated.

General Israel Putnam took Burr under his wing; by his vigilance in the retreat from lower Manhattan to Harlem, Burr saved an entire brigade (including Alexander Hamilton, who was one of its officers) from capture. In a stark departure from common practice, Washington failed to commend Burr's actions in the next day's General Orders (the fastest way to obtain a promotion in rank). Although Burr was already a nationally known hero, he never received a commendation. According to Burr's stepbrother Matthew Ogden, Burr was infuriated by the incident, which may have led to the eventual estrangement between him and Washington.

On becoming a lieutenant colonel in July 1777, Burr assumed virtual leadership of Malcolm's Additional Continental Regiment. There were approximately 300 men under Colonel William Malcolm command. The regiment successfully fought off continuous nighttime raids into central New Jersey by English troops sailing over from Manhattan, crushing those forces. During the harsh winter encampment at Valley Forge, Burr was put in charge of a small contingent guarding the "Gulph", an isolated pass commanding the approach to the camp, and necessarily the first point that would be attacked. Burr enforced discipline there, successfully defeating a mutiny by some of the troops.

On June 28, 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, his regiment was decimated by British artillery, and in the day's terrible heat, Burr suffered heat stroke from which he would never quite recover. In January 1779, Burr was assigned to the command of the lines of Westchester County, a region between the British post at Kingsbridge and that of the U.S. about 15 miles (24 km) to the north. In this district there was much turbulence and plundering by the lawless elements of both Whigs and Tories, and by bands of ill-disciplined soldiers from both armies. Burr established a thorough patrol system, rigorously enforced martial law, and quickly restored order.

He resigned from the Continental Army in March 1779 due to bad health and renewed his study of law. Though technically no longer in the service, he remained active in the war: he was assigned by General Washington to perform occasional intelligence missions for Continental generals such as Arthur St. Clair, and on July 5, 1779, he rallied a group of Yale students at New Haven along with Capt. James Hillhouse and the Second Connecticut Governors Foot Guard in a skirmish with the British at the West River. The British advance was repulsed, having to enter New Haven from Hamden.

Despite these activities, Burr was able to finish his studies and was admitted to the bar at Albany in 1782. He began to practice in New York City after the British evacuated the city the following year. He lived in Richmond Hill, Manhattan, an area just outside of Greenwich Village.

Marriage

In 1782, Aaron Burr married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of James Marcus Prevost (see The Hermitage), a British army officer who had died in the West Indies during the Revolutionary War. They moved to New York City, where Burr's reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer was well known. They had a daughter who survived birth, named Theodosia, after her mother. Burr was one of the first Feminists, and raised his daughter in the classics, horsemanship and music. The marriage lasted until the elder Theodosia's death from stomach cancer twelve years later. Born in 1783, his daughter Theodosia became widely known for her education and accomplishments. She married Joseph Alston of South Carolina in 1801, and bore a son who died of fever at ten years of age. She died either due to piracy or in a shipwreck off the Carolinas in the winter of 1812 or early 1813.

In 1833, at age 77, Burr married again, this time to Eliza Bowen Jumel, the extremely wealthy widow of Stephen Jumel. When she realized her fortune was dwindling from her husband's land speculation, they separated after only four months. The divorce between Burr and Jumel was finalized on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr's death.

Legal and early political career

Burr served in the New York State Assembly from 1784 to 1785, but became seriously involved in politics in 1789, when George Clinton appointed him New York State Attorney General. He was commissioner of Revolutionary War claims in 1791, and that same year was elected to the United States Senate over the incumbent, General Philip Schuyler, and served there until 1797.

While Burr and Jefferson served during the Washington administration, the Federal Government was resident in Philadelphia. They both roomed for a time at the boarding house of a Mrs. Payne. Her daughter Dolley, an attractive young widow, was introduced by Burr to James Madison, whom she subsequently married.

Although Hamilton and Burr had long been on good personal terms, often dining with one another, Burr's defeat of General Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, probably drove the first major wedge into their friendship. Nevertheless, their relationship took a decade to reach a status of enmity.

As a U.S. senator, Burr was not a favorite in President George Washington's eyes. He sought to write an official Revolutionary history, but Washington blocked his access to the archives, possibly because the former colonel had been a noted critic of his leadership, and possibly because he regarded Burr as a schemer. Washington also passed over Burr for the ministry to France. After being appointed commanding general of U.S. forces by President John Adams in 1798, Washington turned down Burr's application for a brigadier general's commission during the Quasi-War with France. Adams wrote, "By all that I have known and heard, Colonel Burr is a brave and able officer, but the question is whether he has not equal talents at intrigue." Hamilton, who by then despised Burr, still had Washington's ear at this time. Burr is said to have despised Washington "as a man of no talents and one who could not spell a sentence of common English." However, Washington's wartime strategies may have colored Burr's opinion of the General.

Bored with the inactivity of the new U.S. Senate, Burr ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly, serving from 1798 through 1801. During John Adams' term as President, national parties became clearly defined. Burr loosely associated himself with the Democratic-Republicans, though he had moderate Federalist allies, such as Sen. Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey. Burr quickly became a key player in New York politics, more powerful in time than Hamilton, largely because of the Tammany Society, later to become the infamous Tammany Hall, which Burr converted from a social club into a political machine to help Jefferson reach the presidency. In 1799, Burr founded the Bank of the Manhattan Company, which in later years evolved into the Chase Manhattan Bank and later JPMorgan Chase.

In 1800, New York presidential electors were to be chosen by the state legislature as they had been in 1796 (for John Adams). The state assembly was controlled by the Federalists going into the April 1800 legislative elections. In the city of New York, assembly members were to be selected on an at-large basis. Burr and Hamilton were the key campaigners for their respective parties. Burr's Republican slate of assemblymen for New York City was elected, gaining control of the legislature and in due course giving New York's electoral votes to Jefferson and helping to win the 1800 presidential election for him. This drove another wedge between Hamilton and Burr. Burr became Vice President during Jefferson's first term (1801–1805).

During the French Revolution, French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, in need of sanctuary to escape the Terror, stayed in Burr's home in New York City, but also spent much time at Hamilton's house. When Burr, after the Hamilton duel and treason trial, traveled Europe in an attempt to recoup his fortunes, Talleyrand refused him entrance into France. Talleyrand was an ardent admirer of Alexander Hamilton and had even once written: "I consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton, the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton. He had divined Europe."

Vice Presidency

Because of his influence in New York City and the New York legislature, Burr was asked by Jefferson and Madison to help the Jeffersonians in the election of 1800. Burr sponsored a bill through the New York Assembly that established a water utility company that also allowed the Democratic-Republicans to create a bank for Jefferson's campaign. Another crucial move was Burr's success in getting his slate of New York City and nearby Electors to win election, thus defeating the Federalist slate, which was chosen and backed by Alexander Hamilton. This event drove a further wedge between the former friends.

Burr is known as the father of modern political campaigning. He enlisted the help of members of Tammany Hall, a social club, and won the election. He was then placed on the Democratic-Republican presidential ticket in the 1800 election with Jefferson. At the time, state legislatures chose the members of the U.S. Electoral College, and New York was crucial to Jefferson. Though Jefferson did win New York, he and Burr tied for the presidency with 73 electoral votes each.

It was well understood that the party intended that Jefferson should be president and Burr vice president, but the responsibility for the final choice belonged to the House of Representatives. The attempts of a powerful faction among the Federalists to secure the election of Burr failed, partly due to opposition by Alexander Hamilton and partly due to Burr himself, who did little to obtain votes in his own favor. He wrote to Jefferson underscoring his promise to be vice president, and again during the voting stalemate in the Congress wrote again that he would give it up entirely if Jefferson so demanded. Ultimately, the election devolved to the point where it took 36 ballots before James A. Bayard, a Delaware Federalist, submitted a blank vote. Federalist abstentions in the Vermont and Maryland delegations led to Jefferson's election as President, and Burr’s moderate Federalist supporters conceded his defeat.

Upon confirmation of Jefferson’s election, Burr became Vice President of the United States, but despite his letters and his shunning of any political activity during the balloting (he never left Albany) he lost Jefferson's trust after that, and was effectively shut out of party matters. Some historians conjecture that the reason for this was Burr's casual regard for politics, and that he didn't act aggressively enough during the election tie. Jefferson was tight-lipped in private about Burr, so his reasons are still not entirely clear. However, Burr's even-handed fairness and his judicial manner as President of the Senate were praised even by some of his enemies, and he fostered some time-honored traditions in regard to that office. Historian Forrest MacDonald has credited Burr's judicial manner in presiding over the impeachment trial of Justice Samuel Chase with helping to preserve the principle of judicial independence that was established by Marbury v. Madison in 1803. It was written by one Senator that Burr had conducted the proceedings with the "impartiality of an angel and the rigor of a devil."

Burr's farewell in March 1805 moved some of his harshest critics in the Senate to tears. However, except for short quotes and descriptions of the address, which defended America's system of government, it was never recorded in full.

When it became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, the Vice President ran for the governorship of New York instead. Burr lost the election, and blamed his loss on a personal smear campaign believed to have been orchestrated by his own party rivals, including New York governor George Clinton. Hamilton also opposed Burr, due to his belief that Burr had entertained a Federalist secession movement in New York. But Hamilton, Burr felt, went too far at one political dinner, where he said that he could express a "still more despicable opinion" of Burr. After a letter regarding the incident written by Dr. Charles D. Cooper was published in the Albany Register, Burr sought an explanation from Hamilton.

Instead Hamilton responded casually by educating Burr on the many possible meanings of despicable, enraging and embarrassing Burr. Burr then demanded that Hamilton recant or deny anything he might have said regarding Burr’s character over the past 15 years, but Hamilton, having already been disgraced by the Maria Reynolds scandal and ever mindful of his own reputation and honor, did not. Burr responded by challenging Hamilton to personal combat under the code duello, the formalized rules of dueling. Hamilton's eldest son, Philip, had died in a duel in 1801.

Although still quite common, dueling had been outlawed in New York, and the punishment for conviction of dueling was death. It was illegal in New Jersey as well, but the consequences were less severe. On July 11, 1804, the enemies met outside of Weehawken, New Jersey, and following the code duello Hamilton was mortally wounded. There has been some controversy as to the claims of Burr's and Hamilton's seconds. While one party indicates Hamilton fired only as a consequence of the shock of being struck by Burr's shot—the implication being that Hamilton's shot was unintentional—the other claims that Hamilton in fact fired first. A scientific study proved that Hamilton fired first, although it is still unclear whether he shot by accident or not. The two sides do, however, agree that there was a 3 to 4 second interval between the first and the second shot, raising difficult questions in evaluating the two camps' versions. In any event, Hamilton's shot missed Burr, but Burr's shot was fatal. The bullet entered Hamilton's abdomen above his right hip, piercing Hamilton's liver and spine. Hamilton was evacuated to Manhattan where he lay in the house of a friend, receiving visitors until he died the following day. Burr was later charged with multiple crimes, including murder, in New York and New Jersey, but was never tried in either jurisdiction. He fled to South Carolina, where his daughter lived with her family, but soon returned to Philadelphia and then on to Washington to complete his term as Vice President.

Conspiracy and trial

Burr had leased 40,000 acres (160 km²) of land in the Texas part of Mexico, in the "Bastrop" lands from the Spanish government. His "conspiracy," he always avowed, was that if he settled there with a large group of (armed) "farmers" and war broke out, he would have an army with which to fight and claim land for himself, thus recouping his fortunes. However, that war in Texas didn't occur until 1836, the year of Burr's death.

In 1805, General James Wilkinson was chosen by Jefferson to be the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army at New Orleans and Governor of the Louisiana Territory It was revealed years later that at the time he was a spy, secretly in the pay of the Kingdom of Spain. Wilkinson had his own reasons for aiding the Burr Conspiracy. As Territorial Governor, he could have seized power for himself, as he had attempted in earlier plots in Kentucky. Ignorant of the General's treason, Burr enlisted Wilkinson and others to his plan in a reconnaissance mission to the West in April 1805.

Another member of the Burr conspiracy was the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Harman Blennerhassett. After marrying his niece, Blennerhassett had been forced out of Ireland. He came to live as a quasi-feudal lord, owning an island now bearing his name in the Ohio River. Highly educated, Blennerhassett maintained a scientific laboratory and an impressive villa on the island. It was there that he met Burr and agreed to help finance the ambitions of Burr's group.

Like many of his countrymen, including Jefferson, Burr anticipated a war with Spain-a distinct possibility. In case of a war declaration, Andrew Jackson stood ready to help Colonel Burr, who had already purchased the land shares in Texas. Burr's expedition of perhaps eighty men carried modest arms for hunting, and no war materiel ever came to light, even when Blennerhassett Island was seized by Virginia militia (the island was just off shore from modern Parkersburg, West Virginia).

After a near-incident with Spanish forces at Natchitoches, Wilkinson decided he could best serve his conflicting interests by betraying Burr's plans to President Jefferson andalso to his Spanish paymasters. Jefferson's passivity throughout most of 1806 remains baffling to this day, but he finally issued an order for Burr's arrest, declaring him a traitor even before an indictment. Burr read this in a newspaper in the Territory of Orleans on January 10, 1807. Jefferson's warrant put Federal agents on his trail. He turned himself in to the Federal authorities twice. Two judges found his actions legal and released him. But Jefferson's warrant followed Burr, who then fled for Spanish Florida; he was intercepted in the vicinity of the Missouri and Alabama Territories on February 19, 1807 and confined to Fort Stoddert after being arrested on charges of treason.

Burr was treated well at Fort Stoddert. For example, in the evening of February 20, 1807, Burr appeared at the dinner table, and was introduced to Frances Gaines, the wife of the commandant Edmund P. Gaines and the daughter of Judge Harry Toulmin, the man responsible for the legal arrest of Burr. Frances and Burr played chess that evening and continued this entertainment during his confinement at the fort.

Burr's secret correspondence with Anthony Merry and the Marquis of Casa Yrujo, the British and Spanish ministers at Washington, was eventually revealed. It had been, it would seem, to secure money and to conceal his real designs, which were probably to help Mexico to overthrow Spanish power in the Southwest, and perhaps to found a dynasty in what would have become former Mexican territory. This seems to have been a misdemeanor, based on the Neutrality Act of 1794 passed to block filibuster expeditions like those questionable enterprises of George Rogers Clark and William Blount. But Jefferson sought the highest charges against Burr. It seems that both Jefferson and Burr gravely misjudged Wilkinson's character - Jefferson had personally put him in charge of the Army at New Orleans.

In 1807, on a charge of treason, Burr was brought to trial before the United States Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia. His defense lawyers were John Wickham and Luther Martin. Burr was arraigned four times for treason before a grand jury indicted him. This is surprising, because the only physical evidence presented to the Grand Jury was Wilkinson's so-called letter from Burr, proposing stealing land in the Louisiana Purchase. During the Jury's examination it was discovered that the letter was in Wilkinson's own handwriting - a "copy," he said, because he had "lost" the original. The Grand Jury threw the letter out, and the news made a laughingstock of the General for the rest of the proceedings. The trial, presided over by Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, began on August 3.

Article 3, Section 3 of the United States Constitution requires that treason either be admitted in open court, or proved by an overt act witnessed by two people. Since no two witnesses came forward, Burr was acquitted on September 1, in spite of the full force of the Jefferson administration's political influence thrown against him. Immediately afterward, he was tried on a more appropriate misdemeanor charge, but was again acquitted.

The trial was a major test of the Constitution. It was carefully watched drama (Henry Adams gives a full account) as Thomas Jefferson wanted a conviction. He challenged the authority of the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice John Marshall - an Adams appointee who clashed with Jefferson over Adams' last-minute judicial appointments. Thomas Jefferson believed that Aaron Burr's treason was obvious, and warranted a conviction.The actual case hinged on whether Aaron Burr was present at certain events at certain times and in certain capacities. Thomas Jefferson used all of his influence to get Marshall to move to conviction, but Marshall was not swayed.

Later life

By this point all of Burr's hopes for a political comeback had been dashed, and he fled America and his creditors for Europe, where he tried to regain his fortunes. He lived abroad from 1808 to 1812, passing most of his time in England where he occupied a house on Craven Street in London. He became a good friend, even confidant, of the English Utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, even residing at Bentham's home on occasion. He also spent time in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and France. It was during this period he is known for remarking, "In the past even I was afraid of my own greatness, therefore I could not stand in front of mirrors." Ever hopeful, he solicited funding for renewing his plans for Mexico, but was rebuffed. He was ordered out of England and Napoleon Bonaparte refused to receive him – although one of his ministers held an interview concerning Burr's aims for Spanish Florida or British possessions in the Caribbean. After returning from Europe, Burr used the surname "Edwards," his mother's maiden name, for a while to avoid creditors.

Death

Burr suffered a debilitating bowel movement in 1834, which rendered him immobile. In 1836, Burr died on Staten Island in the village of Port Richmond. He is buried in Princeton Cemetery near his father and grandfather in Princeton, New Jersey.

Character

According to his detractors, Burr could be unscrupulous, insincere, devious and amoral. In fact, towards his friends and family, he was a man of firm principles, a kind man who, during his tenure in the Senate, was pleasing in his manners and generous to a fault.

He and his first wife would be called feminists today. He believed women to be intellectually equal to men, and hung a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft over his mantle. The Burrs' daughter, Theodosia, was taught dance, music, several languages and learned to shoot from horseback. Until her death at sea in 1813, she remained devoted to her father. Not only did Burr advocate education for women, upon his election to the New York State Legislature, he submitted a bill to allow women to vote.

In her Autobiography of Jane Fairfield, the wife of the struggling poet Sumner Lincoln Fairfield relates how their friend Burr saved the lives of her two children, who were left with their grandmother in New York while the parents were in Boston. The grandmother was unable to provide adequate food or heat for the children and was in fear for their very lives. She sought out Burr, as the only one that might be able and willing to help her. Burr "wept and replied, 'Though I am poor and have not a dollar, the children of such a mother shall not suffer while I have a watch.' He hastened on this errand, and quickly returned, having pawned the article for twenty dollars, which he gave to make comfortable my precious babies."[7] In his later years in New York, he practiced estate law and provided money and education for several children, earning their lifelong affection.

Although he proved irresistible to many women, few historians doubt Burr's devotion to his first wife while she lived. He was profligate in his personal finances, and gave lip service to abolitionism even though he owned one or two slaves for a time. John Quincy Adams (who was a great admirer of Jefferson) said after the former vice president's death, "Burr's life, take it all together, was such as in any country of sound morals his friends would be desirous of burying in quiet oblivion." This was his own opinion: his father, President John Adams, was an admirer and frequent defender of Burr.

Legacy

A lasting consequence of Burr's role in the election of 1800 was the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which changed the way in which vice presidents were chosen.

In public and in private, Burr's behavior, even by his political foes, was labelled as considerate and gracious. He was often commended as a great listener. Although much took place in Mr. Burr's life, he is remembered by many only for the deadly duel with Mr. Hamilton. However, his establishment of guides and rules for the first Senate impeachment trial set a high moral bar for behavior and procedures in that chamber, many of which are followed today. Finally, his silence and refusal to engage in defending himself from his political critics either in legislatures or in the press, plus the fact that most of his personal papers disappeared with his daughter's death at sea and with his biographer, Matthew Davis. This has left an air of mystery over his reputation. One must read his copious correspondence, such as it is, to gain more insight into the man.

Gore Vidal chose to write about the controversial founding father in 1973 with his historical fiction novel, Burr.

In the comic book The Flash, a 1975 backup story featuring Green Lantern stars Burr. "The Man of Destiny," written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Dick Dillin, reveals that Burr was recruited by aliens to act as a leader for an interplanetary society in chaos. (The alliance cloned Burr, sending the clone back to earth to duel with Hamilton and live out of the rest of "Burr"'s life on earth.)

A famous "Got Milk?" commercial directed by Michael Bay features a historian obsessed with the study of Burr (to the point of owning the guns and the bullet from the duel). He is called by a radio station while he has peanut butter in his mouth and asked the question of who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in order to win a large prize. The historian is out of milk and cannot manage to say the "Aaron Burr" clearly enough to be heard before his time runs out.

In the Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg Saturday Night Live digital short "Lazy Sunday," Parnell raps "You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're droppin' Hamiltons," referring to spending ten dollar bills (which have Hamilton's portrait on them).

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Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician, Revolutionary War participant, and adventurer. He served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under Thomas Jefferson, and was the first vice president to never serve as president.

A formative member of the Democratic-Republican Party with a political base in New York, Burr served in the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799[1]), as New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), United States Senator (1791–1797), and for one term as vice-president under Jefferson. A candidate for President in 1800, Burr tied Jefferson with 73 electoral votes, making him eligible for one of the country's two highest offices and sending the election into the U.S. House of Representatives. After 36 ballots, Jefferson was elected President and Burr elected vice-president. As vice-president, Burr was president of the Senate, and in this role presided over the impeachment trial of Samuel Chase.

For more see the wikipedia entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Burr

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I fought a Duel with Alexander Hamilton, and he lost!

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Aaron Burr was Vice President of the United States from 1801 to 1805 under Thomas Jefferson. Aaron Jr. is however better remembered for fighting a duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804 which resulted in Mr. Hamilton's death.

The following, copied from the Junior Editors Quiz clipped from the Kansas City Star, is attributed to Jennifer Juergens.

"Burr was born in Newark, N. J. He graduated from Princeton College in 1772 and fought with the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1779, starting as a Private and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He became a lawyer in 1782 and practiced in Albany, N. Y., and New York City. He served New York as a state legislator and was elected to the U. S Senate in 1791.

Burr ran for governor of New York in 1804, but lost to Hamilton. Burr then challenged him to a duel in which Hamilton was fatally wounded. A New Jersey grand jury returned a murder indictment against Burr and he fled south but returned later when Congress reconvened.

After his Vic-Presidency, Burr was thought to have engaged in some questionable activities--- assembling a group to invade Mexico, or scheming to detach part of the American Southwest from the United States, or both.

Burr was tried for treason in 1807 and was aquitted, but his reputation was damaged. -------------------- Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805) under President Thomas Jefferson, and was the first vice president to never serve as president. He fought in the Revolutionary War, was an important political figure in the nation's early history, and spent much of his career after politics engaging in a number of controversial adventures, including killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

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[following downloaded 2009 from Wikipedia]

Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician, Revolutionary War participant, and adventurer. He served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under Thomas Jefferson.

A formative member of the Democratic-Republican Party with a political base in NY, Burr served in the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1801), as New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), United States Senator (1791–1797), and for one term as vice president under Jefferson. A candidate for President in 1800, Burr tied Jefferson with 73 electoral votes, making him eligible for one of the Nation's two highest offices and sending the election into the U.S. House of Representatives. After 36 ballots, Jefferson was elected President and Burr elected Vice President. As Vice President, Burr was president of the Senate, and in this role presided over the impeachment trial of Samuel Chase.

During an unsuccessful campaign for governor of New York in 1804, Burr was often referred to in published articles written by Alexander Hamilton, a long-time political rival and son-in-law of Philip Schuyler, the first U.S. senator from New York, whom Burr defeated in Schuyler's bid for re-election in 1791. Taking umbrage at remarks made by Hamilton at a dinner party and Hamilton's subsequent failure to account for the remarks, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel on July 11, 1804, at the Heights of Weehawken in New Jersey, in which he mortally wounded Hamilton. Easily the most famous duel in U.S. history, it had immense political ramifications. Burr was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey (though these charges were either later dismissed or resulted in acquittal), and the harsh criticism and animosity directed towards him brought about an end to his political career in the East, though he remained a popular figure in the West and South. Further, Hamilton's untimely death would fatally weaken the remnants of the Federalist Party.

After Burr left the vice presidency at the end of his term in 1805, he journeyed into what was then the West, particularly the Ohio River Valley and the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Burr was preparing to lead a filibuster into Spanish possessions in Mexico in case of war with Spain, which would have been of interesting legality in light of the Neutrality Act of 1794. Due to the rumors and the sullying of Burr's name by means of claims as far-fetched as Burr's desire to secede from the United States and form his own monarchy in the western half of North America, Burr was arrested in 1807 and brought to trial on charges of treason, for which he was acquitted.[1] After several years in self-imposed exile in Europe, Burr returned to practicing law in New York City and lived a largely reclusive existence until his death.

Biography

Early life

Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, to the Rev. Aaron Burr, Sr., who was a Presbyterian minister and the second president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; his mother, Esther Edwards, was the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, the famous Calvinist theologian. The Burrs also had a daughter, Sarah, who married Tapping Reeve. Aaron and his sister were of English ancestry.

In 1772, he received his A.B. at Princeton University, but changed his career path two years later and began the study of law with Reeve at Litchfield, Connecticut. His studies were put on hold while he served during the Revolutionary War, under Generals Benedict Arnold, George Washington (for two weeks), and Israel Putnam.

Military service

During the Revolutionary War, Burr took part in General Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec, an arduous trek of over 300 miles through the wilderness of Maine. Upon arriving before the city of Quebec, Burr was sent up the Saint Lawrence River to make contact with General Richard Montgomery, who had taken Montreal, and escorted him to Quebec. Montgomery promoted Burr to captain and made him an aide-de-camp. Although Montgomery was killed while attempting to capture the city of Quebec during a fierce snow storm on December 31, 1775, Burr distinguished himself with brave actions against the British.

Burr's courage made him a national hero and earned him a place on Washington's staff in Manhattan, but he quit after two weeks because he wanted to return to the battlefield. Never hesitant to voice his opinions, Burr may have set Washington against him; however, rumors that Washington then distrusted Burr have never been substantiated.

General Israel Putnam took Burr under his wing; by his vigilance in the retreat from lower Manhattan to Harlem, Burr saved an entire brigade (including Alexander Hamilton, who was one of its officers) from capture. In a stark departure from common practice, Washington failed to commend Burr's actions in the next day's General Orders (the fastest way to obtain a promotion in rank). Although Burr was already a nationally known hero, he never received a commendation. According to Burr's stepbrother Matthew Ogden, Burr was infuriated by the incident, which may have led to the eventual estrangement between him and Washington.

On becoming a lieutenant colonel in July 1777, Burr assumed virtual leadership of Malcolm's Additional Continental Regiment. There were approximately 300 men under Colonel William Malcolm command. The regiment successfully fought off continuous nighttime raids into central New Jersey by English troops sailing over from Manhattan, crushing those forces. During the harsh winter encampment at Valley Forge, Burr was put in charge of a small contingent guarding the "Gulph", an isolated pass commanding the approach to the camp, and necessarily the first point that would be attacked. Burr enforced discipline there, successfully defeating a mutiny by some of the troops.

On June 28, 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, his regiment was decimated by British artillery, and in the day's terrible heat, Burr suffered heat stroke from which he would never quite recover. In January 1779, Burr was assigned to the command of the lines of Westchester County, a region between the British post at Kingsbridge and that of the U.S. about 15 miles (24 km) to the north. In this district there was much turbulence and plundering by the lawless elements of both Whigs and Tories, and by bands of ill-disciplined soldiers from both armies. Burr established a thorough patrol system, rigorously enforced martial law, and quickly restored order.

He resigned from the Continental Army in March 1779 due to bad health and renewed his study of law. Though technically no longer in the service, he remained active in the war: he was assigned by General Washington to perform occasional intelligence missions for Continental generals such as Arthur St. Clair, and on July 5, 1779, he rallied a group of Yale students at New Haven along with Capt. James Hillhouse and the Second Connecticut Governors Foot Guard in a skirmish with the British at the West River. The British advance was repulsed, having to enter New Haven from Hamden.

Despite these activities, Burr was able to finish his studies and was admitted to the bar at Albany in 1782. He began to practice in New York City after the British evacuated the city the following year. He lived in Richmond Hill, Manhattan, an area just outside of Greenwich Village.

Marriage

In 1782, Aaron Burr married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of James Marcus Prevost (see The Hermitage), a British army officer who had died in the West Indies during the Revolutionary War. They moved to New York City, where Burr's reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer was well known. They had a daughter who survived birth, named Theodosia, after her mother. Burr was one of the first Feminists, and raised his daughter in the classics, horsemanship and music. The marriage lasted until the elder Theodosia's death from stomach cancer twelve years later. Born in 1783, his daughter Theodosia became widely known for her education and accomplishments. She married Joseph Alston of South Carolina in 1801, and bore a son who died of fever at ten years of age. She died either due to piracy or in a shipwreck off the Carolinas in the winter of 1812 or early 1813.

In 1833, at age 77, Burr married again, this time to Eliza Bowen Jumel, the extremely wealthy widow of Stephen Jumel. When she realized her fortune was dwindling from her husband's land speculation, they separated after only four months. The divorce between Burr and Jumel was finalized on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr's death.

Legal and early political career

Burr served in the New York State Assembly from 1784 to 1785, but became seriously involved in politics in 1789, when George Clinton appointed him New York State Attorney General. He was commissioner of Revolutionary War claims in 1791, and that same year was elected to the United States Senate over the incumbent, General Philip Schuyler, and served there until 1797.

While Burr and Jefferson served during the Washington administration, the Federal Government was resident in Philadelphia. They both roomed for a time at the boarding house of a Mrs. Payne. Her daughter Dolley, an attractive young widow, was introduced by Burr to James Madison, whom she subsequently married.

Although Hamilton and Burr had long been on good personal terms, often dining with one another, Burr's defeat of General Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, probably drove the first major wedge into their friendship. Nevertheless, their relationship took a decade to reach a status of enmity.

As a U.S. senator, Burr was not a favorite in President George Washington's eyes. He sought to write an official Revolutionary history, but Washington blocked his access to the archives, possibly because the former colonel had been a noted critic of his leadership, and possibly because he regarded Burr as a schemer. Washington also passed over Burr for the ministry to France. After being appointed commanding general of U.S. forces by President John Adams in 1798, Washington turned down Burr's application for a brigadier general's commission during the Quasi-War with France. Adams wrote, "By all that I have known and heard, Colonel Burr is a brave and able officer, but the question is whether he has not equal talents at intrigue." Hamilton, who by then despised Burr, still had Washington's ear at this time. Burr is said to have despised Washington "as a man of no talents and one who could not spell a sentence of common English." However, Washington's wartime strategies may have colored Burr's opinion of the General.

Bored with the inactivity of the new U.S. Senate, Burr ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly, serving from 1798 through 1801. During John Adams' term as President, national parties became clearly defined. Burr loosely associated himself with the Democratic-Republicans, though he had moderate Federalist allies, such as Sen. Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey. Burr quickly became a key player in New York politics, more powerful in time than Hamilton, largely because of the Tammany Society, later to become the infamous Tammany Hall, which Burr converted from a social club into a political machine to help Jefferson reach the presidency. In 1799, Burr founded the Bank of the Manhattan Company, which in later years evolved into the Chase Manhattan Bank and later JPMorgan Chase.

In 1800, New York presidential electors were to be chosen by the state legislature as they had been in 1796 (for John Adams). The state assembly was controlled by the Federalists going into the April 1800 legislative elections. In the city of New York, assembly members were to be selected on an at-large basis. Burr and Hamilton were the key campaigners for their respective parties. Burr's Republican slate of assemblymen for New York City was elected, gaining control of the legislature and in due course giving New York's electoral votes to Jefferson and helping to win the 1800 presidential election for him. This drove another wedge between Hamilton and Burr. Burr became Vice President during Jefferson's first term (1801–1805).

During the French Revolution, French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, in need of sanctuary to escape the Terror, stayed in Burr's home in New York City, but also spent much time at Hamilton's house. When Burr, after the Hamilton duel and treason trial, traveled Europe in an attempt to recoup his fortunes, Talleyrand refused him entrance into France. Talleyrand was an ardent admirer of Alexander Hamilton and had even once written: "I consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton, the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton. He had divined Europe."

Vice Presidency

Because of his influence in New York City and the New York legislature, Burr was asked by Jefferson and Madison to help the Jeffersonians in the election of 1800. Burr sponsored a bill through the New York Assembly that established a water utility company that also allowed the Democratic-Republicans to create a bank for Jefferson's campaign. Another crucial move was Burr's success in getting his slate of New York City and nearby Electors to win election, thus defeating the Federalist slate, which was chosen and backed by Alexander Hamilton. This event drove a further wedge between the former friends.

Burr is known as the father of modern political campaigning. He enlisted the help of members of Tammany Hall, a social club, and won the election. He was then placed on the Democratic-Republican presidential ticket in the 1800 election with Jefferson. At the time, state legislatures chose the members of the U.S. Electoral College, and New York was crucial to Jefferson. Though Jefferson did win New York, he and Burr tied for the presidency with 73 electoral votes each.

It was well understood that the party intended that Jefferson should be president and Burr vice president, but the responsibility for the final choice belonged to the House of Representatives. The attempts of a powerful faction among the Federalists to secure the election of Burr failed, partly due to opposition by Alexander Hamilton and partly due to Burr himself, who did little to obtain votes in his own favor. He wrote to Jefferson underscoring his promise to be vice president, and again during the voting stalemate in the Congress wrote again that he would give it up entirely if Jefferson so demanded. Ultimately, the election devolved to the point where it took 36 ballots before James A. Bayard, a Delaware Federalist, submitted a blank vote. Federalist abstentions in the Vermont and Maryland delegations led to Jefferson's election as President, and Burr’s moderate Federalist supporters conceded his defeat.

Upon confirmation of Jefferson’s election, Burr became Vice President of the United States, but despite his letters and his shunning of any political activity during the balloting (he never left Albany) he lost Jefferson's trust after that, and was effectively shut out of party matters. Some historians conjecture that the reason for this was Burr's casual regard for politics, and that he didn't act aggressively enough during the election tie. Jefferson was tight-lipped in private about Burr, so his reasons are still not entirely clear. However, Burr's even-handed fairness and his judicial manner as President of the Senate were praised even by some of his enemies, and he fostered some time-honored traditions in regard to that office. Historian Forrest MacDonald has credited Burr's judicial manner in presiding over the impeachment trial of Justice Samuel Chase with helping to preserve the principle of judicial independence that was established by Marbury v. Madison in 1803. It was written by one Senator that Burr had conducted the proceedings with the "impartiality of an angel and the rigor of a devil."

Burr's farewell in March 1805 moved some of his harshest critics in the Senate to tears. However, except for short quotes and descriptions of the address, which defended America's system of government, it was never recorded in full.

When it became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, the Vice President ran for the governorship of New York instead. Burr lost the election, and blamed his loss on a personal smear campaign believed to have been orchestrated by his own party rivals, including New York governor George Clinton. Hamilton also opposed Burr, due to his belief that Burr had entertained a Federalist secession movement in New York. But Hamilton, Burr felt, went too far at one political dinner, where he said that he could express a "still more despicable opinion" of Burr. After a letter regarding the incident written by Dr. Charles D. Cooper was published in the Albany Register, Burr sought an explanation from Hamilton.

Instead Hamilton responded casually by educating Burr on the many possible meanings of despicable, enraging and embarrassing Burr. Burr then demanded that Hamilton recant or deny anything he might have said regarding Burr’s character over the past 15 years, but Hamilton, having already been disgraced by the Maria Reynolds scandal and ever mindful of his own reputation and honor, did not. Burr responded by challenging Hamilton to personal combat under the code duello, the formalized rules of dueling. Hamilton's eldest son, Philip, had died in a duel in 1801.

Although still quite common, dueling had been outlawed in New York, and the punishment for conviction of dueling was death. It was illegal in New Jersey as well, but the consequences were less severe. On July 11, 1804, the enemies met outside of Weehawken, New Jersey, and following the code duello Hamilton was mortally wounded. There has been some controversy as to the claims of Burr's and Hamilton's seconds. While one party indicates Hamilton fired only as a consequence of the shock of being struck by Burr's shot—the implication being that Hamilton's shot was unintentional—the other claims that Hamilton in fact fired first. A scientific study proved that Hamilton fired first, although it is still unclear whether he shot by accident or not. The two sides do, however, agree that there was a 3 to 4 second interval between the first and the second shot, raising difficult questions in evaluating the two camps' versions. In any event, Hamilton's shot missed Burr, but Burr's shot was fatal. The bullet entered Hamilton's abdomen above his right hip, piercing Hamilton's liver and spine. Hamilton was evacuated to Manhattan where he lay in the house of a friend, receiving visitors until he died the following day. Burr was later charged with multiple crimes, including murder, in New York and New Jersey, but was never tried in either jurisdiction. He fled to South Carolina, where his daughter lived with her family, but soon returned to Philadelphia and then on to Washington to complete his term as Vice President.

Conspiracy and trial

Burr had leased 40,000 acres (160 km²) of land in the Texas part of Mexico, in the "Bastrop" lands from the Spanish government. His "conspiracy," he always avowed, was that if he settled there with a large group of (armed) "farmers" and war broke out, he would have an army with which to fight and claim land for himself, thus recouping his fortunes. However, that war in Texas didn't occur until 1836, the year of Burr's death.

In 1805, General James Wilkinson was chosen by Jefferson to be the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army at New Orleans and Governor of the Louisiana Territory It was revealed years later that at the time he was a spy, secretly in the pay of the Kingdom of Spain. Wilkinson had his own reasons for aiding the Burr Conspiracy. As Territorial Governor, he could have seized power for himself, as he had attempted in earlier plots in Kentucky. Ignorant of the General's treason, Burr enlisted Wilkinson and others to his plan in a reconnaissance mission to the West in April 1805.

Another member of the Burr conspiracy was the Anglo-Irish aristocrat Harman Blennerhassett. After marrying his niece, Blennerhassett had been forced out of Ireland. He came to live as a quasi-feudal lord, owning an island now bearing his name in the Ohio River. Highly educated, Blennerhassett maintained a scientific laboratory and an impressive villa on the island. It was there that he met Burr and agreed to help finance the ambitions of Burr's group.

Like many of his countrymen, including Jefferson, Burr anticipated a war with Spain-a distinct possibility. In case of a war declaration, Andrew Jackson stood ready to help Colonel Burr, who had already purchased the land shares in Texas. Burr's expedition of perhaps eighty men carried modest arms for hunting, and no war materiel ever came to light, even when Blennerhassett Island was seized by Virginia militia (the island was just off shore from modern Parkersburg, West Virginia).

After a near-incident with Spanish forces at Natchitoches, Wilkinson decided he could best serve his conflicting interests by betraying Burr's plans to President Jefferson andalso to his Spanish paymasters. Jefferson's passivity throughout most of 1806 remains baffling to this day, but he finally issued an order for Burr's arrest, declaring him a traitor even before an indictment. Burr read this in a newspaper in the Territory of Orleans on January 10, 1807. Jefferson's warrant put Federal agents on his trail. He turned himself in to the Federal authorities twice. Two judges found his actions legal and released him. But Jefferson's warrant followed Burr, who then fled for Spanish Florida; he was intercepted in the vicinity of the Missouri and Alabama Territories on February 19, 1807 and confined to Fort Stoddert after being arrested on charges of treason.

Burr was treated well at Fort Stoddert. For example, in the evening of February 20, 1807, Burr appeared at the dinner table, and was introduced to Frances Gaines, the wife of the commandant Edmund P. Gaines and the daughter of Judge Harry Toulmin, the man responsible for the legal arrest of Burr. Frances and Burr played chess that evening and continued this entertainment during his confinement at the fort.

Burr's secret correspondence with Anthony Merry and the Marquis of Casa Yrujo, the British and Spanish ministers at Washington, was eventually revealed. It had been, it would seem, to secure money and to conceal his real designs, which were probably to help Mexico to overthrow Spanish power in the Southwest, and perhaps to found a dynasty in what would have become former Mexican territory. This seems to have been a misdemeanor, based on the Neutrality Act of 1794 passed to block filibuster expeditions like those questionable enterprises of George Rogers Clark and William Blount. But Jefferson sought the highest charges against Burr. It seems that both Jefferson and Burr gravely misjudged Wilkinson's character - Jefferson had personally put him in charge of the Army at New Orleans.

In 1807, on a charge of treason, Burr was brought to trial before the United States Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia. His defense lawyers were John Wickham and Luther Martin. Burr was arraigned four times for treason before a grand jury indicted him. This is surprising, because the only physical evidence presented to the Grand Jury was Wilkinson's so-called letter from Burr, proposing stealing land in the Louisiana Purchase. During the Jury's examination it was discovered that the letter was in Wilkinson's own handwriting - a "copy," he said, because he had "lost" the original. The Grand Jury threw the letter out, and the news made a laughingstock of the General for the rest of the proceedings. The trial, presided over by Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, began on August 3.

Article 3, Section 3 of the United States Constitution requires that treason either be admitted in open court, or proved by an overt act witnessed by two people. Since no two witnesses came forward, Burr was acquitted on September 1, in spite of the full force of the Jefferson administration's political influence thrown against him. Immediately afterward, he was tried on a more appropriate misdemeanor charge, but was again acquitted.

The trial was a major test of the Constitution. It was carefully watched drama (Henry Adams gives a full account) as Thomas Jefferson wanted a conviction. He challenged the authority of the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice John Marshall - an Adams appointee who clashed with Jefferson over Adams' last-minute judicial appointments. Thomas Jefferson believed that Aaron Burr's treason was obvious, and warranted a conviction.The actual case hinged on whether Aaron Burr was present at certain events at certain times and in certain capacities. Thomas Jefferson used all of his influence to get Marshall to move to conviction, but Marshall was not swayed.

Later life

By this point all of Burr's hopes for a political comeback had been dashed, and he fled America and his creditors for Europe, where he tried to regain his fortunes. He lived abroad from 1808 to 1812, passing most of his time in England where he occupied a house on Craven Street in London. He became a good friend, even confidant, of the English Utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, even residing at Bentham's home on occasion. He also spent time in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and France. It was during this period he is known for remarking, "In the past even I was afraid of my own greatness, therefore I could not stand in front of mirrors." Ever hopeful, he solicited funding for renewing his plans for Mexico, but was rebuffed. He was ordered out of England and Napoleon Bonaparte refused to receive him – although one of his ministers held an interview concerning Burr's aims for Spanish Florida or British possessions in the Caribbean. After returning from Europe, Burr used the surname "Edwards," his mother's maiden name, for a while to avoid creditors.

Death

Burr suffered a debilitating bowel movement in 1834, which rendered him immobile. In 1836, Burr died on Staten Island in the village of Port Richmond. He is buried in Princeton Cemetery near his father and grandfather in Princeton, New Jersey.

Character

According to his detractors, Burr could be unscrupulous, insincere, devious and amoral. In fact, towards his friends and family, he was a man of firm principles, a kind man who, during his tenure in the Senate, was pleasing in his manners and generous to a fault.

He and his first wife would be called feminists today. He believed women to be intellectually equal to men, and hung a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft over his mantle. The Burrs' daughter, Theodosia, was taught dance, music, several languages and learned to shoot from horseback. Until her death at sea in 1813, she remained devoted to her father. Not only did Burr advocate education for women, upon his election to the New York State Legislature, he submitted a bill to allow women to vote.

In her Autobiography of Jane Fairfield, the wife of the struggling poet Sumner Lincoln Fairfield relates how their friend Burr saved the lives of her two children, who were left with their grandmother in New York while the parents were in Boston. The grandmother was unable to provide adequate food or heat for the children and was in fear for their very lives. She sought out Burr, as the only one that might be able and willing to help her. Burr "wept and replied, 'Though I am poor and have not a dollar, the children of such a mother shall not suffer while I have a watch.' He hastened on this errand, and quickly returned, having pawned the article for twenty dollars, which he gave to make comfortable my precious babies."[7] In his later years in New York, he practiced estate law and provided money and education for several children, earning their lifelong affection.

Although he proved irresistible to many women, few historians doubt Burr's devotion to his first wife while she lived. He was profligate in his personal finances, and gave lip service to abolitionism even though he owned one or two slaves for a time. John Quincy Adams (who was a great admirer of Jefferson) said after the former vice president's death, "Burr's life, take it all together, was such as in any country of sound morals his friends would be desirous of burying in quiet oblivion." This was his own opinion: his father, President John Adams, was an admirer and frequent defender of Burr.

Legacy

A lasting consequence of Burr's role in the election of 1800 was the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which changed the way in which vice presidents were chosen.

In public and in private, Burr's behavior, even by his political foes, was labelled as considerate and gracious. He was often commended as a great listener. Although much took place in Mr. Burr's life, he is remembered by many only for the deadly duel with Mr. Hamilton. However, his establishment of guides and rules for the first Senate impeachment trial set a high moral bar for behavior and procedures in that chamber, many of which are followed today. Finally, his silence and refusal to engage in defending himself from his political critics either in legislatures or in the press, plus the fact that most of his personal papers disappeared with his daughter's death at sea and with his biographer, Matthew Davis. This has left an air of mystery over his reputation. One must read his copious correspondence, such as it is, to gain more insight into the man.

Gore Vidal chose to write about the controversial founding father in 1973 with his historical fiction novel, Burr.

In the comic book The Flash, a 1975 backup story featuring Green Lantern stars Burr. "The Man of Destiny," written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Dick Dillin, reveals that Burr was recruited by aliens to act as a leader for an interplanetary society in chaos. (The alliance cloned Burr, sending the clone back to earth to duel with Hamilton and live out of the rest of "Burr"'s life on earth.)

A famous "Got Milk?" commercial directed by Michael Bay features a historian obsessed with the study of Burr (to the point of owning the guns and the bullet from the duel). He is called by a radio station while he has peanut butter in his mouth and asked the question of who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in order to win a large prize. The historian is out of milk and cannot manage to say the "Aaron Burr" clearly enough to be heard before his time runs out.

In the Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg Saturday Night Live digital short "Lazy Sunday," Parnell raps "You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're droppin' Hamiltons," referring to spending ten dollar bills (which have Hamilton's portrait on them).

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Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician, Revolutionary War participant, and adventurer. He served as the third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under Thomas Jefferson, and was the first vice president to never serve as president.

A formative member of the Democratic-Republican Party with a political base in New York, Burr served in the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799[1]), as New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), United States Senator (1791–1797), and for one term as vice-president under Jefferson. A candidate for President in 1800, Burr tied Jefferson with 73 electoral votes, making him eligible for one of the country's two highest offices and sending the election into the U.S. House of Representatives. After 36 ballots, Jefferson was elected President and Burr elected vice-president. As vice-president, Burr was president of the Senate, and in this role presided over the impeachment trial of Samuel Chase.

For more see the wikipedia entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Burr

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I fought a Duel with Alexander Hamilton, and he lost!

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Aaron Burr was Vice President of the United States from 1801 to 1805 under Thomas Jefferson. Aaron Jr. is however better remembered for fighting a duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804 which resulted in Mr. Hamilton's death.

The following, copied from the Junior Editors Quiz clipped from the Kansas City Star, is attributed to Jennifer Juergens.

"Burr was born in Newark, N. J. He graduated from Princeton College in 1772 and fought with the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1779, starting as a Private and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He became a lawyer in 1782 and practiced in Albany, N. Y., and New York City. He served New York as a state legislator and was elected to the U. S Senate in 1791.

Burr ran for governor of New York in 1804, but lost to Hamilton. Burr then challenged him to a duel in which Hamilton was fatally wounded. A New Jersey grand jury returned a murder indictment against Burr and he fled south but returned later when Congress reconvened.

After his Vic-Presidency, Burr was thought to have engaged in some questionable activities--- assembling a group to invade Mexico, or scheming to detach part of the American Southwest from the United States, or both.

Burr was tried for treason in 1807 and was aquitted, but his reputation was damaged. -------------------- Bio From Biographical directory of US Congress

------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BURR, Aaron, (1756 - 1836) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Senate Years of Service: 1791-1795; 1795-1797 Party: Anti-Administration; Republican

Library of Congress BURR, Aaron, (cousin of Theodore Dwight), a Senator from New York and a Vice President of the United States; born in Newark, N.J., February 6, 1756; graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1772; studied theology but soon abandoned it for the law; during the Revolutionary War entered the Continental Army 1775-1779; admitted to the bar in 1782 and practiced in Albany, N.Y.; moved to New York City in 1783; member, State assembly 1784-1785, 1798-1799; attorney general of New York 1789-1790; commissioner of Revolutionary claims in 1791; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1791, to March 3, 1797; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; president of the State constitutional convention in 1801; in the presidential election of 1800, Burr and Thomas Jefferson each had seventy-three votes, and the House of Representatives on the thirty-sixth ballot elected Jefferson President and Burr Vice President; challenged and mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel fought at Weehawken, N.J., July 11, 1804; indicted for murder in New York and New Jersey but never tried in either jurisdiction; escaped to South Carolina, then returned to Washington and completed his term of service as Vice President; arrested and tried for treason in August 1807 for attempting to form a republic in the Southwest of which he was to be the head, but was acquitted; went abroad in 1808; returned to New York City in 1812 and resumed the practice of law; died in Port Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y., September 14, 1836; interment in the President’s lot, Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, N.J.

Bibliography


American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Burr, Aaron. The Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr. Edited by Mary-Jo Kline. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983; Parmet, Herbert S., and Hecht, Marie. Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man. New York: Macmillan Press, 1967; Melton, Buckner F., Jr. Aaron Burr: Conspiracy to Treason. New York: Wiley, 2002.

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Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

BURR, Aaron, (cousin of Theodore Dwight), a Senator from New York and a Vice President of the United States; born in Newark, N.J., February 6, 1756; graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1772; studied theology but soon abandoned it for the law; during the Revolutionary War entered the Continental Army 1775-1779; admitted to the bar in 1782 and practiced in Albany, N.Y.; moved to New York City in 1783; member, State assembly 1784-1785, 1798-1799; attorney general of New York 1789-1790; commissioner of Revolutionary claims in 1791; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1791, to March 3, 1797; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; president of the State constitutional convention in 1801; in the presidential election of 1800, Burr and Thomas Jefferson each had seventy-three votes, and the House of Representatives on the thirty-sixth ballot elected Jefferson President and Burr Vice President; challenged and mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel fought at Weehawken, N.J., July 11, 1804; indicted for murder in New York and New Jersey but never tried in either jurisdiction; escaped to South Carolina, then returned to Washington and completed his term of service as Vice President; arrested and tried for treason in August 1807 for attempting to form a republic in the Southwest of which he was to be the head, but was acquitted; went abroad in 1808; returned to New York City in 1812 and resumed the practice of law; died in Port Richmond, Staten Island, N.Y., September 14, 1836; interment in the President’s lot, Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, N.J.

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Aaron Burr, Jr., 3rd Vice President of the USA's Timeline

1756
February 6, 1756
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
1782
June 21, 1782
Age 26
Albany, NY, USA
July 2, 1782
Age 26
Paramus, Bergen, New Jersey
1785
1785
Age 28
1791
1791
- 1797
Age 34
United States
1801
1801
- 1805
Age 44
United States
1833
July 1, 1833
Age 77
New York, NY, USA
1836
September 14, 1836
Age 80
New York, NY, USA
September 14, 1836
Age 80
Staten Island, Richmond County, New York State, USA
1836
Age 79
New York, New York County, New York State, USA