American Founding Father, Revolutionary War Hero, at Valley Forge with General Washington - a brave Hero who saved a whole brigade of American soldiers INCLUDING Alexander Hamilton . . .
. . . Aaron Burr is perhaps the most important American Founding Father who is unknown in the modern age, unsung, under appreciated and totally ignored.
Aaron Burr is seldom, if ever, listed among their legacy, and if his name is mentioned at all, it is in a denigrating way, often making some negative point.
It is difficult for us in the 20th-21st centuries, with our idolization of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, to even imagine the TRUTH as it really was!
>> THAT Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson were tied in votes for President of the USA;
>> THAT Aaron Burr was as BELOVED and seen as BRILLIANT, and as CAPABLE and COMPETENT as Thomas Jefferson in every way!
>> THUS half of all Americans were COMMITTED to have Aaron Burr as their NEXT PRESIDENT - and NOT Thomas Jefferson!
>> They saw Aaron Burr as a BRAVE SOLDIER, an OFFICER under General Washington, facing the British War Machine and WILLING TO DIE for the American Cause, . . .
while Thomas Jefferson NEVER left his mansion!
Yet he doesn't even merit a mention on 99% of today's lists as American Founding Fathers!
** HOW committed were Aaron Burr supporters?
** AGAIN and AGAIN they voted . . .
** FOR 36 ballots, actually!!!
** AFTER the original tie was given to the US Congress to decide!
** AARON BURR equal to THOMAS JEFFERSON as PRESIDENT of USA in the eyes of millions of AMERICANS . . . and HALF of the US House of Representatives???
** Absolutely unbelievable today . . . but absolutely true!
** INCONCEIVABLE . . . we mutter to ourselves!
Aaron Burr Jr was brought into this word by God on February 6, 1756 – when George Washington was already a young officer leading the Virginia Militia at age 24.
God called Aaron Burr home on September 14, 1836, just as TEXAS wins a great battle for freedom!
Aaron Burr was the third Vice President of the United States under President Thomas Jefferson, after losing a "tied election" in many votes.
Aaron Burr basically lost the presidency by a flip-of-a-coin!
After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War under General George, Aaron Burr became a successful lawyer and politician.
He was elected twice to the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799).
Aaron Burr was appointed New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), was chosen as a United States Senator (1791–1797) from the state of New York, and reached the apex of his career as Vice President of the United States (1801–1805).
The highlight of Burr's tenure as President of the Senate (one of his few official duties as Vice President) was the Senate's first impeachment trial, of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.
In one of America's greatest drama's in 1804, the last full year of his single term, the American Vice President Aaron Burr killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
This had been the practice in the Colonies for centuries, all proper with witnesses and authorities, so Burr was never tried for the duel, and all charges against him were eventually dropped.
The death of Hamilton, however, ended Burr's political career.
President Jefferson dropped him from the ticket for the 1804 presidential election, and he never held office again.
Who knows: Jefferson may have been NEXT!!!
After leaving Washington DC, Burr traveled west seeking new opportunities, both economic and political.
His activities eventually led to his arrest on charges of treason in 1807, although the subsequent trial resulted in acquittal.
Sadly, Burr's western schemes had left him with many debts and few influential friends.
In a final quest for grand opportunities, he left the United States for Europe. He remained overseas until 1812, when he returned to the United States and to the practice of law in New York City.
There Aaron Burr spent the remainder of his long life in relative obscurity.
Aaron Burr, Early life:
Even more grievous and intriguing, Aaron Burr's grandfather, was the great Religious leader Jonathan Edwards, . . .
. . .not only American Founding Father, but the Father of the First Great Spiritual Awakening in the USA. . .
. . . and Founder and President of "The LOG CABIN BIBLE COLLEGE" to train ministers . . .
. . . that grew so fast it became Princeton University.
FACT: The list of American Founders and those who later held political and/or public office is astounding!
Sad to the extreme that he became a murderer, Aaron Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, to the Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr., a Presbyterian minister and second president of the College of New Jersey in Newark (which moved in 1756 to Princeton and later became Princeton University).
Aaron Burr's mother, Esther Edwards, was the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, the famous Calvinist theologian, making Burr Edwards's grandson. The Burrs also had a daughter, Sarah, who married Tapping Reeve, founder of the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Aaron Burr's father died in 1757, and his mother the following year, leaving him an orphan at the age of two.
Grandfather Jonathan dwards and his wife Sarah also died that year; young Aaron and his sister Sally went to live with the William Shippen family in Philadelphia.
In 1759, the children's guardianship was assumed by twenty-one-year-old uncle Timothy Edwards. The next year, Edwards married Rhoda Ogden and moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Rhoda's younger brothers Aaron and Matthias became the boy's playmates and lifelong friends.
At age thirteen, Aaron Burr was admitted to the College of New Jersey in Princeton where he joined the American Whig Society and Cliosophic Society. These were clubs that helped develop character, establish brotherly bonds, and strengthen verbal contests and opinions.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1772, but changed his career path two years later and began the study of law with his brother-in-law Reeve.
When, in 1775, news reached Litchfield of the clashes with British troops at Lexington and Concord, Burr's studies were put on hold while he went to join the Continental Army.
Aaron Burr, Military service;
During the Revolutionary War, Burr took part in Colonel Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec, an arduous trek of over 300 miles (480 km) through the wilderness of what is now Maine. Upon arriving before the city of Quebec, Burr was sent up the Saint Lawrence River to reach General Richard Montgomery, who had taken Montreal, and escorted him to Quebec.
Montgomery promoted Burr to captain and made him an aide-de-camp. Burr distinguished himself during the Battle of Quebec, earning him a place on Washington's staff in Manhattan. However, he quit within two weeks, desiring to return to the battlefield.
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 after the British landing on Manhattan.
SLIGHT by General Washington MAY HAVE made Burr Bitter!
In a stark departure from common practice, for some unknown reason, General Washington failed to commend Burr's actions in the next day's General Orders . . . which was the fastest way to obtain a promotion in rank!
Although Officer Burr was already a nationally known hero, he never received a commendation.
** According to Burr's stepbrother Mathias 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's nominal command. The regiment successfully fought off many nighttime raids into central New Jersey by British troops sailing over from Manhattan.
Later that year, during the harsh winter encampment at Valley Forge, Officer Aaron Burr was put in charge of a small contingent guarding "the Gulf", an isolated pass commanding one approach to the camp.
Aaron Burr imposed discipline there, even defeating an attempted mutiny by some of the troops, who wanted to overthrow General Washington.
On June 28, 1778, at the Battle of Monmouth, Burr's regiment was devastated by British artillery. Though only 22 years, in the day's terrible heat, Aaron Burr suffered heat stroke from which he would never quite recover.
In January 1779 Burr, in command of Malcolm's Regiment, was assigned to Westchester County, a region between the British post at Kingsbridge and that of the Americans about 15 miles (24 km) to the north.
In this district, part of the larger command of General Alexander McDougall, there was much turbulence and plundering by lawless bands of both patriot and Loyalist sympathizers, and by raiding parties of ill-disciplined soldiers from both armies.
Colonel Burr established a thorough patrol system, rigorously enforced martial law, and quickly restored order.
He did not stand for any horseplay or reckless behavior.
He demanded honesty from his men and when they did not abide by these rules they were punished.
One of Burr’s favorites was public shaming in which he tried to embarrass the guilty. When he resigned, he left a description of his “system” in hope that future colonels or generals would continue to enforce these rules.
He resigned from the Continental Army in March 1779 due to his continuing bad health and renewed his study of law. Though technically no longer in the service, he remained active in the war.
Aaron Burr was assigned by General Washington to perform occasional intelligence missions for Continental generals such as Arthur St. Clair.
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, forcing them 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.
The Burrs lived, for the next several years, in a house on Wall Street.
Aaron Burr, Marriage and family;
In 1782, Aaron Burr married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of Jacques Marcus Prevost (see The Hermitage), a British Army officer of Swiss origin, who had died in the West Indies during the Revolutionary War. The Burrs moved to New York City, where his reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer grew.
Twelve years later, Mrs. Burr died from stomach cancer. They had one child who survived birth, a daughter named Theodosia, after her mother.
Aaron Burr believed in equality of the sexes and he prescribed education for his daughter in the Classics, language, horsemanship and music.
Born in 1783, Aaron Burr's daughter Theodosia became widely known for her education and accomplishments.
In 1801, she married Joseph Alston of South Carolina and bore a son, who died of fever at ten years of age. During the winter of 1812-1813, she disappeared with the schooner Patriot off The Carolinas, either murdered by pirates or shipwrecked in a storm.
Recently, the Aaron Burr Association acknowledged the possibility that Burr had two illegitimate children—Louisa Charlotte (born 1788) and John Pierre Burr (born 1792)—with his servant Mary Emmons, not wanting to delay pending proof of the claims of Emmons' elderly descendant.
Burr was still married to Theodosia then, but most of his time was spent in Albany, serving in the State Assembly. DNA testing, which might verify these claims, is not possible because there is no male descendant in this line.
A historian who has written extensively on Burr stated that the claims were "plausible."
Aaron Burr, 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 also Commissioner of Revolutionary War Claims in 1791.
In 1791, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, defeating the incumbent, General Philip Schuyler, and served there until 1797. Although Alexander Hamilton and Burr had long been on good personal terms, often dining with one another (Lomask, vol. 1),
Aaron 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.
More details of their relationship may be found in the Burr–Hamilton duel article.
After George Washington was 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.
Washington 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."
[SOURCE: Lomask vol.1]
John Adams later put this situation in perspective by writing in 1815 that Washington's response was startling given his promotion of Alexander Hamilton, of whom Adam's eveluated:
"the most restless, impatient, artful, indefatigable, and unprincipled intriguer in the United States, if not in the world, to be second in command under himself, and now [Washington] dreaded an intriguer in a poor brigadier. (Aaron Burr)"
Bored with the inactivity of the new U.S. Senate (Lomask vol. 1), Aaron Burr ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly, serving from 1798 through 1799. It was during this time he cooperated with the Holland Land Company in obtaining a law to permit aliens to hold and convey lands.
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 was absorbed into the Chase Manhattan Bank, which in turn became part of 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).
Because of his influence in New York and opposition to the Hamiltonian Federalists, Burr was asked by Jefferson and Madison to help them in the election of 1800. Burr sponsored a bill through the New York Assembly that established the Manhattan Company, a water utility company whose charter also allowed creation of a bank controlled by Jeffersonians.
Another crucial move was Burr's success in securing the election of his slate of greater New York City area Electors, defeating the Federalist slate backed by Alexander Hamilton. This event only served to increase the antagonism 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, to win the voting for selection of Electoral College delegates. He was then placed on the Democratic-Republican presidential ticket in the 1800 election with Jefferson.
At the time, most states' 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 during the voting stalemate in the Congress wrote that he would give it up entirely if Jefferson so demanded.
Ultimately, it took 36 ballots before James A. Bayard, a Delaware Federalist, and several of his Federalist colleagues submitted blank votes to decide the election in Jefferson's favor.
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 was never trusted by Jefferson and was effectively shut out of party matters.
Some historians conjecture that the reason for this was Burr's casual regard for politics.
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 regarding that office.
Historian Forrest MacDonald 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 even 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.
Duel with Alexander Hamilton
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. In April, the Albany Register published a letter from Dr. Charles D. Cooper to Philip Schuyler,
. . . which relayed Hamilton's judgement that Burr was "a dangerous man, and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government," and claiming to know of "a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr."
In June, Burr sent this letter to Hamilton, seeking an affirmation or disavowal of Cooper's characterization of Hamilton's remarks.
Instead Hamilton responded verbosely, in part that Burr should give specifics of Hamilton's remarks, not Cooper's. He said he couldn't answer regarding Cooper's interpretation.
A few more letters followed, in which the exchange escalated to Burr's demanding that Hamilton recant or deny any statement disparaging Burr’s honor over the past 15 years!
However, Hamilton, having already been disgraced by the Maria Reynolds adultery 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.
Amazingly, 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 in the duel Hamilton was mortally wounded.
The two sides do, however, agree that there was a three-to-four second interval between the first and the second shot, raising difficult questions in evaluating the two camps' versions.
Historian William Weir speculates that Hamilton might have been undone by his own machinations: secretly setting his pistol's trigger to require only a half pound of pressure as opposed to the usual 10 pounds.
Burr, Weir contends, most likely had no idea that the gun's trigger pressure could be reset.
Louisiana State University history professors Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg concur in this view.
They note that "Hamilton brought the pistols, which had a larger barrel than regular dueling pistols, and a secret hair-trigger, and were therefore much more deadly,"
and conclude that "Hamilton gave himself an unfair advantage in their duel, and got the worst of it anyway."
David O. Stewart, in his biography of Burr, American Emperor, notes that the reports of Hamilton's intentionally missing Burr with his shot only began to appear in newspaper reports published in papers friendly to Hamilton in the days after his death.
The two shots, witnesses reported, followed one another in close succession, andnone of those witnesses could agree as to who fired first.
Prior to the duel proper, Hamilton took a good deal of time getting used to the feel and weight of the pistol (which, incidentally, had been used in a duel in which his own 19-year-old son had been killed on the same Weehawken site), . . .
. . . as well as putting on his eyeglasses in order to see his opponent more clearly.
His seconds placed him so that Burr would have the rising sun behind him, giving Hamilton a better target, though during the duel itself, one witness reported, Hamilton seemed to be hindered by this placement.
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 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.
He avoided New York and New Jersey for a time, but all the charges against him were eventually dropped.
Aaron Burr conspiracy and trial;
After Burr left the Vice-Presidency at the end of his term in 1805, he journeyed into what was then the West, areas west of the Allegheny Mountains, particularly the Ohio River Valley and the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase drumming up support for his plans.
Burr had leased 40,000 acres (160 km²) of land (the "Bastrop" lands) along the Ouachita River, in what is now Louisiana, from the Spanish government.
His most important contact was General James Wilkinson, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army at New Orleans and Governor of the Louisiana Territory. Others included Harman Blennerhassett, who offered the use of his private island for training and outfitting Burr's expedition. Wilkinson was later proved to be a bad choice.
Burr saw war with Spain as a distinct possibility. In case of a war declaration, Andrew Jackson stood ready to help Burr, who would be in position to immediately join in. Burr's expedition of perhaps eighty men carried modest arms for hunting, and no materiel was ever revealed, even when Blennerhassett Island was seized by Ohio militia.
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, the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty secured Florida for the United States without a fight, and war in Texas didn't occur until 1836, the year of Burr's death.
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 and to his Spanish paymasters.
Jefferson 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.
Jefferson's warrant, however, followed Burr, who then fled toward Spanish Florida; he was intercepted at Wakefield, in Mississippi Territory (now in the state of Alabama) 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. Mrs. Gaines 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 to secure money and to conceal his real designs, which were to help Mexico to overthrow Spanish power in the Southwest, and to found a dynasty in what would have become former Mexican territory.
This was 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. Jefferson, however, sought the highest charges against Burr.
In 1807, on a charge of treason, Burr was brought to trial before the United States Circuit Court at Richmond, Virginia. His defense lawyers included Edmund Randolph, 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. In acquitting him, the jury apparently tried to give something like the Scottish verdict of not proven. 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 a carefully watched drama (Henry Adams gives a full account in The History of the United States of America (1801-1817)) 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.
Historians Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg write that Burr "was not guilty of treason, nor was he ever convicted, because there was no evidence, not one credible piece of testimony, and the star witness for the prosecution had to admit that he had doctored a letter implicating Burr."
Aaron Burr, Later life and death;
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 living at Bentham's home on occasion.
He also spent time in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and France. Ever hopeful, he solicited funding for renewing his plans for a conquest of 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. With help from old friends Samuel Swartwout and Matthew L. Davis, Burr was able to return to New York and his law practice. There he lived the remainder of his life in relative peace.
In 1833, at age 77, Burr married again, this time to Eliza Jumel, a wealthy widow. Soon, however, she realized her fortune was dwindling due to her husband's land speculation losses.
She separated from Burr after only four months; the divorce was completed on September 14, 1836, the day of Burr's death.
The home of Eliza Jumel and Aaron Burr, the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Manhattan, is now open to the public.
Aaron Burr death mask
Burr suffered a debilitating stroke in 1834, which rendered him immobile. In 1836, Burr died on Staten Island in the village of Port Richmond. He was buried near his father in Princeton, New Jersey.
Aaron Burr made many friends but also some powerful enemies, and is still perhaps the most controversial of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was indicted for murder (but not convicted) after the death of Hamilton; arrested and prosecuted for treason by Jefferson (but not convicted).
To his friends and family, and often to complete strangers, he was kind and generous. 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." In his later years in New York, he provided money and education for several children, earning their lifelong affection.
Burr believed women to be intellectually equal to men, and hung a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft over his mantel. 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 1784 as a New York state assemblyman, he unsuccessfully sought to immediately end slavery in that state.
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.
John Adams wrote that Burr "had served in the army, and came out of it with the character of a knight without fear and an able officer."
Gordon S. Wood, a leading scholar of the Revolutionary period, holds that it was Burr’s character that put him at odds with the rest of the “founding fathers,”
especially Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton, leading to his personal and political defeats and, ultimately, to his place outside the golden circle of revered revolutionary figures. Because of his habit of placing self-interest above the good of the whole, those men felt Burr represented a serious threat to the very ideals for which they had fought the Revolution.
Their ideal, as particularly embodied in Washington and Jefferson, was that of “disinterested politics,” a government led by educated gentlemen who would fulfill their duties in a spirit of public virtue and without regard to personal interests or pursuits.
This was the core of an Enlightenment gentleman, and Burr, his political enemies felt, lacked that essential core. Indeed, it was Hamilton’s belief that Burr’s self-serving nature made him unfit to hold office—especially the presidency.
Jefferson, though one of Hamilton’s bitterest enemies, was at least a man of public virtue.
This belief led Hamilton to launch his unrelenting campaign in the House of Representatives to prevent Burr’s election to the presidency, favoring his erstwhile enemy Jefferson instead. Later in Burr’s life, Jefferson, in turn, would go so far as to push the boundaries of the Constitution in his attempt—in the charging and trying of Burr for treason—to eliminate Burr.
Aaron 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.
As was obvious from the 1800 election, the situation could easily arise where the vice-president, as the defeated presidential candidate, could not work well with the president. The Twelfth Amendment required that votes be cast separately for president and vice president.
In public and in private, Burr's behavior, even by his political foes, was labelled as considerate and gracious and he was often commended as a great listener. Although much took place in Burr's life, he is remembered by many only for the deadly duel with 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. 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, has left an air of mystery over his reputation.
Aaron Burr in literature and popular culture
Burr appears as a character epitomizing worldly sophistication in Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1859 historical romance The Minister's Wooing.
Edward Everett Hale's 1863 story The Man Without a Country is about a fictional co-conspirator of Burr's, who is exiled for his crimes.
"The Aaron Burr Story", a second season (1965) episode of the television series Daniel Boone, starred Leif Erickson as ex-Vice President Aaron Burr attempting to set up an army to take over the western states.
In the show, Burr's attempt to hire one of Daniel Boone's young impressionable friends as a wilderness guide is ultimately thwarted by Boone when a proclamation is published for Burr's arrest for treason against the United States.
The historical novel Burr, written in 1973, is the first (in historical chronology) volume in Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series.
"A Friend to Alexander", in James Thurber's My World and Welcome To It, transported the Burr–Hamilton rivalry into the twentieth century.
Eudora Welty wrote a story about the romance of Burr's Western expedition, "First Love", which appears in Selected Stories of Eudora Welty (Modern Library 1992).
In the comic book The Flash, a 1975 backup story featuring Green Lantern stars Burr. "The Man of Destiny", written by Dennis 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).
In Michael Kurland's The Whenabouts of Burr (DAW, 1975) the protagonists chase across various alternate universes, trying to recover the Constitution of the United States, which has been stolen and replaced by an alternate signed by Aaron Burr instead of Alexander Hamilton.
In Orson Scott Card's alternate history / fantasy novel Seventh Son (1987), a character states that "...
Aaron Burr got to be governor of Suskwahenny, before Daniel Boone shot him dead in ninety-nine."
A famous 1993 "Got Milk?" commercial directed by Michael Bay features a historian obsessed with the study of Aaron Burr—he owns the guns and the bullet from the duel.
He is called by a radio station and offered a prize if he can name the person who killed Alexander Hamilton in the duel, but he has peanut butter in his mouth and is out of milk, and cannot manage to say "Aaron Burr" clearly enough to be heard before his time runs out.
In Alexander C. Irvine's 2002 novel A Scattering of Jades, Burr takes part in a plot to bring an ancient Aztec deity into power, explaining his interest in Mexico.
The Lonely Island's "Lazy Sunday" quotes the line "you can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons", referring to the large number of ten dollar bills being spent and the duel between Burr and Alexander Hamilton referring to how Aaron Burr killed or "dropped" him.
In the alternate history short story "The War of '07" by Jayge Carr, contained in the collection Alternate Presidents, Burr is elected President in 1800, establishing an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte and creates a family dictatorship.
Upon his death in 1836, he is succeeded by his grandson Aaron Burr Alston, who previously served as his Vice President.
Aaron Burr, Notes:
1^ a b "Burr, Aaron". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
2^ Lomask, p.82
3^ Shachner, p.37
4^ Parmet and Hecht, p.42
5^ Parmet and Hecht, p.57
6^ Ip, Greg (October 5, 2005). "Aaron Burr fans find unlikely ally in black descendant". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
7^ a b The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States By John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Letter to James Lloyd, 17 Feb 1815, pp. 123–124
8^ Steiner, Bernard Christian (1907). The life and correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. The Burrows Brothers Company.
9^ a b Fleming, p.233
10^ Buescher, John (July 11, 2011). "Burr-Hamilton Duel". Teachinghistory.org.
11^ Ellis, pp.20–47
12^ Weir, William (2003). Written with Lead: America's Most Famous and Notorious Gunfights from the Revolutionary War to Today. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 978-0-8154-1289-2.
13^ a b c Burstein, Andrew; Isenberg, Nancy (January 4, 2011). "What Michele Bachmann doesn't know about history". Salon.com.
14^ Parmet and Hecht, p.259
15^ Parmet and Hecht, p.268
16^ Pickett, pp.488–502
17^ Bray, Samuel (2005). "Not Proven: Introducing a Third Verdict". University of Chicago Law Review 72 (4): 1299–1300.
18^ Fairfield, p.89
19^ "Timeline of Events leading up to the Duel - 1756-1804". The Duel. PBS.
20^ Wood, Gordon S. (2007). Revolutionary Characters, What Made the Founding Fathers Different. Penguin Books. pp. 225–242.
21^ The Flash vol. 26, #231, January/February 1975.
22^ "The Whenabouts of Burr by Michael Kurland". Fantastic Fiction.
23^ Aaron Burr Got Milk? at the Inspiration Room
Aaron Burr, References;
Some text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Burr, Aaron.
Adams, John, and Charles Francis Adams.
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations. Boston: Little, Brown, 1850. online edition Retrieved October 4, 2008
Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr. Mary-Jo Kline and Joanne W. Ryan, eds. 2 vol. Princeton University Press, 1983. 1311 pp.
Cheetham, James. Nine Letters on the Subject of Aaron Burrs Political Defection. Reprint by Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
Cheetham, James. A view of the political conduct of Aaron Burr, esq., vice-president of the United States. (1802)
Clark, Daniel. Proofs of the Corruption of Gen. James Wilkinson, and of His Connexion With Aaron Burr: A Full Refutation of His Slanderous Allegations in Relation to ... of the Principal Witness Against Him (1809). Reprinted by University Press of the Pacific, 2005.
Davis, Matthew L. Memoirs of Aaron Burr. With Miscellaneous Selections from His Correspondence. 2 Vols. New York: Harper & Bros, 1837. Project Gutenberg: Vol. 1, Vol. 2 Retrieved 12 December 2010
Ellis, Joseph. The Founding Brothers (2000) Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40544-5
Fairfield, Jane Frazee, and Sumner Lincoln Fairfield. The Autobiography of Jane Fairfield; Embracing a Few Select Poems by Sumner Lincoln Fairfield. Boston: Bazin and Ellsworth, 1860. online edition Retrieved September 5, 2007
Fleming, Thomas. Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America New York: Basic Books, 1999.
Isenberg, Nancy. Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr New York, 2007.
Lomask, Milton. Aaron Burr. 2 Vols. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979.
Missouri History Museum Archives. Aaron Burr Papers
Pickett, Albert James. "The Arrest of Aaron Burr in Alabama." History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period. Charleston: Walker and James, 1851.
online edition Retrieved September 27, 2007
Robertson, David. Reports of the Trials of Colonel Aaron Burr (Late Vice President of the United States) for Treason and for Misdemeanor...Two Volumes (report taken in shorthand) (1808)
Schachner, Nathan, Aaron Burr, A Biography, New York, 1937. online edition
Stewart, David O., "American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America (Simon & Schuster, 2011).
Van Ness, William Peter. An Examination of the Various Charges Exhibited Against Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the United States: and a Development of the Characters and Views of His Political Opponents. (1803) Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Aaron Burr, Further reading;
Abernethy, Thomas Perkins. "Aaron Burr in Mississippi." Journal of Southern History 1949 15 (1): 9–21. ISSN 0022-4642
Adams, Henry, History of the United States, vol. iii. New York,
1890. (For the traditional view of Burr's conspiracy.)
Alexander, Holmes Moss. 1937 and 1973. Aaron Burr: The Proud
Pretender. Greenwood-Heinemann Publishing.
Barbagallo, Tricia (March 10, 2007). "Fellow Citizens Read a
Horrid Tale". Retrieved 2008-06-04.
Burdett, Charles. Margaret Moncrieffee: The First Love Of Aaron
Burr. Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
Clark, Alan J., Cipher Code of Dishonor: Aaron Burr, an American
Clemens, Jere. (Hon.), The Rivals: A Tale of the Times of Aaron
Burr and Alexander Hamilton. (1860) online edition
Cohalan, John P., The Saga of Aaron Burr (1986)
Cote, Richard N., Theodosia - Theodosia Burr Alston: Portrait of
a Prodigy. (2002)
Faulkner, Robert K. "John Marshall and the Burr Trial." Journal
of American History 1966 53(2): 247–258. ISSN 0021-8723
Fleming, Thomas. Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the
Future of America (1999)
Ford, Worthington Chauncey. "Some Papers of Aaron Burr", in
Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, April 1919.
Freeman, Joanne B. "Dueling as Politics: Reinterpreting the
Burr-Hamilton Duel," in William and Mary Quarterly 1996 53(2):
289–318. ISSN 0043-5597
Harrison, Lowell. 1978. "The Aaron Burr Conspiracy." American
History I Illustrated 13:25.
Isenberg, Nancy. Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (May
2008) Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-14-311371-3
Jenkinson, Isaac. Aaron Burr: His Personal and Political
Relations with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. (1902)
Jillson, Willard Rouse (October 1943). "Aaron Burr's Trial for
Treason, at Frankfort, 1806". Filson Club Historical Quarterly
17 (4). Retrieved 2011-12-06.
Kennedy, Roger G. Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson: A Study in
Künstler, Laurence S. The Unpredictable Mr. Aaron Burr (1974).
Larson, Edward J. A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous
Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign (2007).
Lomask, Milton, "Aaron Burr," 2 Vols. New York, 1979,
1983.Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
McCaleb, Walter Flavius, The Aaron Burr Conspiracy: A History
Largely from Original and Hitherto Unused Sources, New York,
McCaleb, Walter Flavius, A New Light on Aaron Burr (date unknown)
Melton, Buckner F., Jr. Aaron Burr: Conspiracy to Treason. New
York: John Wiley, 2002. 278 pp. online edition
Parmet, Herbert S. and Marie B. Hecht; Aaron Burr; Portrait of
an Ambitious Man (1967). online edition
Parton, James, The Life and Times of Aaron Burr, Boston and New
York, 1898. (2 vols.)
Rogow, Arnold A. A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and
Aaron Burr (1998).
Rorabaugh, William J. "The Political Duel in the Early Republic:
Burr v. Hamilton." Journal of the Early Republic 1995 15(1):
1–23. ISSN 0275-1275
Seton, Anya. My Theodosia (1948).
Slaughter, Thomas P. "Review Essay: Conspiratorial Politics: The
Public Life of Aaron Burr." Conspiratorial Politics.
Stewart, David O. "American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to
Jefferson's America," (Simon & Schuster, 2011).
Todd, Charles Burr. The True Aaron Burr: A Biographical Sketch
(1902). Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 2007.
Vail, Philip. The Great American Rascal: The Turbulent Life of
Aaron Burr (1973).
Vidal, Gore, Burr (1973). A fictionalized view of Burr's life.
Wandell, Samuel H. and Meade Minngerode. Aaron Burr (1925).
Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing.
Wells, Colin. 2004. "Aristocracy, Aaron Burr, and the Poetry of
Conspiracy." Early American Literature.
Wheelan, Joseph. Jefferson's Vendetta: The Pursuit of Aaron Burr
and the Judiciary., 2005. 344 pp.
Wilaon, Samuel M. (January 1936). "The Court Proceedings of 1806
in Kentucky Against Aaron Burr and John Adair". Filson Club
Historical Quarterly 10 (1). Retrieved 2011-11-29.
Wood, Gordon S. 2006 Revolutionary Characters. New York: Penguin.
Aaron Burr External links
Did Aaron Burr Really Try to Take Over Half of America?
The Political Graveyard: Edwards family
Photographic tour of Aaron Burr's grave at Princeton Cemetery.
Find-A-Grave profile for Aaron Burr
Harry Toulmin Biography
The Arrest of Aaron Burr in Alabama
The Aaron Burr Association
Letters of Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr at the Biographical Directory of the United States
Congress Retrieved on 2009-02-26
J. Ryland Kendrick (1900). "Burr, Aaron". Appletons' Cyclopædia
of American Biography.
VIAF: 57408702 LCCN: n78086252 WorldCat
Thomas Jefferson Vice President of the United States
March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1805 Succeeded by
Richard Varick Attorney General of New York
September 29, 1789 – November 8, 1791 Succeeded by
United States Senate
Philip Schuyler United States Senator (Class 1) from New York
March 4, 1791 – March 4, 1797
Served alongside: Rufus King, John Laurance Succeeded by
Party political offices
George Clinton(a) Democratic-Republican vice presidential
1796(b), 1800(b) Succeeded by
Notes and references
1. Prior to the passage of the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, each
presidential elector would cast two votes; the highest
vote-getter with a majority would become President and the
runner-up would become Vice President.
a. In 1792, with George Washington as the prohibitive favorite
to be elected President, the Democratic-Republican Party fielded
George Clinton with the intention that he be elected Vice
b. Burr was a presidential candidate in both 1796 and 1800,
although the Democratic-Republican Party also fielded Thomas
Jefferson with the intention that Jefferson be elected President
and Burr be elected Vice President.
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