Skip to comments.Most Infamous DUEL in American History: Alexander Hamilton v. Aaron Burr
Posted on 07/12/2019 8:21:19 AM PDT by Perseverando
He intentionally fired into the air, but his political rival, the sitting Vice-President Aaron Burr, took deadly aim and fatally shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel JULY 11, 1804.
Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies on the Island of Nevis, either in the year 1755 or 1757, and grew up on the Island of St. Croix.
Just a few years earlier, in 1751, 19-year-old George Washington had accompanied his older half-brother Lawrence on a trip to the not too distant Island of Barbados.
Since Alexander Hamilton's parents were not legally married, he was not permitted to attend the Anglican academy, resulting in him being tutored at a private school by a Jewish headmistress.
Hamilton worked for merchants till, at the age of 17, he sailed to Massachusetts in 1772 to attend Elizabethtown Academy.
He was studying at Columbia College in New York when the Revolutionary War started.
Alexander Hamilton fought in the Battle of White Plains and the Battle of Trenton.
He served four years as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Alexander Hamilton led a bayonet attack at night capturing Redoubt No. 10 which helped the Continental Army win the Battle of Yorktown, October 19, 1781.
And I thought it was a movie starring Dennis Weaver.
This gave pistol dueling to settle minor personal spats a bad name.
Sadly, at that same place three years earlier, Alexander Hamilton's son Philip Hamilton was killed in a duel with George Eacker, November 22, 1801.
Philip Hamilton was defending his father's honor after Eacker, a supporter of Jefferson, had denigrated him in a speech at Columbia University.
The two had run into each other outside a play at New York's Park Theater, resulting in a hostile, screaming confrontation, and the challenge of a duel, where Philip was killed.
BTW, Aaron Burr was the grandson of the famous and greatly respected American theologian Jonathan Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 March 22, 1758) was an American revivalist preacher, philosopher, and Congregationalist Protestant theologian. Edwards is widely regarded as one of the America’s most important and original philosophical theologians. Edwards’ theological work is broad in scope, but he was rooted in Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life’s work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 173335 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. His theological work gave rise to a distinct school of theology known as the New England theology.
Edwards delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a classic of early American literature, during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield’s tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which inspired thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the United States.
I believe society would be improved if dueling were legal.
Free Speech — say what you want to say. I can’t go to court and stop you. But, if I am truly “offended” by your remarks, I can challenge you to a duel.
I think there would be a lot fewer “offended” people.
Yep. And potentially are lot fewer "offenders," as in offenders/offended men only do it once.
Also, "an armed society is a polite society." (or used to be)
Nowadays too many people ‘offended’ by anything. We have people climbing thru drive-thru windows because they are out of something or “didn’t get enough” of something.
It won’t work in a culture where so many are offended by so much. Too many folks not trying to offend will be targeted by those who are perpetually offended by everything.
I was watching an episode of “Drunk History” a couple of weeks ago and they told the story of the feud between Hamilton and Burr.
I actually learned something from it as funny as it was.
This article is all pro-Hamilton, including the story that he intentionally fired into the air. There is an entirely different pro-Burr side of the story. Interestingly, Burr easily could have been President if Agee votes had gone this way or that. What is not in dispute is thatBurr was one of the most respected and famous attorneys of his time. After his trial for treason in which he was defended by John Marshall, he opened a law office in NYC. Potential clients lined up on the street!
Thanks for posting this interesting thread and article, Perserverando.
Thanks for the extra history lesson.
I always learn stuff here.
Thank you. Interesting! John Marshall defended Burr.
The Founding Fathers were some very interesting men.
Hamilton provided the pistols and they had been tampered with to ensure quick-fire. Hamilton fired and missed (the idea that he fired in the air is wrong). Burr fired and hit. The pistols were the subject of a Smithsonian magazine article of some years ago, and they were x-rayed for that article. It is generally known that the duel was not just one involving political enemies; it is very rarely written that Hamilton had implied that Burr had enjoyed sexual relations with his highly educated daughter.
Pretty sure Chief Justice John Marshall presided over the trial. John Wickham was Burr’s chief counsel
Burr trial was very important, set security & executive & jurisprudence standards still in use today.
Raceguns. Laser sights. Yikes
Muzzle loaders duels had a certain logic to them.
Thanks, Reily, I got that confused about John Marshall. The rest of my post I rate “Mostly True.” LOL
For an interesting and fun read about Burr, nothing is better than reading Gore Vidal’s “Burr.” I can’t believe I would ever like anything this flaming liberal did, but “Burr” was recommended to me by another staunch conservative. I am so glad I read it, if for no other reason than the historical period is portrayed so wonderfully by Vidal. He uses a huge amount of actual letters and documents from the period. 90% of the book is historically accurate - the remaining 10% Vidal makes up anyway he wants to weave a twisted tale.
In his book (novel, really) “Burr,” Gore Vidal has Burr explaining that Hamilton didn’t miss on purpose: “His hand shook; mine never does.” It was funny in context.
I was shocked too about how much I liked that book!
I also liked his Lincoln. If I remember this right Vidal had a personal family connection to Lincoln. I also liked his Julian. (Historical novel on a fascinating take on a Late Roman Emperor!) I enjoy books on the late Empire/Classical period and I found that one quite good!
Did not like 1876 or Empire. They seemed to reflect too much of the author’s repulsive personality.
Yes, one of the very few positive posts at FR for a great man.
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