- NAME: Aaron Burr
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: February 06, 1756
- DEATH DATE: September 14, 1836
- EDUCATION: College of New Jersey, Litchfield Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Newark, New Jersey
- PLACE OF DEATH: Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York
- Full Name: Aaron Burr Jr.
- AKA: Aaron Burr
Best Known For
Aaron Burr was the third vice president of the United States, serving under President Thomas Jefferson. Burr fatally shot his rival, Alexander Hamilton, during a duel.
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Born on February 6, 1756, in Newark, New Jersey, Aaron Burr was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1791. In 1800, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. presidency, and became vice president instead. During a duel in 1804, Burr killed Alexander Hamilton. In 1807, he was charged with conspiracy, which ruined his political career. In 1812, he rebuilt his law practice. Burr died on September 14, 1836, on Staten Island, New York.
"Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained."
"I was only 30 years too soon. What was treason in me 30 years ago is patriotism today."
Aaron Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, on February 6, 1756, to a long line of English gentry who had been active in politics. Burr's father was a Presbyterian minister and the president of the College of New Jersey. After the loss of both of his parents, Burr and his sister went to live with their wealthy maternal uncle.
In 1769, at the age of 13, Burr enrolled at the College of New Jersey, graduating summa cum laude in only three years.
After graduating from the College of New Jersey, Burr began attending Litchfield Law School in Connecticut. His studies were soon put on hold, however, with the start of the Revolutionary War.
As a revolutionary soldier, Burr joined Benedict Arnold's men in their expedition to Quebec. By the spring of 1776, Burr had achieved the rank of major, and was appointed to serve under George Washington at his home in New York. He eventually transferred to the staff of General Israel Putnam, under whom he fulfilled an array of posts until he retired from his commission in 1779.
The following year, Burr returned to studying law. In 1782, he became a licensed attorney and was admitted to the bar. After opening a successful private practice in Albany, New York, Burr moved to New York City, where he would spend the next six years practicing law. In 1789, he was appointed attorney general of New York.
In 1791, Burr beat General Philip Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton's father-in-law, for a seat in the U.S. Senate. This marked the onset of an ongoing rivalry between Burr and Hamilton. After six years in the Senate, Burr lost re-election to Schuyler. Bitter about the loss, Burr blamed Hamilton for ruining his reputation and turning voters against him.
In 1800, Burr ran for the U.S. presidency against Thomas Jefferson. Because the opponents received the same amount of electoral votes, members of the House of Representatives were left to determine the winner. When the House met to discuss the election, Burr's rival, Hamilton, vocalized his support for Jefferson and his disapproval of Burr. In the end, Jefferson secured the presidency and Burr became vice president. Burr was incensed, believing that Hamilton had manipulated the vote in Jefferson's favor.
Nearing the end of his term as vice president, Burr ran for the governorship of New York, but lost. Again, he blamed Hamilton for besmirching him as a candidate, and, eager to defend his honor, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted, and the face-off took place on the morning of July 7, 1804; it ended when Burr shot Hamilton to death.
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