Aaron Burr


Aaron Burr, a lawyer and politician, was born at Newark, New Jersey in February, 1756. He graduated at Princeton in 1772 and entered the army three years later. In 1779 he resigned his commission and began to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1782, and soon acquired an extensive practice. He took an active part in politics as a Democrat, was appointed Attorney-General of New York in 1789, and was elected to the United States Senate in 1791. Jefferson and Burr were in 1800 the Democratic candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President. Receiving the same number of votes, the election, as the law then stood, devolved on the House of Representatives, which, after a spirited contest, gave Jefferson the highest position. By his efforts to supplant Jefferson in this contest Burr forfeited the regard of the Democrats. He became in 1804 a candidate for the office of Governor of New York, but was unsuccessful. Attributing his defeat to Alexander Hamilton, he challenged and killed him in a duel in July, 1804. This act excited against Burr such a terrible feeling of indignation and hostility that he absented himself from the State of New York for several years. After the expiration of his term as Vice-President, in 1805, he was charged with raising an expedition for the conquest of Mexico and the subversion of Federal authority in the south-western portion of the United States. Arrested on a charge of treason, he was tried at Richmond, Virginia, in 1807, and acquitted. He then went to Europe, where he remained in poverty for several years. He resumed the practice of law in New York in 1812, but failed to recover his former extensive business. He died in 1836.

Adapted from The Dictionary of Biography by Charles Morris

Key events during the life of Aaron Burr:

Birth of Aaron Burr.
Graduated from Princeton.
Entered the army. Rose through the ranks to lieutenant-colonel before resigning his commission.
  Studied law.
Became a lawyer.
Elected to the U.S. Senate.
Ran for presidency against Jefferson, blamed his defeat on Alexander Hamilton.
Challenged Hamilton to a duel, killed him.
  Suffered public ostracism for murder of Alexander Hamilton.
Death of Aaron Burr.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Jefferson—An American Who Wanted to be King  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Victim of a Traitor  in  Historical Tales, Vol I: American  by  Charles Morris

Image Links

The killing of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr
 in South American Fights and Fighters

The duel between Burr and Hamilton
 in Story of the Great Republic

That evening Burr asked Nolan to take him out in his skiff
 in The Man Without a Country

Short Biography