Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Burr-Hamilton Duel

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On this day in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and mortally wounded former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr made the challenge to Hamilton in order to defend his honour against some scurrilous rumours Hamilton was said to be spreading. The precise nature of this rumor has never been substantiated, but it may have contained an allusion to incest committed by Vice President Burr with his sister. Rumour or not, Burr and Hamilton had been far from friendly for years...

Though charged with murder in both New York and New Jersey, Burr never faced trial in either instance. His career in shambles, he ended his life in 'exile', first in South Carolina, then Philadelphia, Missouri, and finally New York City, where he died in 1836.

Following the duel Hamilton was carried to the home of William Bayard, where the next day he died; he was later interred in Lower Manhattan's Trinity Churchyard Cemetery.
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