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Aaron Burr Duel

Thomas Jefferson

Aaron Burr Duel: Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd American President who served in office from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809. One of the most shocking events of his presidency was the Aaron Burr duel with Alexander Hamilton.

Aaron Burr Duel with Alexander Hamilton
The events that finally led to the Aaron Burr duel with Alexander Hamilton had been building up for many years.
The enmity between the political antagonists culminated in the most famous duel in American History. The duel was held in Weehawken, New Jersey on July 11, 1804 at 7.00am.  Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), famous as America's first Secretary of the Treasury, was fatally shot by Vice President Aaron Burr (1756 1836).

Aaron Burr Duel - What was a duel?
Definition: A duel was formal armed combat between two people, usually fought with deadly weapons such as pistols, in order to settle a point of honor.

Aaron Burr Duel
The Aaron Burr Duel had been caused by personal animosity and political rivalry. The facts about the Aaron Burr duel with Alexander Hamilton are detailed below. Duels were not uncommon and the cliffs below Weehawken on the Hudson River (where the Hamilton - Burr duel occurred) were a popular field of honor for New York duelists because of the uncertainty of whether New Jersey or New York jurisdiction applied. The location of duels were chosen to avoid interruption by the authorities and ensure jurisdictional ambiguity to avoid any legal consequences.

Facts about the Aaron Burr Duel for kids
Before the duel both men would have put their affairs in order and written their will. Interesting facts about the Aaron Burr Duel are as follows:

Who was Aaron Burr? Aaron Burr had run for the presidency but been defeated and was given the role of Vice President

Who was Alexander Hamilton? Alexander Hamilton was a famous politician who had held the position of America's first Secretary of the Treasury

What was the reason for the duel? Alexander Hamilton had called Vice President Aaron Burr "a dangerous man, and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government" which had been printed in a newspaper. Aaron Burr requested an immediate retraction and apology but Alexander Hamilton refused.

What was the location of the Aaron Burr Duel? Weehawken, New Jersey

What time was the Aaron Burr Duel? Duels traditionally took place at dawn and the Aaron Burr Duel started at 7.00am

What was the name of Aaron Burr's second? William P. Van Ness

What was the name of Alexander Hamilton's second? Nathaniel Pendleton

What was the name of the attending physician? The name of the doctor was Dr. David Hosack

How many paces were between the men in the Aaron Burr Duel? 10 paces - the fewer the paces, the worse the insult

Did the Alexander Hamilton fire a shot? No. His pistol un-discharged and still cocked. He told the doctor that he never intended to take a shot

How did the Alexander Hamilton die? The ball of the pistol ball lodged next to his spine. He died in considerable pain the following day.

What was the reaction to the shooting? People were outraged but Aaron Burr was let off and completed his term as Vice President

How old were the duelists? Alexander Hamilton was 47 years old and Aaron Burr was 48 years old.

US American History
1801-1828: Evolution Era

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Updated 2018-01-01

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