There are no second thoughts that the deadly Alexander Hamilton duel with Aaron Burr is hands down the most notorious and talk about duel in the history of United States.
The duel between the treasury secretary and Vide President to the State was the talk of the town for many decades to come and is still the case.
Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel took place on a late summer afternoon on July 11 in the year of 1804 and resulted in the death of Alexander Hamilton the next day as he had gotten severely injured during the fight. Both Hamilton and Burr had been rivals for many years, and thus this led to many speculations about what happened, why it happened and how it happened.
There were many reasons, on a part of both men that were credited to this duel that took the life of Hamilton.
But as it is said, everything that is heard is not to be believed.
This article will offer you a complete insight into an account of the incident. You will understand then what led to this incident and what followed.
Why Is The Alexander Hamilton Duel So Famous?
The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr is famous for many reasons:
1. It was melodramatic; it was historic for the American history, and it was deadly.
2. It took the life of Alexander Hamilton at a young age, just mid-way of his career. Since this duel has been talked about a lot in history, this makes it very falsely reported as well.
3. There have been many discussions about what led two politically powerful, educated and accomplished men fight crazily in a middle of town. It is weird that though duels were very famous in America at that time and prior to that particular era, only the duel between Hamilton and Burr made it down into several pages of history.
4. The result of this duel was kind at all. Hamilton died in a case of clear murder and Burr fled, destroying his political career and reputation that had taken him years to build.
When Did The Alexander Hamilton Duel Happen?
The Alexander Hamilton duel took place on a lazy summer afternoon of July in the year 1804. This was when both men had agreed to meet to clear out their political differences but things did not go as planned or intended.
Both men were armed, and both took out their pistols.
Though Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of treasury and Burr was the Vice President of America, yet Hamilton always had a more important and valued political position in comparison to the latter. Hamilton was favored over Burr by Jefferson who the President of United States at the time and this angered Burr.
More so, Burr was defeated by the father-in-law of Hamilton in the re-elections for the seat of the senator. Burr led to believe that Hamilton was the one who turned everyone against him. He had always blamed Hamilton to turn the cards on him, ever since their early law practicing days.
These were the core reasons that led to the both men engage in a deadly duel in July of 1804. What came out of the duel is secret to nobody.
Alexander Hamilton death was the unfortunate outcome of this event.
Reason Behind Alexander Hamilton Duels With Aaron Burr
There is not one, but two possible reasons behind the Alexander Hamilton duel with Aaron Burr.
The two possible reasons for the duel include the re-elections that left Burr defeated and the second reason was the insult Burr suffered on a professional level.
Aaron Burr blamed everything on Hamilton and wanted to get some answers. Hamilton, on the other hand, felt that Burr was acting very stupidly and cowardly. Burr was unable to digest his failure and wanted to blame it on someone else.
The rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had always persisted ever since their early law days. This rivalry grew for fifteen years and turned into the political rivalry.
Burr ran for the presidency and lost to Jefferson.
He stood for elections against General Phillips Schuyler, who was the father-n-law of Hamilton and lost again.
Burr blamed all this on Hamilton’s interference.
Moreover, Hamilton had passed some insulting remarks about Burr publically which were printed in the newspaper. Burr confronted Hamilton with proof of the newspaper clippings. Hamilton’s resistance and arrogance despite Burr’s attempts to learn out things with him further angered Burr.
The last blow was when despite his efforts, Burr lost the public elections to General Phillip. General was family to Hamilton and Burr was sure that Hamilton had interfered and caused damage to his reputation. Burr was unable to cope with this damage to his reputation and resulted in public humiliation.
These are a few reasons that are viewed as an underlying cause for Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel.
Motive Of Aaron Burr
Even in the modern world today, whenever there is a fight or case of murder, one of the basic things that are talked about and brought into focus is the motive of the murderer.
Although Aaron Burr did not intentionally kill Hamilton, he is still the man who murdered a political hero. Burr had to face the resulting consequences as well.
So what was the motive of Aaron Burr that drove him into doing something so crazy? Did he really want to kill his opponent?
The answer might surprise you.
The answer is no; he did not intend to kill Alexander Hamilton.
Political and professional rivalry though was great between the two famous men, but it had never reached a point where either one would have wanted to kill the other one.
Historians have discussed the possibility of the fact that if only Hamilton had actually sat down to discuss and clear out his difference with Burr, this deadly duel might never have happened at all.
But then Alas, what is destined to happen can never be reversed.
The motive of Burr throughout the series of event that led to this duel was only to confront Hamilton to clear out the doubts he had in his mind.
Was he blaming Hamilton for his failures and the damage his reputation was suffering?
He had through many sources found out that Alexander Hamilton was involved in defaming him and cutting off his links which would help him to go forward in his political career. He had proof that not only was Hamilton meddling with the political decisions that were being taken but was also publically trashing the reputation of Burr. Aaron Burr believed that Hamilton was only acting on enmity that had brewed between both men ever since their early professional days when they practiced law in New York.
However since things turned out to be rather unfortunate and Hamilton died, people were quick to dub Burr as the villain and the ‘bad guy’ whereas reality could be entirely different if things were seen from a broader perspective.
Consequences Burr Had To Face Post-Duel
The duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was deadly and a much unfortunate event of life. It resulted in the untimely and early death of Hamilton at the hands of Burr.
This is a life event which is always mentioned in the Alexander Hamilton biography, but there are many who also question the life and circumstances of Burr post the duel.
Aaron Burr always had a controversial life, and it became even more so after he was accused of murdering the treasury secretary or America. The last straw to his reputation was when Burr decided to flee rather than stay and take responsibility for his action. As Vice President of America, he did not even try to clear the dust off his actions.
His political came to an end with the death of Hamilton in 1804.
Aaron Burr was found in Mexico sometimes later with a group of men. The government officials immediately assumed that he was plotting another ‘murderous act’ and Burr was charged with the trial.
To escape the increasing pressure of acquisitions, blames and his dreadful fate, Burr decided to leave the country for good.
He went to Europe for in 1807, three years after the death of Hamilton and remained in Europe for almost 6 years.
This was the punishment he had decided for himself.
During his stay in Europe, he remarried, but the marriage did not last for long. Saddened by the twists and turns of his life, Burr gave up on the self-exile he had chosen for himself and returned to his own country; America.
This time around he did not try his luck with politics (much to his despair) and began formally practicing law once more time. The difference was simple; this time, he was solely dedicated to law.
Unluckily, his reputation had been badly damaged up to this point which brought him very little success in law.
Thirty-two years after the Alexander Hamilton duel and after over three decades full of struggles, ill-fate, controversies, and hardships, Aaron Burr died on in September of 1836.