Born in 1756, Aaron Burr is noted in American history as the third Vice President of the country. He was Vice President during the Thomas Jefferson presidential years.
Aaron Burr is one of the most notorious names in American history as he engaged in a deadly duel with Alexander Hamilton which resulted in the untimed death of the latter. He was known for his passion for becoming the President of the US and if life had been kind, he would have achieved what he wanted most.
This biography is dedicated to the life, struggles and achievements of Aaron Burr.
Childhood And Early Life Of Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr was born in New Jersey, America on February 6 in 1756. He was born under the name Aaron Burr Jr. but was mostly know in greater part of his life as Aaron Burr.
He opened his eyes into a rich and reputable family of the 17th century and enjoyed many privileges in the initial years of his life.
His father was Aaron Burr Sr. was a popular name of those days as he was the President of College of New Jersey (Present day Princeton University).
His mother Esther Edwards came from a reputed noble family herself and was deeply involved with religion throughout her life.
Unfortunate and unfair life is at times as Aaron Burr lost both his parents at the tender age of 2. He had one younger sister and both of them were then looked after his maternal Uncle Timothy Edwards. This way he was never deprived of wealth or the good fortunes of life throughout his childhood.
His family had always actively participated in politics and religion and Burr later followed the footsteps of his ancestors into the world of Politics.
With a passion for excelling forward, Aaron Burr could not wait to get into college and tried for admission when he was just 11 years old. His application for enrollment was however turned down. He tried again at the age of 13 and was successful this time around.
Aaron Burr enrolled himself in the College of New Jersey initially to study theology but soon shifted focus towards law and transferred his major. He graduated in merely three years with a degree in law. Burr was always a sharp little boy with a passion for politics running through his blood.
Aaron Burr – Personal Life
When Burr was a young aged officer, just beginning his career he met Theodosia Prevost, who would be his future wife and was at the time married to a British officer.
Both fell head over heels in love with each other despite the huge age difference between them; Theodosia was ten years older to Burr.
Their love continued as an extramarital affair for Theodosia till 1781, when her husband passed away. This was the year when Burr tied the knot with her. Theodosia later gave birth to their only child, a girl, in 1783. Although he and his wife had four children together, only one survived with the remaining three either being aborted or born dead. Both remain happily married to each other and lived a peaceful life until the year 1794 when Theodosia died a natural death at home.
Burr remained a widower for the rest of his life, apparently mourning his much-beloved wife.
However, there were plentiful rumors about infidelity and disloyalty on Burr’s behalf during his married years to Theodosia. Despite the rumors, Burr remained loyal to the memory of his late wife and raised his daughter as a single parent.
Tragedy struck in 1812 and Burr suffered yet another irreplaceable loss when his daughter was brutally killed in a shipwreck.
Aaron Burr – Professional Life
On a professional front, the life of Aaron Burr is divided into three distinct parts; military life as a serving officer, as a serving lawyer and a comprehensive political career.
This biography reviews both professional fronts.
There will be a repeated mention of Alexander Hamilton while talking about the professional life of Aaron Burr. He is also mentioned whenever Alexander Hamilton biography is penned down because both play a major role in each other’s life, as a professional conflict had led to the death of Hamilton in 1804.
Aaron Burr – Military Life
As soon as Aaron Burr graduated from the College of New Jersey, he enrolled himself in a law program at Litchfield Law School. However, this degree was cut short due to the Revolutionary war.
This made Burr join the forces as a volunteer soldier. He first joined the military in 1775 as a member of the team of Benedict Arnold and his first military experience was in Quebec. His passion and excellence led him to the rank of Major by 1776. It took him only a single year to be promoted to the rank of a Major from the position of a serving volunteer.
He was also placed as the security for George Washington at his home due to his superior skills.
However, he was not able to get along well with George Washington because of his headstrong nature and was transferred to the Camp of Putnam. He continued to excel from one rank to another until 1779 when he decided to retire from the commission. He led many campaigns and evacuation successfully.
However by 1779, he felt he did not have the strength or health anymore to serve in the military field any longer. He resigned from the military in 1779. This marked the end of his military career which was short lived from 1775 to 1179.
Life As A Practicing Lawyer
After resignation from the military forces in 1779, Aaron Burr returned to continue his degree in Law which had been previously cut short because of the Revolutionary war.
In 1780 he enrolled himself for another two-year law program.
By early 1783, he was serving nationwide as licensed practicing lawyer.
He secured a position in the attorney bar of New York and began a private practice. This was the same year when he had married his wife Theodosia and began a family life with her as well. Up till now, life had been very rewarding for Burr with only one unfulfilled wish – his passion for earning a name in the world of politics.
When he began practicing law in New York in 1783, he shared his practicing years with Alexander Hamilton.
Both were intelligent and capable men and were never much fond of each other.
Both maintained a professional relationship with a distance kept intact between them.
By 1789, Burr had earned himself a big name as a very successful attorney. He charged a handsome sum for each case that he fought and this was the money which allowed him to enjoy a luxurious life for himself and his family.
It was not until 1791 till Burr found a way to enter into Politics. In 1791, Aaron Burr defeated General Philip Schuyler who the father of Alexander Hamilton’s wife.
This marked the beginning of two things.
One was the extensive political career of Aaron Burr and second was the long-term rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
This rivalry was to result in the infamous Burr and Hamilton Duel.
By defeating General Philip Schuyler, Burr secured a seat for himself in the US senate. But the following six years as the active Senator for the State, Burr was unable to perform proficiently which led to his reputation deteriorating amongst the people.
This is why he lost the re-elections that were held six years later. Six years later, a reelection was conducted between Schuyler and Burr for the same seat in the Senate, which Burr lost this time around.
Burr blamed his defeat on Hamilton; crediting jealousy on behalf of Hamilton He also blamed Hamilton for turning people against him by spreading false rumors to damage his reputation.
This only added to the rivalry and brewing hatred between Hamilton and Burr.
This followed Burr to pursue his passion for becoming the President of the United States in 1800.
He ran for the presidency against Thomas Jefferson in 1800. Both men received equal votes through electoral voting which left the House of Representatives to make a final decision concerning who will be the new president of the country. A member of the House of Representatives was Alexander Hamilton who was vocal about his dislike for Burr and favored Jefferson to be voted as the President for the country.
After an ongoing debated for several days on a stretch, the final results were declared. Burr was made Vice President for the country while Jefferson was voted as the President. This made Aaron Burr to be the third Vice President of the country.
This led Aaron Burr to believe that it was because of Hamilton that he had lost his chance to become the President. Once again, Burr blamed Hamilton for his failure and this increased the hatred that was already a lot between the two men.
During the courtship when both men were running for the presidency, Jefferson had lost his faith in Aaron Burr because of his notorious reputation and was thus not happy to see him elected as the Vice President to himself.
This made Jefferson put most of his trust into Hamilton which was offensive to Burr.
Moreover, Aaron Burr was left out of important State decisions since Jefferson preferred Hamilton over him even though Burr was the acting Vice President. All of this was not digestible for Burr and he decided to confront Hamilton and ask him once and for all why he was turning every card against him.
Confrontation And Duel With Alexander Hamilton
Burr upset with the ongoing situation decided to confront Hamilton and have a discussion with him for why he was turning all tables against him.
Burr tried to talk to Hamilton on several occasions but Hamilton did not feel the need to explain himself to Burr as he did not hold himself responsible for any of Burr’s professional failures.
He had never shared a good bond with Hamilton and Hamilton’s resistance to clear out things only infuriated Burr further. This bitterness and hatred started to grow to a point where it would only explode backward.
On July 11, 1804, Hamilton and Burr met in New Jersey. The meeting quickly turned into a heated argument and then a fight between two young, angry men. Both men have possessed pistols at the time of the duel which led Hamilton being shot. This left Hamilton badly injured and he was unable to survive the wounds and died the following day. This entire situation left Aaron Burr as the Bad guy in front of the people of America.
The last straw to damage his reputation was the fact that Burr had actually fled in fear of being caught and charged with murder.
Flee To The West
The murder of Hamilton had left Aaron Burr in an awful situation.
He was unable to complete his years as the serving Vice President of the States. He had no option but to flee the country and travel to the west.
However, Burr was still charged for murder and held for trial during the year 1807. Moreover, he was charged with fleeing the Spanish the territory without authorization. This led to him being charged as for terrorism and suspect of the criminal act.
The murder of Hamilton and further terrorism and conspiracy charges completely destroyed the political career of Aaron Burr.
Final Years Of Life And Death
Several years later, with his professional career destroyed and his wealth that he had earned and inherited from his father running out, Burr made a very rash decision. He made a decision to marry a wealth widow name Eliza Jumel. This marriage, however, failed very badly. In the coming few years, he suffered several strokes and his health deteriorated badly. Aaron Burr died on September 14, 1836.