Most Famous Duel/Murder In American History Happened In New Jersey
In our continuing series of famous people, places and things in New Jersey … here is the story about the most famous duel - murder in American history and the fact that it occurred in New Jersey.
On July 11, 1804, United States Vice President Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel that took place in Weehawken, New Jersey.
Hamilton died the next day, succumbing to wounds suffered when he was shot in the abdomen.
History is rather unclear, whether or not Hamilton deliberately missed Burr with his gun shot.
In the election of 1800 for President of The United States, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr finished in a tie in the Electoral College.
It took 36 ballots in the United States House of Representatives for Jefferson to win the presidency, with the help of Hamilton.
Hamilton convinced his fellow Federalists to support Jefferson over Burr.
In those days, the candidate with the highest number of electoral votes became president and the candidate with the second highest number of electoral votes became the vice president.
Jefferson went on to marginalize Burr as Vice President.
Many, if not most people believe that Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel, because of Hamilton‘s support of Jefferson over Burr for President.
According to the encyclopedia Britannica, this is not the case … saying that “the immediate cause of the duel was disparaging remarks Hamilton had allegedly made about Burr at a dinner.”
Further, Britannica reports that “Hamilton and Burr had an acrimonious relationship that dated to 1791, when Burr defeated Hamilton's father-in-law, Gen. Philip John Schuyler, for a seat in the United States Senate.”
Here are some fabulous photos (below) of the New Jersey duel site, taken by my good friend Vince Benedetto, the owner, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Bold Gold Media Group.
Burr knew that he would not be renominated to run for Vice President in the election of 1804.
Burr attempted a political comeback in 1804, switched political parties and became a Federalist. Hamilton thwarted Burr yet again and he lost his attempt at becoming Governor of New York.
Duels were illegal in both New York and New Jersey at the time … however, it was not as strictly enforced in New Jersey … so, Burr chose The Garden State for his duel with Hamilton.
Hamilton agreed to duel Burr in Weehawken on a secluded ledge above the Hudson River. This area had become a popular dueling spot.
Hamilton survived for about 31 hours following his being shot by Burr. Hamilton was surrounded by his family at the time of his death.
Burr was indicted for murdering Hamilton. Burr fled to Philadelphia following the duel.
Burr never faced a trial for murdering Hamilton, however, Burr was tried for Treason in 1807, however, he was acquitted a trial.
Burr led the rest of his unremarkable life under a cloud of suspicion.
Burr died on September 14, 1836 at the age of 80.
On the other hand, because of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical named “Hamilton,” which became a Broadway blockbuster … Hamilton has become a pop culture icon … with the duel with Burr being the climax of the play.
SOURCE: Encyclopedia Britannica.
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