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Profile of the Day: Aaron Burr

On this day in 1756, Aaron Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey. Although he served as the third Vice President of the United States, Burr is perhaps best remembered for killing his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.

Image: Aaron Burr / New York Public Library

Burr was the second child of Esther Edwards and the Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr., who was the second president of the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University). His maternal grandfather was Jonathan Edwards, a prominent theologian.

During the 1800 presidential elections, Burr and Thomas Jefferson were running mates for the Democratic-Republican party. At the time, the House of Representatives did a separate vote to determine who would become president and vice president. When the initial votes were cast, Burr and Jefferson were tied. Instrumental to breaking the deadlock was Alexander Hamilton, who persuaded members to vote for Jefferson. When the final vote was cast, Jefferson was elected President and Burr became Vice President.

The tension between Hamilton and Burr continued to the end of Burr’s term in office in 1804. After it was clear Jefferson would not support Burr’s nomination for a second term, Burr made a failed attempt at running for governor of New York. Hamilton had campaigned hard against Burr during the election. Angered by Hamilton’s continued character attacks, Burr challenged him to a duel. On July 11, 1804, Burr shot Hamilton, who died of his wounds the next day.

Although charges against Burr for Hamilton’s death were eventually dropped, Burr’s political career had come to an end.

Burr died on September 14, 1836 at the age of 80.

Explore Aaron Burr’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related!

View Aaron Burr’s Geni Profile

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