July 11, 1804 — Former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Vice President Aaron Burr engaged in an infamous duel in Weehawken, New Jersey today, which left Hamilton mortally wounded. He died the next day.
Though many considered Burr to be a murderer, he was never tried and allowed to complete his vice-presidential term.
Long-time political rivals, Hamilton was known to detest Burr, whom he regarded as a dangerous opportunist. When Burr ran for the vice presidency in 1796 on Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican ticket (the forerunner of the Democratic Party), Hamilton launched a series of public attacks stating, “I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career.”
By 1807, Burr found himself in legal trouble when he was brought to trial on another matter. In this case, he was suspected of leading a military charge against Spanish territory and for trying to separate territories from the US. The charges included conspiracy and high misdemeanor. Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr on the treason charge and eventually revoked this misdemeanor indictment, but the scandal left Burr’s political career in ruins.
Words of Wisdom
Nothing has given me so much chagrin as the Intelligence that the Federal party were thinking seriously of supporting Mr. Burr for president.