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Aaron Burr

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Aaron Burr

Burr, Aaron (1756-1836), third vice president of the United States (1801-5).
Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, on February 6, 1756, and educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), of which his father had been president. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Retiring in 1779 because of ill health, he was admitted to the bar in New York City in 1782 and achieved a reputation as one of the foremost lawyers of that city. Burr was appointed attorney general of New York in 1789 and served as U.S. senator from 1791 to 1797. He was a leader of the old Republican Party, which later became the Democratic-Republican Party, a position that brought Burr into conflict with his professional rival, the Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton.
In the presidential election of 1800 Burr ran with the Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson. Each received the same number of votes in the electoral college, and, according to Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution, the election was decided by the House of Representatives, which chose Jefferson as president and Burr vice president. In 1804 Burr failed to win renomination as vice president and also failed to win the governorship of New York State because of the forceful opposition of Hamilton. Hamilton for years had attacked Burr publicly and privately, and Burr eventually challenged him to a duel. They fought in Weehawken, New Jersey, on July 11, 1804. Hamilton was killed, and Burr was discredited. He then became involved in a scheme that made his political recovery hopeless. The so-called Burr conspiracy still remains a mystery, because no one knows what Burr's intentions were. He purchased land in the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and apparently planned to invade Spanish territory if, as expected, war developed between Spain and the U.S. His plan, allegedly, was either to establish a separate republic in the Sout...

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