Born: February 6, 1756
Died: September 14, 1836
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
Aaron Burr will always be remembered for killing Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel.
Burr served as our third Vice President but never achieved the prominence and respect of the peers of his day. George Washington tolerated Burr but would not give him particular promotion in the army, and once Burr moved from war into politics he struggled to succeed until he got a break and became Attorney General of New York. From here he worked effortlessly to finally secure a position as Vice President under Thomas Jefferson.
Burr represents the spirit of the American dream as that hard working American, using talent and opportunity to make something for himself and his family. Burr earned a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton, had a successful law practice, and married the love of his life, a woman ten years older than him with five children. But he would constantly protest that certain political powers were trying to thwart his success at every turn. His immediate nemesis was of course the established and aristocratic Alexander Hamilton who disparaged Burr and poked endless fun of him publicly.
Burr finally faced Hamilton in that fateful duel and killed Hamilton with a single shot. While this put a mark on the pistol of the common man, Burr would be ever more doomed under the pressure of his peers who now cast him aside. Burr served the remainder of his term as VP in political exile while still maintaining excellence in his duties.
In the end of his life, Burr sought to gain respect and fortune another way. He was tried for conspiracy against the United States for attempting to muster an army and conquer the western lands of Texas which were then the domain of Spain. Even Thomas Jefferson blasted Burr and wanted him tried for high treason. Found not guilty, Burr spent his last years lamenting the death of his beloved daughter, his wife long since had died. When Burr heard about the Texas Revolution and its annex to the United States he said, "There, you see? I was right! I was only thirty years too soon. What was treason in me thirty years ago is patriotism now."
Key Quote: The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure, and pleasure my business.