Burr, Aaron


Burr, Aaron

biographical name

(born Feb. 6, 1756, Newark, N.J.—died Sept. 14, 1836, Port Richmond, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. politician, third vice president of the U.S. (1801–05). He served in the American Revolution on George Washington's staff until 1779. He had a successful law practice in New York from 1782 and served as state attorney general (1789–91) and in the U.S. Senate (1791–97). In 1800 he won the vice presidential nomination on the Jeffersonian Republican ticket. In the election, he and Thomas Jefferson received the same number of electoral college votes; under procedures then prevailing, the electors had cast their votes for both Jefferson and Burr without indicating which should be president and which vice president. The election went to the House of Representatives, which became deadlocked. Jefferson eventually was chosen president after Alexander Hamilton endorsed him; Burr became vice president. Burr resented Hamilton's action and his later effort to block Burr's nomination for governor of New York in 1804. Following some remarks by Hamilton about Burr's character, Burr challenged him to a duel, in which Hamilton was mortally wounded. Burr fled to Philadelphia, where with Gen. James Wilkinson he planned an invasion of Mexico. He was tried for treason in 1807 before John Marshall, whose narrow interpretation of the constitutional charge led to acquittal. Under a cloud, Burr left for Europe, where he tried in vain to interest English and French authorities in his scheme to conquer Florida. In 1812 he returned to New York to resume his law practice.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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