And you think today’s elections are bad

A 20th century artistic rendering of the July 11, 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton by J. Mund.

On this day in 1804 former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr political rivals fought a duel to the death. Hamilton died.

The duel was then end of a long political battle between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists. The Electoral College deadlocked in the 1800 election. Hamilton’s work in the House of Representative tipped the election to Thomas Jefferson. Aaron Burr was named Vice President.

There’s some speculation that Hamilton fired to intentionally miss Burr, but that Burr did not realize that and took the fatal shot at Hamilton.

Burr was charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, the duel having taken place on the Hudson River in a place known as the Heights of Weehawken. A New Jersey grand jury idicted Burr for murder, but the New Jersey Supreme Court quashed the indictment. Burr fled to South Carolina but later returend to Washington, DC to complete his term as Vice president.

Burr died in 1812.

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