The most infamous duel in the history of the United States took place in a secluded spot in Weehawken, New Jersey that is just “upstream from the modern-day Lincoln Tunnel,” on a very narrow edge underneath a 150 foot cliff. The setting alone is worthy of a movie production, and adds on the fact that the duel took place between two of the most prominent and important figures in American history, only adds to the drama. The duel took place between then second-ranking official in the federal government, Vice-president Aaron Burr and Federalist Party head leader, Alexander Hamilton.
The conflict that started the duel is one that initially comes off as petty and personal. On the surface the duel came about because Aaron Burr was tired of hearing Alexander Hamilton insulting him in the papers and in public. Hamilton had apparently been running his mouth for years. The hostility began in 1789, when Burr took office from Governor George Clinton as the attorney general in New York after switching from the losing federalist side where he had been campaigning with Hamilton against Clinton. This angered Hamilton because he felt it was a treacherous move that showed the moral fiber that made up Burr’s character. The office and recognition catapulted him into a race for the senate seat two years later in 1791, where he would defeat the federalist candidate and Alexander Hamilton’s father in law Philip Schuyler. Aaron Burr would use his title as Senator to undermine the federalist agenda anytime he had a chance. He opposed Hamilton’s fiscal policies (Although Hamilton would prove to be the single most important person in the United Stated history when it comes to money and government). He also used his position as Senator to block “a disputed gubernatorial election in New York against Hamilton’s candidate.” The most damaging blow in the conflict leading up to the duel came in 1800, when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same amount of... [continues]
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