The BurrHamilton Duel- A Question of Honor or Politics

The Burr/Hamilton Duel – A Question of Honor or Politics

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The Burr/Hamilton Duel – A Question of Honor or Politics

Political temperatures in America have hit all time high with the event that has left many baffled! Alexander Hamilton is dead. He died from the gunshot wound sustained in his duel with Aaron Burr.

A rivalry that has spanned many years has had an ending none of us expected. Hamilton and Burr have had different political ideologies since their entrance into politics. With Burr being a staunch Democratic-Republican, Hamilton on the other hand was a Federalist. Their differences were first evidenced on the 1800elections when Hamilton prevailed upon the House of Representatives to have Jefferson named as president and Burr as vice-president besides the two garnering the same votes.

It did not end there as Hamilton once again campaigned against Burr in the run for the New York governor’s seat. Morgan Lewis won, thus infuriating Burr the more. Alexander Hamilton worsened the already bad situation by talking ill of Burr at a dinner party. In infuriated Burr demanded an apology from Hamilton without any success.

Letters were exchanged between the two but none would budge. Burr finally challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton was hesitant, with his son having lost his life in a duel two years earlier. However, the expectation to defend his honor as a gentleman compelled him to turn up for the challenge. On the early morning of July eleventh 1804, the two gentlemen converged at the Heights of Weehawken accompanied by their seconds to settle their scores.

It is alleged that Hamilton had vowed not to shoot at Burr. Whether this explains his missed shot no one knows. Burr on the other hand left nothing to chance and delivered a shot to Hamilton’s abdomen. An injured Hamilton passed on the following day at his physician’s home. This ended the life of the architect of the Federalists’ commercial politics.

Despite the angle of approach to the end result, it is clear that the two parties had differences running beyond their party affiliations. Politics might explain the current national mood, but the truth remains that the two were destined for divergent paths. The truth remains that the duel has left political voids that both parties will have a hard time filling.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Online, PBS. “Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr’s Duel .” American Experience. n.d. (accessed October 25, 2014).

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