February 6th is Aaron Burr’s birthday! Until the musical “Hamilton” hit Broadway, most people only knew that Aaron Burr was a Vice-President and that he shot Alexander Hamilton. After Broadway, no one really wants to know much else about him, because he is the villain. Judge how much of a villain you think he was after reading these ten fun facts about Aaron Burr’s life.
- Burr was an orphan at a young age, like his nemesis, Hamilton. Aaron graduated from what is now Princeton University at 17. He’s late father had been the college’s president before his death.
- Burr served with Benedict Arnold and Continental troops to attack British controlled Quebec in 1775. Later, he and Arnold were both tried for treason, but for different reasons.
- Aaron Burr once collected investments to set up a badly needed water company for New York City, and then changed the charter to basically make the company a bank instead. This is one of the reason’s Hamilton never trusted Burr. That bank is now JP Morgan Chase.
- Burr married a woman 10 years older than himself and most historians agreed he adored her and was faithful. After her death he didn’t remarry until he was 77.
- Aaron Burr worked for political rights for women. Burr and his family were considered the first feminists in America. He was in favor of full racial equality.
- Burr helped set up a school for young women, in New York City in 1793.
- Burr’s only child, a daughter, Theodosia, was one of the few women who would have been considered “college educated” in the new Nation. Aaron Burr felt education was as important for women, as it was for men.
- Aaron Burr was the last “2nd place Vice President” for the United States. Prior to the 1804 election, the Vice Presidency was given to the man with the second highest votes. The election of 1800 resulted in a tie for President, between Burr and Jefferson. They were members of the same party. The House of Representatives broke the tie. After this election, the 12th Amendment went into effect, with the President and Vice President running on the same ticket.
- Because of the musical “Hamilton”, many believe the duel between Burr and Alexander Hamilton was a result of Hamilton siding with Jefferson in the Presidential election of 1800. It was not. Knowing that Jefferson would not select Burr as his running mate in the 1804 election, Burr, while still serving as Vice President, decided to run for Governor of New York. Hamilton helped campaign against Burr for that office, spurring the duel.
- Years after his term as Vice President, Burr was charged with treason for conspiring to use militia to take over New Orleans and to separate the Western Territories from the United States. Burr conspired with the Governor of the Louisiana Territory to take over take lands in the Louisiana Territory and Texas and create a new country. The Governor of Louisiana eventually turned him into Jefferson. No one is completely sure what Burr was up to (he was in contact with the Spanish, the British and Mexico), but there is enough evidence to show that he was up to something. Burr was convicted of a lesser misdemeanor. He then went to England and tried to start a revolution in Mexico. For more information on that adventure see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burr_conspiracy
If you would like to learn more about Vice President Burr’s life, visit www.aaronburrassociation.org.
Source: Wikipedia and www.aaronburrassociation.org