Aaron Burr (1756–1836) was an influential politican and the third vice president of the United States. Though he had a prominent career before his rivalry with Alexander Hamilton, Burr is best remembered for killing Hamilton in a duel in 1804. Burr was born in New Jersey and educated at Princeton (then the College of New Jersey). In 1775 he joined the Continental Army to fight in the Revolutionary War. After the war, Burr practiced law in New York City and in 1784 was elected to the state assembly. He continued his political career in the US Senate as a Democratic-Republican. In 1796, he ran unsuccessfully for vice president as Thomas Jefferson’s running mate. Burr ran with Jefferson again, and nearly became president himself in the deadlocked election of 1800.

When Burr finished his term as vice president, he lost the race for governor of New York. During the campaign, Hamilton denounced Burr and attacked his character in publicly printed letters. Burr called on Hamilton to retract his statements and Hamilton refused. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel to settle the matter. On July 11, 1804, Burr shot and killed Hamilton. Burr fled to avoid arrest. While in hiding, he plotted to invade Mexico and establish a new nation. Burr’s plan was betrayed by his friend General James Wilkinson. Burr was arrested and tried for treason in 1807. He was acquitted but never regained political power and influence.

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