On July 11, back in 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
Talk about your political scandals!
Burr was VP under Thomas Jefferson, his most famous political duty was sitting chair at the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.
Jefferson wasn’t so crazy about his Veep, and had planned to drop him from the ticket in the next election. Burr, none to happy, started mouthing off and one thing lead to another, until Alexander Hamilton, George Clinton (Gov. of NY), and a few others started talking trash about Aaron. Allegedly, Hamilton said that Burr “…was a dangerous man, and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government.”
Aaron was pissed.
He eventually challenged Hamilton to a duel even though dueling had been outlawed in New York. Hamilton, hesitant since his son Philip had died in a duel only three years earlier, knew that he had to show UP or lose face in politics.
The men met, faced off, paced off, and shot off. Hamilton’s bullet missed Burr. But Burr, the better shot, hit Hamilton in the abdomen above the hip, piercing his spine and liver.
With medicine being what it was, it was only a matter of time. Hamilton was moved to New York to receive friends and clergy who desperately urged him to be baptized.
Burr was charged with murder and numerous other crimes, but never tried. The New Jersey charges were dropped since although Hamilton had been shot in NJ, he died in NY! He fled to South Carolina, where dueling is still OK, and hid out with his daughter.
He didn’t stay long, returning to Washington, DC to finish out his term as Vice President!
He did however; avoid New York and New Jersey.
He was never tried, never convicted, never punished for the crime. But he was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, you might remember him from American Lit Class, he was the “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” guy.