What Happened To Aaron Burr After He Shot Alexander Hamilton?

By | August 31, 2020

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Illustration of the Duel Between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. (Getty Images)

Even if you haven't seen the smash Broadway musical Hamilton, you probably know that Alexander Hamilton, one of America's founding fathers and the first secretary of the treasury, was killed in a duel by then–Vice President Aaron Burr, back when it wasn't uncommon for gentlemen to settle their differences with pistols. We know what happened to Hamilton after the duel, but what about Burr? How did the duel impact his life and his political career?

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Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and Philip Schuyler strolling on Wall Street, New York 1790. (Jennie Augusta Brownscombe/Wikimedia Commons)

The Backstory

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, which was quite heated even back in the late 1700s. Hamilton was a staunch Federalist, while Burr was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. As a result, Hamilton worked hard to derail Burr's 1800 presidential campaign, and when the election ended in a tie between Burr and his opponent, Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton urged Congress to name Jefferson the winner. (As the second-place finisher, Burr was named vice president, as was customary at the time.) Tensions between Burr and Hamilton came to a head leading up to the election of 1804 when, thanks in part to Hamilton's efforts, Burr was not tapped to be Jefferson's V.P. for a second term.