The Jefferson Presidency
Aaron Burr in The Jefferson Presidency
Aaron Burr (1756-1836) served as vice president of the United States from 1801 to 1805. During the Revolution, he participated in the failed invasion of Canada and served on General George Washington's staff. After the war, he quickly rose in New York state politics; Thomas Jefferson selected him as his running mate in the 1800 election in order to secure the votes of that pivotal state.
Burr actually tied Jefferson in the presidential election, forcing the contest into the House of Representatives. Federalists plotted to hand the election to Burr in exchange for influence. Burr's failure to immediately reject these overtures angered Jefferson. In 1805, Jefferson replaced Burr on the Republican ticket with George Clinton.
In 1804, Burr challenged his Federalist rival Alexander Hamilton to a duel upon learning the former Secretary of the Treasury had attacked his integrity. In their duel, Hamilton was killed.
In 1806, Burr joined a plot that led to his being tried for treason. He was accused of trying to break off the southwestern states from the Union; in defense, Burr argued that he was only trying to bring Mexico into the Union. Acquitted in his trial, Burr spent the next four years in Europe before returning to the United States in 1812. He practiced law in New York until his death in 1836.