Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer. He served as the third vice president of the United States during President Thomas Jefferson's first term from 1801 to 1805. Burr's legacy is defined by his famous personal conflict with Alexander Hamilton that culminated in Burr killing Hamilton in the famous Burr–Hamilton duel in 1804.
|3rd Vice President of the United States|
March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1805
|Preceded by||Thomas Jefferson|
|Succeeded by||George Clinton|
|United States Senator|
from New York
March 4, 1791 – March 3, 1797
|Preceded by||Philip Schuyler|
|Succeeded by||Philip Schuyler|
|3rd Attorney General of New York|
September 29, 1789 – November 8, 1791
|Preceded by||Richard Varick|
|Succeeded by||Morgan Lewis|
|Member of the New York State Assembly|
from New York County
July 1, 1784 – June 30, 1785
Aaron Burr Jr.
February 6, 1756
Newark, Province of New Jersey, British America
|Died||September 14, 1836 80) (aged|
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Princeton Cemetery|
(m. 1782; died 1794)
(m. 1833; div. 1836)
|Children||8 or more, including|
Theodosia Burr Alston
John Pierre Burr
Aaron Columbus Burr
|Parents||Aaron Burr Sr.|
|Relatives||Theodore Burr (cousin)|
|Education||Princeton University (AB)|
|Years of service||1775–1779|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
• Battle of Quebec
• Battle of Monmouth
Burr was born to a prominent family in New Jersey. After studying theology at Princeton, he began his career as a lawyer before joining the Continental Army as an officer in the American Revolutionary War in 1775. After leaving the service in 1779, Burr practiced law in New York City, where he became a leading politician and helped form the new Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party. As a New York Assemblyman in 1785, Burr supported a bill to end slavery, despite having owned slaves himself.
At age 26, Burr married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, who died in 1794 after twelve years of marriage. They had one daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston. Burr also had a relationship with his South Asian servant Mary Emmons, with whom he fathered two children, one a son, the abolitionist John Pierre Burr, though he never publicly acknowledged this relationship during his life.
In 1791, Burr was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1797, and he ran as a candidate in the 1800 United States presidential election. An electoral college tie between Burr and Thomas Jefferson resulted in the House of Representatives deciding in Jefferson's favor, with Burr becoming Jefferson's vice president due to receiving the second-highest share of the votes. Although Burr maintained that he supported Jefferson, the president was highly suspicious of Burr, who was relegated to the sidelines of the administration for the single term of his vice presidency.
During his last year as vice president, Burr engaged in the duel in which he fatally shot Hamilton, his political rival, near where Hamilton's son Philip Hamilton died three years prior. Although duelling was illegal, Burr was never tried, and all charges against him eventually were dropped. Nevertheless, Hamilton's death ended Burr's political career.
Burr traveled west to the American frontier, seeking new economic and political opportunities. His secretive activities led to his 1807 arrest in Alabama on charges of treason. He was brought to trial more than once for what became known as the Burr conspiracy, an alleged plot to create an independent country led by Burr, but was acquitted each time. With large debts and few influential friends, Burr left the United States to live as an expatriate in Europe. He returned in 1812 and resumed practicing law in New York City. A brief second marriage at age 77 resulted in divorce and further scandal. Handicapped by a stroke and financially ruined, Burr died at a boarding house in 1836.