As we gear up for one of America’s most momentous elections, we look back on the man so bad at politics that he changed the way American elections worked forever. Meet Aaron Burr, the guy who caused so much chaos that America not only had to amend its own constitution to stop his shenanigans, it had to set its legal definition of treason after he attempted to create a new country just to rule it. Hamilton fans, get ready for the wild story of what happened after the musical ended. Politics junkies, enjoy the story of the man whose misbehavior set many of the precedents we’re still fighting about in presidential elections today.
Featured image: Portrait of Aaron Burr, painted by John Vanderlyn. (Image source)
A picture from 1790 showing Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and Philip Schuyler strolling on Wall Street. (Image source)
Portraits of Aaron Burr and his daughter Theodosia. (Image source)
An illustration from a 1900s history book of the duel between Burr and Hamilton. Due to laws against dueling at the time, all the witnesses to the duel deliberately turned their backs, but the general historical consensus is that Hamilton did miss deliberately. (Image source)
Leslie Odom Jr. plays Aaron Burr in Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical take on Alexander Hamilton’s life. Miranda presents Burr as an increasingly resentful but still somewhat sympathetic figure who feels cut out of the action by the ambition as driven Hamilton. Instead of using music evocative of the Revolutionary war period and actors who looked like Hamilton and Burr, Miranda used modern musical genres and actors of color to draw parallels between Hamilton’s life story and his own life.
The song Dear Theodosia from Hamilton. It definitely hits different when you learn that Burr would go on to attempt to conquer Mexico so his daughter could be queen.
- Trial of Aaron Burr for Treason
- The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr: An Account
- The Aaron Burr Treason Trial