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taking

a stand

Honoring the true legacy of Aaron Burr.
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“You see. I was right!

What was [alleged] treason in me 30 years ago

is patriotism now.”

-Aaron Burr

Upon learning of fall of the Alamo, 1836

“He is my hero because of his advanced views on equality between and among the races, between the sexes, and his support of democracy and voting rights. Burr also had a good service record, a great law career, both before and after politics.”

-Rich Maroc, Esq.

Aaron Burr Association Member

AARON BURR'S

BIOGRAPHY

Aaron Burr was born on February 6, 1756, in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Esther Edwards Burr and the Reverend Aaron Burr — the second president of the College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton University. His mother was the daughter of the Reverend Jonathan Edwards, a renowned theologian. Burr graduated at the age of sixteen from the College of New Jersey as a student of theology but later switched his career track to study law. He began his military service as a volunteer in July 1775 and served during Benedict Arnold's "March to Quebec" [September 13 — November 9, 1775] He is credited with trying to carry off the body of General Richard Montgomery who was killed in action during the invasion. 

 

Burr joined the staff of George Washington in 1776 and was called to New York City. He and General Washington did not get along, and Burr left a few weeks later. On June 22, 1776, he became an aide-de-camp to General Israel Putnam, eventually seeing action in the Battle of Long Island and the evacuation of New York City. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel to Regiment in the Continental Service on June 27, 1777. He was stationed at Orange County, New York, essentially the commander of a regiment at the age of 21.

Burr spent the winter of 1777-1778 at The Ghent military outpost, near Valley Forge. After evacuating with the army on June 19, 1778, he commanded a brigade during the Battle of Monmouth (NJ). After the action there, he openly supported General Charles Lee — whom Washington had reprimanded upon finding him retreating from battle. Burr commanded his regiment, following the Monmouth Campaign, in Westchester County, New York. 

 

Burr resigned his commission on March 3, 1779, citing ill health. By the fall of 1780, he resumed his career as a student of law. On July 2, 1782, he married Mrs. Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of a British officer, who was ten years his senior. They had one daughter, Theodosia, born on June 21, 1783. Burr determined to give her an education equivalent to what a male would have received. Burr and his wife Theodosia were married for twelve years when she passed away on May 28, 1794. The younger Theodosia married Joseph Alston in 1801. He later became governor of South Carolina in 1812. 

Burr was a successful attorney in New York City. In 1785 his political career began when he was elected to the New York Assembly. In 1789 New York Governor George Clinton named him Attorney General. He was elected a U.S. senator in 1791, defeating incumbent General Philip Schuyler, who happened to be the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, which may well have contributed to the enmity between the two men. 

 

During this same period of time, Burr commenced a relationship with Mary Eugénie Emmons, a servant in his household who had been brought from Haiti to the United States by Theodosia Bartow Prevost and her first husband. Burr fathered two children with Mary Eugénie Emmons, who originally was from Calcutta, India. Louisa Charlotte Burr was born in 1788 and John (Jean) Pierre Burr was born in 1792. As adults, both Louisa Charlotte and John Pierre married free African Americans in Philadelphia. Louisa Charlotte ' s son, Frank J. Webb, wrote the second published novel by an African American, The Garies and Their Friends, which included a forward written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. John Pierre became a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a champion for African American voting rights in Pennsylvania, and for recruiting U.S. Colored Troops to fight for freedom during the Civil War.

 

Burr spent the winter of 1777-1778 at The Ghent military outpost, near Valley Forge. After evacuating with the army on June 19, 1778, he commanded a brigade during the Battle of Monmouth (NJ). After the action there, he openly supported General Charles Lee — whom Washington had reprimanded upon finding him retreating from battle. Burr commanded his regiment, following the Monmouth Campaign, in Westchester County, New York.

 

Burr resigned his commission on March 3, 1779, citing ill health. By the fall of 1780, he resumed his career as a student of law. On July 2, 1782, he married Mrs. Theodosia Bartow Prevost, the widow of a British officer, who was ten years his senior. They had one daughter, Theodosia, born on June 21, 1783. Burr determined to give her an education equivalent to what a male would have received. Burr and his wife Theodosia were married for twelve years when she passed away on May 28, 1794. The younger Theodosia married Joseph Alston in 1801. He later became governor of South Carolina in 1812.

 

Burr was a successful attorney in New York City. In 1785 his political career began when he was elected to the New York Assembly. In 1789 New York Governor George Clinton named him Attorney General. He was elected a U.S. senator in 1791, defeating incumbent General Philip Schuyler, who happened to be the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, which may well have contributed to the enmity between the two men.

 

During this same period of time, Burr commenced a relationship with Mary Eugénie Emmons, a servant in his household who had been brought from Haiti to the United States by Theodosia Bartow Prevost and her first husband. Burr fathered two children with Mary Eugénie Emmons, who originally was from Calcutta, India. Louisa Charlotte Burr was born in 1788 and John (Jean) Pierre Burr was born in 1792. As adults, both Louisa Charlotte and John Pierre married free African Americans in Philadelphia. Louisa Charlotte's son, Frank J. Webb, wrote the second published novel by an African American, The Garies and Their Friends, which included a forward written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. John Pierre became a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a champion for African American voting rights in Pennsylvania, and for recruiting U.S. Colored Troops to fight for freedom during the Civil War.

Pennsylvania, and for recruiting U.S. Colored Troops to fight for freedom during the Civil War. On August 24, 2019, the Aaron Burr Association officially acknowledged Burt's relationship with Emmons and their children with the headstone's installation on the gravesite of John Pierre Burr.

After one six-year term in the Senate, Burr ran for president in 1796, although it was understood that he was actually running as Thomas Jefferson's running mate. The rules at the time created some confusion since each candidate technically ran as an individual for president. Each elector could cast two votes for any two candidates in the race, and whoever received the most votes became president, provided he received a majority. In contrast, the runner-up became vice president, even if they were from opposing political parties. Burr came in fourth in 1796. John Adams was elected president, with Jefferson as vice president. The rules would not change until 1804 with the passage of the 12th Amendment, which decreed that electors would vote for the offices of president and vice-president separately.

In 1800 they ran again. Jefferson and Burr, members of the opposition Democratic-Republican Party, tied for first place with 73 electoral votes each. The tie was broken by the House of Representatives, which selected Jefferson as President, and Burr as Vice President, on the 36th ballot.

In 1804, Burr ran for governor of New York as an Independent but lost by a large margin to Morgan Lewis, the Democratic-Republican. A few months later, derogatory remarks about Burr, allegedly made by Alexander Hamilton at a private dinner party, were published in a newspaper. Burr asked Hamilton for either an apology or denial. Hamilton refused to supply either. As a result, Burr challenged him to a duel. On July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton met at Weehawken, New Jersey. Both fired, and Hamilton fell, mortally wounded. Burr continued to serve the remainder of his term as vice-president until March 1805.

Burr later was charged with treason in a conspiracy regarding western expansion and a possible war with Spain. He was acquitted after a trial in 1807. He sailed to England in 1808, hoping to gain support for a revolution in Mexico. He was ordered out of the country and traveled in Europe to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Paris. There he tried to garner support from Napoleon. This failed, leaving him penniless to travel home. He eventually sailed by French ship in 1811, but it was captured by the British, and he was detained in England until May 1812.

He returned to the United States and resumed his law practice in New York, but immediately faced two tragedies. His grandson Aaron Burr Alston, born in 1802, died of malaria in 1812 on his father's plantation in South Carolina. Theodosia, intending to visit her father in New York, died at sea in 1813.

 

In 1833, Burr married Eliza, the wealthy widow of Stephen Jumel. When she realized her fortune was dwindling, they separated after only four months. During the month of their first anniversary, she sued for divorce, which was granted the day he died on Staten Island on September 14, 1836.

 

Burr's funeral was held at his alma mater, Princeton, followed by burial in the Princeton cemetery where he was laid to rest with his parents and grandparents. All the college faculty and students marched in procession, and New Jersey militia units provided the honor guard. Hundreds of people attended the ceremony.

 

NOVEL FACTS

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(Image via Princeton University)

Aaron Burr took the entrance exam for Princeton at age 11 & passed, but they told him he was too young & to come back in two years. He studied the first two years’ curriculum on his own & went back at 13 & asked to be admitted as a junior since he had already covered the work. They compromised & let him in as a sophomore.

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(Image via Smithsonian Magazine)

It was Burr who introduced James Madison to to his wife, Dolley. In 1794 James Madison, Burr’s Princeton classmate, asked him for an introduction to Dolley. Burr obliged & James & Dolley hit it off & were married six months later!

 

Duel with Hamilton

Ties Jefferson in Presidential election

Introduces bill in

New York Legislature to eliminate slavery

Acquitted of treason

He joins

Revolutionary War

Aaron Burr is born

Burr dies

Aaron Burr's career & life highlights

aaron burr's complete career & Life

 

"It was a knowledge of your mind which first impressed me with respect for that of your sex ... [you inspired] the ideas which you have often heard me express in favour of female intellectual power."

-Aaron Burr

to wife Theodosia, Feb. 15, 1793,

quoted in Matthew L. Davis, ed, Memoirs of Aaron Burr, 1:362