What's this old history have to do with me?
The Aaron Burr Bust in The Senate Chamber.
Here is Commentary to start discussion on how modern political and current events can draw insight from history that simply repeats itself.
Please contribute your thoughts
These thoughts do not reflect the official ABA endorsed opinion.
They are the creation of this webmaster. Do they have merit?
Burr knew that a war with Spain over Mexico would be successful if followed up by a reconstruction plan that included pioneer settlers willing to start a new life together out west after victory. Are Iraqis following Burr's pioneering actions?
Do aristocrats still have unfair control in modern America? Hamilton only spoke with aristocrats. Burr stood for the common people. Does the right face, heritage, surname, or inheritance mean more power in business and politics and social life today? If your dad went to Harvard and gives them money, should you be admitted before someone whose family didn't have advantages? Who does the bank want to hire first? Today's aristocrat from the right family? Does the private country club accept the handsome aristocrat family or the second generation immigrant with the same means to pay?
Are women still facing glass ceiling challenges 210 years after Burr insisted on equal rights for them? As he was attracted to his wife by her intellect, does the media make subservient women more attractive to today's bachelors? Does it emphasize beauty over brains?
When Burr quit as Washington's secretary to pursue military maneuvers, Washington held a grudge. Do we treat our soldiers and enforcement officers today like second class citizens for not wearing executive suits to work like "successful" citizens?
Does the print media engage in negative campaigns because voters still respond to them? The Federalist newspapers and the Democratic Republican newspapers of 200 years ago went to dramatic ends to attack their political rivals. The Bush & Kerry campaigns still use these tactics. When will this end? Can't they declare a truce?
Burr was criticized for wanting to abolish slavery in New York in 1785. These things take time he was told. How long will it take for real social equality for all people?
When Burr lost his entire family to death, he was admonished for not getting on with his career. Do we allow close relatives who have lost a loved one to grieve properly before we expect them to get back to business as usual?
The 30 second sound bite that high school history teachers have been programmed to deliver to their students has been: "Burr was an intriguer. He was a murderer. Burr was a traitor. And finally, Burr was a scoundrel. ..Now on to our next 30 second sound bite. Don't bother to dig into your history books. We haven't the time."
Have you read the book or seen the Broadway play called Wicked that won all those Tony awards last year? It is about the good witch and the bad witch before they appear in The Wizard of Oz. We all know that the bad witch was bad right? Well this show gives another version that maybe things aren't as they appear. In this play we see that the bad witch was actually quite good. (My friend came out of it saying "This is the Aaron Burr story!") Too many of us are too quick to judge and condemn. It is the easy way. But for each person we wrongly condemn, there is a high price paid by the victim and the condemner.
Comments please. 2005