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Today in History: July 11th, 1804

Photo Credit: Kean Collection / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Kean Collection / Getty Images

Alexander Hamilton is slain by Aaron Burr in a duel

On this day in 1804, a deadly duel took place between two prominent American figures: Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. The event, set against the backdrop of intense political rivalry, had lasting effects on the young nation.

Illustration of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.
American politician Aaron Burr fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton with a shot from his pistol during a duel on July 11, 1804. (Photo Credit: Kean Collection / Getty Images)

The animosity between Burr, then Vice President, and Hamilton, former Secretary of the Treasury, had been building for years. Their disagreements ranged from politics to personal insults. Tensions peaked when Hamilton opposed Burr’s campaign for governor of New York, allegedly making disparaging remarks that pushed Burr to challenge him to a duel.

Early on the morning of July 11, the two men met in Weehawken, New Jersey, a popular dueling ground. Using their pistols, they prepared to settle their differences. Hamilton, who reportedly fired first, aimed to miss, while Burr took careful aim and shot Hamilton in the abdomen. Hamilton was critically wounded and died the next day, leaving behind a wife and children. Burr, despite being a sitting Vice President, faced widespread outrage and fled to avoid prosecution, marking the end of his political career.

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The duel had profound effects on American politics, symbolizing the dangers of personal vendettas. While Hamilton became a martyr, Burr’s reputation was forever tarnished. Today, this infamous event is remembered as a dramatic example of the intense rivalries that shaped the early United States and remains a significant moment in American history.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News