Aaron Burr Was Vice President And Had A Bright Future – But A Deadly Duel Cost Him Everything

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Image: John Vanderlyn

It’s July 1804, and Aaron Burr loads his pistol for an illegal duel. As the Vice President of the United States, he’s seen his share of political competition – and now he aims his weapon at his greatest rival. By the next day, one of America’s Founding Fathers lies dead, and Burr’s career begins spiraling out of control.

Image: Edward Ludlow Mooney

Born on February 6, 1756, in Newark, New Jersey, Burr was part of a relatively affluent family. The young Burr experienced tragedy very early on in life, though. You see, his father, Aaron Sr. – once the president of what would later become Princeton University – died the year after his only son, Aaron Jr., was born.

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Image: Internet Archive Book Images

Then in 1758 Burr’s mother Esther also passed away. Orphaned at a young age, the infant and his older sister were passed into their grandparents’ care. By the end of 1758, however, both older relations had also died, and the Burr siblings eventually ended up living with their young uncle, Timothy Edwards. And when Edwards married, he followed his wife to Elizabethtown, New Jersey, where the children would spend much of their youth.

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