We all have that one friend, the one who is super creative and fun to have around, always coming up with cool ideas and causing you to occasionally question his or her sanity. You know, the person that just takes an idea and runs a little too far with it. This friend does the most in every situation and can’t be talked out of any crazy idea ever. Aaron Burr, 19th-century American politician and third vice president of America, was that friend.
Yes, I agree that the name “Aaron Burr” sounds like just another name from your history class, the guy who basically does nothing and is happy to just have his name mentioned once in a textbook.
Well, we are both wrong (shocking, I know). Aaron Burr was no average politician. Some of you might know of Burr from the popular Broadway musical, Hamilton. However, I bet you don’t know about his legendary life filled with excitement, failure, and intrigue which started as average and took a dramatic, somewhat villainous turn. While he may not be the most incredible role model, Burr is proof that you can never count someone out of history. His life is also just too interesting not to give tribute to. Here are the reasons why:
#1. Political Career: A series of unfortunate events
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again...or in the case of Aaron burr, try try try try try try again. It is almost humorous how many times and how many different ways Aaron Burr tried to get into office. He ran and ran, but the people just were feeling him. Finally he was appointed attorney general by the New York Governor George Clinton. From there he won a seat in state legislature. Was his career finally on the upswing? No way. After serving a six-year term, he was not re-elected. Fortunately, Aaron Burr never. gives. up. He started to organize the Democratic Party in New York City, and finally got his big break running for president on the Democratic ticket against Thomas Jefferson. Unfortunately, but no surprise, that didn’t work out too well for him either.
#2. Scandal! Burr Marries a Woman 10 Years Older than Him.
It began as an illicit affair. Burr was a young, handsome (ok, yes this is subjective, gosh) soldier. Her name was Theodosia Bartow Prevost, and she was the wife of a powerful officer in the British Army, with whom she had five kids. She was also 10 years older than Burr, something unheard of at that time. They shouldn’t, they couldn’t be together. But their love was too strong. They openly became lovers and when her husband died, Theodosia robbed the cradle (ok I could have just said she “married Burr”, but which sounded cooler, huh?) Scandal!
#3. Burr Becomes Vice President in a Historic Tie
So Burr is running for president of the United States! His hard work is finally paying off. His dreams are coming true! Oh, wait, nope. At this time, electors would cast two votes for president instead of one. The person who received the most votes would become President, and the runner-up would become Vice President. Thus, Burr and Jefferson found themselves part of a dramatic tie for office. It was left up to the House of Representatives to choose between the two. At first, Burr graciously deferred the Presidency to Jefferson. However, when Jefferson supporters urged Burr to publicly declare that he would not accept the office, Burr got angry. He quickly released a statement saying that no honorable man would decline the presidency nor declare himself unfit for the position. And he certainly considered himself to be an honorable man. Thus began a bitter battle for the Presidency. In the end, Burr’s track record of misfortunes continued, and he became Vice President to Jefferson. As you can imagine, the two did not get along all too well.