ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
July 11, 1804
Alexander Hamilton is Fataly Wounded
in a Dual with Vice President Aaron Burr
On this day in 1804, a duel took place between former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Vice
President Aaron Burr. The duel occurred as a result of an ongoing political struggle between the two which had
become personal. After Hamilton refused to recant or explain certain inflammatory comments made about Burr, Burr
challenged Hamilton to a duel and he accepted.
The next day, Burr and Hamilton travelled from New York to a place called Heights of Weehawken in New Jersey.
Although duelling was illegal in both states, New Jersey did not aggressively prosecute the crime and this location
had been the site of at least 18 duels between 1700 and 1845.
It was not uncommon at the time for a duel to end before a shot was fired if the two parties could work out their
differences. Other times, shots would be fired intentionally into the ground. In the Burr/Hamilton duel, Hamilton
fired first but fired into the air. Burr took this as justification to aim and shoot back. The bullet struck
Hamilton in the abdomen and he died the next day.