"The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure and pleasure my business." (Aaron Burr)
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
In all the annals of American history, it is hard if not impossible to find a figure with a more controversial legacy than Aaron Burr, one of the most reviled yet mysterious characters of the last 200 years. Today Burr is remembered almost solely for participating in the nation's most famous duel on July 11, 1804, which resulted in the death of instrumental Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, but it is often forgotten that Burr killed Hamilton while he was Thomas Jefferson's sitting vice president. As if that wasn't incredible enough, Burr's path to the vice presidency sparked a constitutional crisis after the Election of 1800, and in addition to leading to the establishment of the 12th Amendment, it was Hamilton's support of his principal political foe, Jefferson, over Burr that helped ignite the arguments that culminated with their duel.
Burr was charged with murder for participating in the controversial and illegal duel, bringing his political career to an end, but he saved his most controversial act for last.