Date: July 11, 1804
Location: Weehawken, New Jersey
The duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was undoubtedly the most famous such encounter of the 19th century as the two men were prominent American political figures. They had both served as officers in the Revolutionary War and later held high office in the new American government.
Alexander Hamilton had been the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, having served during the administration of George Washington. And Aaron Burr had been a United States Senator from New York, and, at the time of the duel with Hamilton, was serving as vice president to President Thomas Jefferson.
The two men had clashed throughout the 1790s, and further tensions during the deadlocked election of 1800 further inflamed the longstanding dislike the two men had for each other.
In 1804 Aaron Burr ran for governor of New York State. Burr lost the election, in part due to vicious attacks leveled against him by his perennial antagonist, Hamilton. The attacks by Hamilton continued, and Burr finally issued a challenge.
Hamilton accepted Burr’s challenge to a duel. The two men, along with a few companions, rowed to a dueling ground on the heights in Weehawken, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, on the morning of July 11, 1804.
Accounts of what happened that morning have been debated for more than 200 years. But what is clear is that both men fired their pistols, and Burr’s shot stuck Hamilton in the torso.
Severely wounded, Hamilton was carried by his companions back to Manhattan, where he died the next day. An elaborate funeral was held for Hamilton in New York City.
Aaron Burr, fearing that he would be prosecuted for Hamilton’s murder, fled for a time. And while he was never convicted for killing Hamilton, Burr's own career never recovered.