Thursday, January 11, 2007


This Day in American History

On this day in either 1755 or 1757, Alexander Hamilton, 1st U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, is born, a bastard son, on Nevis in the Caribbean. He was forever ashamed of his humble beginnings among the New York and Virginia snobs. He also apparently had an Ann Coulter like problem with his birth date. Hamilton, a federalist, is on the $10 and died July 11, 1804, having been shot by Vice President Aaron Burr in a duel in New Jersey, on the same location, and with the same pistols (still extant today), where Hamilton's eldest son Philip had been killed two years before.

I forget, what was the crux of the issue of the duel ???
Gore Vidal says Hamilton implied Burr had incestuous relations with his daughter (before her death on the high seas, perhaps from priates). It makes a little sense. The given reason was semi-slanderous statements Hamilton made while assuring Burr's defeat in NY governor's race (or something like that). Usually the duel on those given reasons resulted in both participants wasting their shots into the air. Hamilton wrote he was going to waste his shot, but if he gave real offense to Burr, he knew Burr would shoot to kill. Hamilton's shot was as quick as Burr's, could have been from the hip, and went into a branch immediately above Burr's head (not the formal wasted shot that any dueler would have recognized). I think Hamilton, whatever the reason, was fighting for his life and jerked the shot high and wrote the night before he would waste his shot in case he missed and was killed, which is just what happened.
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