Note: This is the Day Nine of Ten Days of Hamilton. Here’s why I’m doing this.
In a perfect world, Aaron Burr wouldn’t be “the villain in [our] history.”
Unlike Alexander Hamilton, he was born in the colonies that would soon become America. His family had some measure of wealth; his grandfather was the widely renown theologian Jonathan Edwards, and his father was the second president of what would eventually become Princeton University. Hamilton, though descended from minor Scottish nobility, was an illegitimate child who needed sponsorship from others to make his way to the Colonies. However, both men were orphaned as children, so they had that in common, but one would have expected Burr to at least match his station in life, if not rise above it.
Like Hamilton, Burr established a lot of early credibility by serving in the Continental Army and fought during the Revolutionary War. He rose to serve as aide-de-camp to Richard Montgomery – who failed and died during an attempted invasion of Canada – and even briefly served on George Washington’s staff. He served as a field commander, much to Hamilton’s chagrin, but left the Continental Army due to ill-health in 1779. Had he remained on Washington’s staff – and worked directly with Alexander Hamilton – maybe they would have developed more of a friendship instead of a rivalry, but I suppose we will never know for sure. Continue reading