American politician (1756-1836). The son of a Calvinist minister, he was raised by an uncle after both of his parents died before he was two years old. His uncle was very strict, and Burr often tried to run away, eventually leaving home at the tender age of 13 to enroll in Princeton. He graduated with honors when he was just 16 years old and began studying to be a preacher. He lost interest in preaching and studied law, but gave that up when the Revolutionary War started.

Burr joined the army and served in General Montgomery's disastrous expedition to Quebec; however, he served well and emerged from the battle famous. He was appointed to General George Washington's staff, but he didn't get along with the future President and was transferred to the command of General Putnam, where he distinguished himself on several occasions, rose to the rank of colonel, and was popular with the troops. He endured Valley Forge without complaint, but suffered a heatstroke during the Battle of Monmouth and resigned his commission a few months later.

After completing law school, Burr opened a successful practice in New York in 1782; six months later, he was elected to the state assembly without seeking the office. There, he spoke out against slavery and in favor of feminism, but returned to his practice when his term of office was up.

Burr drifted in and out of office for several years. He ran in the 1800 presidential election as Thomas Jefferson's running mate, but won as many electoral votes as Jefferson, thanks to the influence of New York's Tammany Hall. Burr refused to concede the election to Jefferson, and it took 36 committee meetings before the tie was broken and Jefferson was elected to the presidency. Burr served a rough term as vice president under an angry Jefferson, and he was not selected to run again.

Burr ran for governor of New York in 1804 and lost, largely due to slanderous accusations by Alexander Hamilton. Burr and Hamilton agreed to a duel, and on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey, Burr shot and killed his political rival. Burr was charged with murder, but acquitted. After his term as vice president was over, he disappeared from the public eye for two years.

In 1806, Burr developed a scheme to provoke a war between the United States and Spain and, in the confusion, invade and take over Mexico. When his plot was revealed, he was charged with treason, but was again acquitted. After that, he moved to Europe for several years, where he tried to persuade Napoleon to invade Florida. He moved back to New York in 1812 and practiced law until his death.

Research from GURPS Who's Who, compiled by Phil Masters, "Aaron Burr Jr." by Seth Bernstein, pp. 94-95.

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