The Connection of Aaron Burr and Martin Van Buren

Presidential History Blog

Martin Van Buren

People love a good scandal true or false – but especially if it involves peccadilloes.

Aaron Burr (1756-1836)

Aaron Burr had an interesting, if volatile and suspect career. In more than 250 years, he has attracted an assortment of partisans and detractors. There is no definitive conclusion, save that his character and actions remain divisive.

Young Aaron Burr

Orphaned early to be raised by prominent relatives, he nevertheless attended (now) Princeton University where he was acquainted with James Madison. He was a brilliant student, returned to New York to study law, joined the Continental Army (perhaps to enhance his budding law practice).

He served under a variety of commanders, including Benedict Arnold and later a brief stint as ADC to George Washington. But he preferred active service, fought bravely, and finally was discharged for health reasons.

Always ambitious, he became politically active in New York politics, usually…

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