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The two very powerful and influential men faced each other in a clearing in Weehawken, New Jersey, loaded their weapons and fired. Instantly, their lives, and that of the nation, changed completely. Hamilton lost his life while Burr’s political ambition and clout went down the drain.
Why did the two prominent men in the history of America duel? Although dueling was common in 18th century America, it was not clear why Burr and Hamilton agreed to a duel with deadly consequences on the chilly morning of July 11, 1804. Nevertheless, it was apparent that the duel had been long overdue. This paper will revolve around the thesis that bitter political, military and personal rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were the reasons that necessitated the duel that resulted into the death of one and the political demise of the other. Two sources will be analyzed to prove the thesis.
The first primary source contains a graphic account of what transpired on the morning of July 11, 1804. The author, Matthew L. Davies, describes the fatal clash of the titans, Burr and Hamilton “…asked if they were prepared; being answered in the affirmative, he gave the word present as had been agreed on, and both parties presented and fired in succession… and General Hamilton almost instantly fell.” (p144). This was the end of an era for both of them, instantly to Hamilton, and gradually for Burr.
The author intended this document for historians and the entire public since the duel was shrouded in mystery. Even to date, historians are never too sure as to why the two men dueled. Therefore, through this document, the author attempts to solve the mystery for historians and other concerned parties. The document makes it clear that the duel was long overdue. This is because Burr and Hamilton had a long standing political, military and personal
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