Prof Micheal Simmons
The Founding brothers, Chapter 1 summary
This chapter talks about the duel between Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and Aaron Burr, a successful lawyer and politician and also a continental army officer in the revolutionary war.
It all started in the early hours of July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr left by two separate boats from Manhattan and rowed across the very famous Hudson river to a place known as Weehawken which was situated in New jersey. Hamilton and Burr agreed to take the duel to Weehawken because although dueling had been banned in both states, New York took is very seriously and dealt with those that committed this crime. But on the other hand, that spot was the same spot known for several other duels in History. In an attempt to prevent the duelers from being prosecuted, procedures were put in place to give all the witnesses bases for denial if it ever led to a court case.
Aaron Burr and his cohorts Van Ness, Matthew Davis, and their rowers reached the site first around 6:30 am, whereupon Burr and Van Ness started to clear the underbrush from the dueling ground. The other team, Alexander Hamilton, Nathaniel Pendleton, and Dr David Hosack arrived a few minutes before 7:00am. However, according to historian and author Joseph Ellis, since Hamilton had been challenged, he had the choice of both the weapons to be used and position. And He chose the upstream or north side position which had the rising sun to his eyes, a very poor choice.
Various accounts of the duel agreed that two shots were fired; however, Hamilton and Burr's partners disagreed on the few seconds of time that elapsed between the shots. Hamilton apparently fired first, and into the air, on one of the tree branches just above Burr’s position....