February 17, 1801

Thomas Jefferson Won the Election and the Presidency

In your school elections, do you vote for a president and a vice president separately, or does the person with the second highest number of votes become the vice president? In our national elections, electoral voters decide separately to fill the position of president and vice president, but that wasn't always the case.
On February 17, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected president of the United States, but there was more to it than beating his opponent.
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When Thomas Jefferson ran for president, he beat his opponent, John Adams, but he tied with his running mate, Aaron Burr. So, who was to be the president and who was to be the vice president? It was up to the House of Representatives to decide, and most of the congressmen did not like the idea of voting for Jefferson. He wasn't even a member of the same political party as they were. Jefferson and Burr campaigned against each other for six days. Finally, Thomas Jefferson won the support of Congress and became the third president of the United States. Burr, as a result, became vice president.
Congress decided to establish a process so they wouldn't have to make that decision again.

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Three years after Jefferson was elected, the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. This amendment states that the ballots used in the election process should indicate which person is running for President and which is running for Vice President.

Today, if you run for president of the United States, you won't have to worry about being elected vice president instead.
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Philip Hamilton's Duel

When Alexander Hamilton's 19-year-old son rose to his father's defense on November 20, 1801, he took the first step of a violent process that had become an American social convention -- the duel. Before it was over he would be dead, and his family would be devastated by dueling, but not for the last time.

George I. Eacker, a 27-year-old lawyer, had given a speech that said Alexander Hamilton would not be opposed to overthrowing Thomas Jefferson's presidency by force. When Phillip Hamilton and his friend Richard Price confronted Eacker about the speech, Eacker called them "damned rascals." They responded in the way convention had established -- by challenging Eacker to a duel.

The weapons chosen were pistols; the dueling site the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey, just across the Hudson from New York. This spot was chosen because New York had banned dueling. Eacker and Richard Price took the field first, on November 22. They exchanged shots, but no one was injured; according to convention, honor was satisfied.

Philip Hamilton faced Eackeron the following day. They each fired. Hamilton fell to a ball from Eacker's dueling pistol; Eacker was uninjured. Philip Hamilton died a day later, in agony. The death marked the Hamilton family indelibly. Philip's sister Angelica suffered a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. Yet this would not stop Alexander Hamilton from defending his honor against Aaron Burr on the same dueling grounds three years later
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Hamilton's son, Philip, was killed in a November 23, 1801 duel with George I. Eacker initiated after Philip and his friend Richard Price partook in "hooliganish" behavior in Eacker's box at the Park Theatre. This was in response to a speech, critical of Hamilton, that Eacker had made on July 3, 1801. Philip and his friend both challenged Eacker to duels when he called them "damned rascals." After Price's duel (also at Weehawken) resulted in nothing more than four missed shots, Hamilton advised his son to delope, and throw away his fire. However, after both Philip and Eacker stood shotless for a minute after the command "present", Philip leveled his pistol, causing Eacker to fire, mortally wounding Philip and sending his shot awry.
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In an 1802 duel, DeWitt Clinton was challenged by John Swartwout, a friend of Aaron Burr. Swartwout accused Clinton of trying to ruin Burr with political smears. The men exchanged five rounds. After each round, as the code provided, seconds encouraged the combatants to mend their differences. Clinton adamantly refused to sign a letter of apology. Swartwout, despite being shot in the thigh and ankle, refused to quit. Unwilling to continue shooting at a wounded man, an exasperated Clinton left the field. Surgeons standing at the ready tended Swartwout's wounds.

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Burr–Hamilton duel

July: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr meet to fight a duel. The men have been enemies for years, but in the end, the duel is touched off by a minor slight.

The men meet on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey on the morning of July 11. Each fires a shot from a .56 caliber dueling pistol. Burr is unscathed. Hamilton is mortally wounded, and dies the next day.

July 11, 1804 duel .The Burr–Hamilton duel was a duel between two prominent American politicians, the former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr, on July 11, 1804.[1] Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton. Hamilton was carried to the home of one William Bayard, who lived on the Manhattan shore. Alexander Hamilton died at 2:00 p.m. the next day, July 12, 1804 Killed by the same Dueling pistol that had killed His son, Philip November 23, 1801 .
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HHamilton did fire his weapon intentionally, and he fired first. But he aimed to miss Burr, sending his ball into the tree above and behind Burr’s location. In so doing, he did not withhold his shot, but he did waste it, thereby honoring his pre-duel pledge. Meanwhile, Burr, who did not know about the pledge, did know that a projectile from Hamilton’s gun had whizzed past him and crashed into the tree to his rear. According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was perfectly justified in taking deadly aim at Hamilton and firing to kill.[15]
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This duel is often cited as having a tremendous psychological impact on Hamilton in the context of the Hamilton–Burr duel.

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The duel was the final skirmish of a long conflict between Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. The conflict began in 1791 when Burr captured a Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, who would have supported Federalist policies. (Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury at the time.) When the electoral college deadlocked in the election of 1800, Hamilton's maneuvering in the House of Representatives caused Thomas Jefferson to be named President and Burr Vice President. In 1800, the Aurora published "The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States," a document highly critical of Adams, which had actually been authored by Hamilton but intended only for private circulation. Some have claimed that Burr leaked the document, but there is no clear evidence for this, nor that Hamilton held him responsible.
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Morgan Lewis, endorsed by Hamilton, defeated Burr in the 1804 New York Gubernatorial electionWhen it became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, the Vice President ran for the governorship of New York instead. Hamilton campaigned viciously against Burr, who was running as an independent, causing him to lose to Morgan Lewis, a Democratic-Republican endorsed by Hamilton.
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Both men had been involved in duels in the past. Hamilton had been a principal in 10 shot-less duels prior to his fatal encounter with Burr, including duels with William Gordon (1779), Aedanus Burke (1790), John Francis Mercer (1792-1793), James Nicholson (1795), James Monroe (1797), and Ebenezer Purdy/George Clinton (1804). He also served as a second to John Laurens in a 1779 duel with General Charles Lee and legal client John Auldjo in a 1787 duel with William Pierce. In addition, Hamilton claimed to have had one previous honor dispute with Burr; Burr claimed there were two.
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