The Duel on July 11

On this day in 1804, Alexander Hamilton, former US Secretary of Treasury, and Vice President Aaron Burr went out to Weehawken, NJ, to do a duel (where it was legal to do, because gentlemen weren’t supposed to do that in NYC in those days). Hamilton had lost his eldest son to a duel in NJ only a few years earlier. Hamilton had put on his spectacles, and history proceeded; he was mortally wounded, and he is buried over at Trinity Church in downtown.

(photo I took of Trinity Church, back on March 27, 2010).

Burr remained a complicated figure.

The whole thing became a Broadway musical more than 200 years later. Ideas of masculinity, honor, and politics didn’t mix all that well in those days. But, these days, I wonder if having a little more honor might do a lot more good.

(cross-posted at

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