Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hamilton versus Burr

The famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr took place on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey.  As the story goes, Hamilton fired into the air while Burr took deadly aim, felling Hamilton.  Hamilton, after being transported back to New York, passed within a day. 

Thus ended the contributions of one of the most important of the United States' founding fathers.  Historian Richard B. Morris lists Hamilton as one of the seven most important of the founding fathers.

Hamilton was the son of Rachel Lavien, of Huguenot descent, and James Hamilton, who was the fourth son of Scottish Laird Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton's importance to the emerging United States was no where more important than in the financial sphere.  Hamilton founded the Bank of New York in 1784, and served as first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington in 1789.  For his contributions in the financial arena, Hamilton shares with Walter Scott the distinction of being depicted on his country's currency - the $10 bill for Hamilton and, initially the L5 Note for Scott (other denominations currently).

Hamilton can be seen today, not far from Scott, in statue form, in New York's Central Park (East Drive at 83rd St for Hamilton, Literary Walk for Scott).  Hamilton's all granite statue was created by sculptor Carl Conrads.


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