Talk:Aaron Burr

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The article says: "He received AB in theology." Is this supposed to say "a BA in theology"? DanH 01:51, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Either is correct but as it is generally used in the US I've changed it to BA. _-_ Rob Pommertalk 02:35, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

Didn't know that. Cool. DanH 02:52, 30 April 2007 (EDT)

(User: Dav123 20 May 2010) I researched the life of Aaron Burr for many days during an eight-year period to get to the bottom of why so much controvery and mystery surrounds this facinating man. I have a major in History and teach it at a high school level. I am not a professional Historian. However, I have lectured on the subject to students and to interested groups. All my references are solid, backed up by easily researched sources. (1)The Library of Congress (2) New York Historical Society, and two biographers that appear to use the most objective approach to the subject that I was able to find:

(1)"Aaron Burr," 2 volumes, by Milton Lomask (1979 & 1982), both nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. (2)"Aaron Burr," by Nathan Schachner, (1937). (NOTE: A 2007 biography by Nancy Isenberg, "Fallen Founder," appears to follow the same high standards of the others.)

Where crucial and/or debatable topics arise, I cite chapter and verse - other incorrect information can be verified in any reputable encyclopedia.

Some notes under CAREER

Para.1. First line typo(?) Burr was born in Newark, not "Neubik"(?) New Jersey.

Para.1 "...several times running away from home..." This implies that Burr was a rebellious, troubled youth. Maybe so, but he only ran away twice, once at six (an old lady scared him) and again at ten, when he chaffed at the many whippings from a stern but loving Calvinistic Uncle. They both agreed that the boy would be punished for deliberate disobedience, but not for mere mistakes in conduct. No record of discord in the family after that. (Lomask, vol.1) Not to give the boy's age is important, for if he ran away when he was an older, teenager it would create another impression entirely. My detail here is important, for it is the crucial details that convince us most readily of a man's character. Great care must be taken when writing about a deceased person -- only the truth can defend him.

Para. 1 Burr graduated in 1773, not 1772. (Check with Princeton or any biography).

Para.1. "BA in Theology." I could find no confirmation for this or any religious degree, per se, from Princeton. Lomask does say that the faculty awarded him (1773)first honors for readings in English, Latin and Greek (vol 1 pp29,30).

Para.2. He also served in the battles of Brooklyn Heights, Harlem, wintered at Valley Forge, where he quelled a mutiny). (His regiment, "The Malcolms," stopped the English from nightraiding New Jersey.)

Para 3. Burr and Hamilton practiced law together for several years in New York, and were friends. (Lomask, Schachner and Isenberg.)


Para.1. Burr was a leader in New York City, not THE leader of the party in the State.

Para.2. Not true. During the tie, Burr sent two letters to Jefferson, offering to step down. (Lomask,vol 1.pp. 274-75 and286-87.)

Para.4. Too general. Many Jeffersonian Republicans liked and trusted Burr; some did think he had cut a deal with Federalists, but Burr's letters prove that his interests were balanced between the factions. (Lomask vol. 1) It was Burr's neutrality in politics that outraged many people.


Para.4. My research shows that Jackson shot only one man who had scandalized his marriage.


1. Burr leased 40,000 acres of land in the Texas territories belonging to Spain, beyond the Sabine River. His announced plan was to take a group of homesteaders and farm the land. Of course, he was anticipating Mexico's war with Spain. If it happened on his watch, his "farmers" would be the largest army north of the Rio Grande River,he would join forces with Mexico, repel Spain, and recoup his fortunes afterwards. This would have been filibustering,forbidden by, and not a treasonable offense. Of course if it was his plan, he never declared or wrote this down. The Federal warrant for his arrest was based, therefore, on what his political enemies assumed. Proving it was another story. The lease he made is on public record.

2. Remember, at that time the Louisiana Purchase and its territories were not yet territories of the U.S. The Federalist Congress despised Jefferson (who purchased the territory from France) and delayed doing it. Therefore,those territories were literally up for the taking by anyone. In fact, Jefferson himself had second thoughts about this, as he wrote that if states were formed there, most likely they would be industrial, thus capable of outvoting his states (with agriculture as their base)in Congress. Years later, Burr was outraged at the idea. He restated that his plans for going to the Texas territories was all he intended.

2.His "plan" to separate the "western states."? There were no states in the Louisiana Purchase at the time. This "plan" was only proffered by some of Burr's enemies. There is no record of Burr ever having said as much to his friends. It is reported that Ambassador Merry said Burr gave him an opportunity to get control of part of Louisiana territory, but Merry was never explicit (i.e.,no written account nor specifics offered). I am not absolving Burr, but he did lead Merry to believe that there was a chance to get land in the west (again,the Purchase) in order to get money for his venture into Texas - he got $1500.00 from Merry.

3. Wilkinson did not arrest Burr. He was still in New Orleans when Federal soldiers arrested Burr in Mississippi Territory. Years later it was discovered (Spanish Archives) that Wilkinson had been a spy for Spain for 20 years. Bad character judgement on the part of Burr;also for Jefferson,who appointed him, despite the General's suspicious background. Wilkinson's charm was legendary. [User: Dav123 20-21 May 2010]

SOURCES: Library of Congress. New York Historical Society. Burr biographies by: M. Lomask (1979-82). N. Isenberg (2007). and N. Schachner (1937). [User: Dav123 20-21 May 2010)