Founding Fathers: The Aaron Burr Quiz

By: Staff

Where was Aaron Burr born?

Burr was born in Newark, N.J., in February 1756.

At what age was Burr orphaned?

Burr's parents died within a year of each other when he was 2 years old.

Before Burr decided to study law, what was his career path?

After graduating from the College of New Jersey, Burr studied theology before deciding on law.

When Burr was in the Continental Army, he marched to Quebec with this general.

Burr was a volunteer solider in Benedict Arnold's march to Quebec in the fall of 1775.

Burr was promoted to captain after the Battle of Quebec and was asked to work in New York for ____________.

Burr got a position on Washington's staff but left soon after to go back onto the battlefield.

Burr was promoted to this rank in July 1777.

Burr was made lieutenant colonel and put in charge of a regiment.

Why did Burr resign from the army?

Burr was in bad health and just generally burned out when he left the army in March 1779.

What was Burr's first elected position?

After leaving the army, Burr practiced law for a few years and then ran for the New York state assembly.

What was one of Burr's policy objectives when he was an assemblyman?

Burr was an early advocate of ending slavery. He introduced an (unsuccessful) abolition amendment in 1784.

Burr held two more positions before he ran for president in 1796: New York attorney general and ________.

Burr was a New York senator from 1791 to 1797.

How did Burr do in the 1796 presidential election?

Burr came in fourth, behind John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Pickney.

What happened in the 1800 election?

Burr got the same number of electoral votes as Jefferson — but because of the convoluted election method used in those days, Jefferson took the presidency.

What position did Burr end up with?

Burr was Jefferson's vice president, even though the two pretty much never saw eye-to-eye.

While he was vice president, Burr famously killed Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. Why didn't Burr and Alexander Hamilton like each other?

The two men had a long-simmering mutual dislike, but many historians say it began when Burr beat out Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, for a senate seat in 1791.

Who challenged whom to the duel?

Aaron Burr was definitely not the kind of man who shied away from a fight.

Where was the duel?

The duel took place in Weehawken, N.J., across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

Why was it there?

Dueling was illegal in both New York and New Jersey, but it wasn't a death-penalty crime in New Jersey.

Who in Hamilton's family had been killed in a duel in that very spot a few years earlier?

In 1801, 19-year-old Philip Hamilton was killed in a duel at the Weehawken spot — and the same guns had been used.

This was Burr's second duel. Who was his first opponent?

In 1799 Burr dueled John Baker Church, Hamilton's brother-in-law, because Church said Burr had been taking bribes. Both men missed.

Where did Burr shoot Hamilton?

Burr's bullet went through Hamilton's liver and spine.

What did Burr do immediately after the duel?

By all accounts, Burr went home and ate breakfast with a visitor and didn't mention that he had probably just killed someone.

Was Burr charged with murder?

Burr was charged with a misdemeanor for dueling and a felony count of murder. But the charges were eventually dropped.

After Burr finished his term as vice president, what did he do?

Jefferson dropped Burr from his ticket for the 1804 election, so Burr decided to run for governor of New York.

Did he win?

Burr, by now a highly controversial figure, was beaten in a landslide by Morgan Lewis.

Why did people get so mad with Burr when he founded the Bank of Manhattan Company?

In 1799, Burr said he was starting a water company — but he secretly changed the charter to make it a bank instead. And New Yorkers really needed clean water.

What is that bank known as today?

The Bank of Manhattan is the original predecessor of the gigantic entity that is now JPMorgan Chase.

Who called Burr "the most restless, impatient, artful, indefatigable and unprincipled intriguer in the United States, if not the world."

None of these three men were big fans of Burr, but the quote is Adams'.

Burr had a portrait of this female author hanging over his mantel.

Burr was a well-known womanizer but also an early feminist. He greatly admired Mary Wollstonecraft, author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."

Why was Burr arrested for treason in 1807?

To this day, no one is totally sure what happened in 1807. Burr was in the Louisiana Territory, apparently trying to drum up a militia to help Mexico overthrow Spain in what is now the southwest United States. He was found not guilty.

How old was Burr when he died?

Burr died in a Staten Island boardinghouse in 1836, at the age of 80.

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About This Quiz

Aaron Burr is intriguing — he fought in the Revolutionary War, ran for president multiple times and was ultimately arrested for treason. How much do you know about this Founding Father?

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