What Happened After the Burr/Hamilton Duel?
July 11 is the anniversary of the 1804 duel in which Alexander Hamilton was fatally shot by Vice President Aaron Burr. On today’s episode, we pick up where the musical Hamilton left off, and explore what happened to Vice President Burr in the aftermath of the duel. Why wasn’t Burr prosecuted until after he left office in 1807? What happened during his treason trial? And what relevance does his treason trial have for executive privilege and indictments of executive officers today? Two leading experts on the life and legacy of Aaron Burr—Nancy Isenberg and Kevin Walsh—join host Jeffrey Rosen in studio to discuss.
Nancy Isenberg is the T. Harry Williams Professor of History at Louisiana State University. She is the author of Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr as well as numerous other acclaimed books including the 2016 bestseller White Trash and 2019’s The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality.
Kevin Walsh is Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law where he teaches constitutional law. He is also President of the John Marshall Foundation, which produced the play “The King of Crimes” about the Burr trial. The King of Crimes was filmed and televised on Virginia’s PBS stations.
Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.”
- United States v. Burr (Circuit Court, D. Virginia 1807)
- “It’s time for Congress to take power back from the presidency” by Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein, Washington Post, July 11, 2019
- “The King of Crimes” produced by the John Marshall Foundation and its President Kevin Walsh
Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document.
Treason Clause by Paul T. Crane and Deborah Pearlstein
This episode was engineered by David Stotz and produced by Jackie McDermott. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich, Ellinor Rutkey, and Zoe Dettelbach.
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