Monday, September 14, 2009

The Aaron Burr Association

Hey Vice-Precedence Readers.

Well, since there isn't much news about former VP Cheney right now-the naming ceremony at the U. of Wyoming on Thursday that I blogged about went fine, even with the protesters, I thought I would write about something else today.

In doing our research for the film Jason and I have come upon many unique people and organizations. One of the best groups we found was the ABA-The Aaron Burr Association. As hopefully you our fans and readers know by now, Aaron Burr is one of the most infamous figures in American history-even people with little interest or knowledge of American history know of his famous duel with Alexander Hamilton thanks to the "Got Milk?" commercial where, while he was VP he killed the former Secretary of the Treasury and fellow Revolutionary War hero. Later he was put on trial by the federal government for treason for supposedly trying to conquer the lands west of the Mississippi River acquired in the Louisiana Purchase and Mexico and make himself Emperor of these lands. Just for the record-he was acquitted of these charges.

Burr is considered by the majority of historians and the general public as one of the villainous figures in our country's history because of this duel-which is all the majority of people know about him. However, the ABA is determined to make sure our third Vice-President is remembered for more than that:

The ABA's mission as stated in their Constitution written in 1946 is:

"To keep alive the memory of Colonel Aaron Burr as a student, a soldier, a lawyer, a politician, a patron of the arts, an educator, a banker, and as a husband and father" and "to secure for him the honor and respect which are due him as one of the leading figures of his age."

They cite the facts the Burr was an early feminist-supporting the education of women far more than the other Founders, served bravely in many terrifying combat situations during the Revolution, was a strong foe of slavery, founded Chase Manhattan Bank, and was considered by many as the greatest Senator in the country while in office in the early days of the Republic.

I found this group interesting-sort of an American parallel of the Richard the III Society in Great Britain-whose goal it is to protect the character of the "Hunchback King" from the artistic liberties of William Shakespeares' play where he is portrayed as the worst kind of villain, a homicidal sadist and murderer of children whose bloody ambition knows no bounds.

The ABA has an annual meeting every year where activities focus around Aaron Burr, at the 2006 meeting they held a reenactment of Burrs' treason trial which was presided over by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, serving in the same role as his predecessor in the Supreme Court-the greatest Chief Justice of all-John Marshall, who presided over the original proceedings. Justice Scalias' verdict: "Not Guilty", just like John Marshall 199 years earlier.

In fact, I found the group so interesting, that I called the president of the association: Stuart Johnson, and spoke with him, and he is a very polite and dedicated man when it comes to the organization. Since the dues are only $25 a year, I figured, "What the heck?"-and joined myself. There are members from all over the country who support the organization and believe in its mission.

The fact that an organization like this exists, and has existed for 63 years, shows that people do care about our Vice-Presidents. If you're interested here's the website address:

Thanks for reading and keep spreading the word about "Vice-Precedence"!
Matt Saxe

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