Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy BURRthday!

Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Fans!

Well, yesterday was former VP Dan Quayles birthday as reported by Jason, and tomorrow, Feb. 6th is another VP's birthday-and not just any VP, but the first one who never became President! Thats right-its the birthday of the most infamous man to ever hold the office of VP-Aaron Burr!

Burr was born on Feb. 6, 1756 in Newark, NJ. His grandfather Jonathan Edwards was Colonial America's most famous pastor, the author of the definitive American Puritanical sermon-"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and is still considered, almost 300 years later, one of Americas greatest theologians. His father the Rev. Aaron Burr Sr. helped found, and was the president of Princeton University.

Aaron Burr is best known of course, for killing former Secretary of the Treasury, signer of the Constitution, head of the Federalist party, fellow Revolutionary War hero, and Major General/Senior Officer of the United States Army (the equivalent of the Joint Chief Of Staff)-Alexander Hamilton in a duel while he was Vice-President. Thats right-over 200 years before Dick Cheney shot a man while VP-the Vice-President of the United States shot and killed a man.

The duel is without a doubt the most famous in American history-made even more famous by the highly popular "Got Milk?" ad directed by my director on "Pearl Harbor" Michael Bay! Bay's work since then leads many to believe it would be a much better world if he had stuck to commercials. But that's a whole other ball of wax.

Burr is best known for the duel, but the life of this remarkable American is more than just a few seconds on the "Plains of Weehawken". Burr was the first truly prominent American feminist-advocating womens intelligence and equal education and opportunities for women throughout his life, and put his money where his mouth was-educating his daughter like a man.

Burr was a Revolutionary War hero in his own right, fighting bravely at the battles of Quebec and Monmouth, and numerous other smaller battles. He was an accomplished lawyer, congressman, Senator, and Vice-President. Here is a quote about his service as VP in presiding over the Senate:

"Mr. Burr, the Vice-President, presides in the Senate with great ease, dignity & propriety. He preserves good order, silence—& decorum in debate—he confines the speaker to the point. He has excluded all spectators from the area of the Senate chamber, except the members from the other House. A measure which contributes much to good order." Senator William Plumer (F-NH)

In case you're wondering, that "F" stands for "Federalist", and Burr was a Democratic-Republican-meaning this quote praising him is from someone in the opposing party. Pretty impressive eh?

Later in his life Burr was put on trial for treason against the U.S., accused of trying to carve out an empire for himself in parts of the Louisiana Purchase and Mexico. It was "The Trial of the Century" and Burr was acquitted, despite President Jefferson's efforts to make sure Burr was found guilty.

Burr was, without a doubt, an American Original-its hard to find any person in any other country's history like Burr. That's probably why he has so captured the American imagination-particularly in Gore Vidal's first novel in his "American Empire" series: BURR. Its also part of why the Aaron Burr Association was formed (as I talked about in another blog here) and why I joined it.

I called up the President of the Aaron Burr Association-Mr. Stuart Johnson and got this quote from him on the upcoming birthday of this amazing American:

"We here at the ABA want to wish Aaron Burr a happy 254th birthday. We've stood by you and will keep up the good fight promoting your life. Your depth and complexity never cease to amaze us and we will keep protecting your reputation and promoting your life to all Americans."

Thanks for the quote Mr. Johnson.

We here at Vice-Precedence are determined to show people the truth about Aaron Burr, and that's the focus of one of our upcoming projects. So lets all wish this truly distinctive American a "Happy Birthday"!

Thanks for reading.

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