The Events Leading To The Duel Between — страница 3

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character since 1791.”[18] It is cited as such a pivotal year because General Philip Schuyler lost his Senate seat to Burr. Theincumbent Schuyler was a Federalist like Hamilton, and his defeat upset fellow Federalists. More importantly, Schuyler was Hamilton’s beloved father-in-law. Hamilton could not let two injuries, the loss of a Federalist seat and the fact that his father-in-law had been upstaged, go unavenged. The next year he accordingly blocked a move by upstate Federalists to nominate Burr for governor.[19] This method of exacting revenge by denying Burr political advancement would become a major contributor to their odious sentiments towards one another. Still, Hamilton and Burr were not yet bitter enemies; they weren’t even political opposites. Then in 1792, Burr

declared himself a Democratic-Republican. This was quite unexpected since most of Burr’s relations and friends were Federalists.[20] Hamilton was enraged, and almost overnight he began divulging personal feelings about Burr which had been concealed for over a decade. In a letter to John Adams dated September 21, 1792, he called Burr “unprincipled both as a public and private man…I feel it a religious duty to oppose his career.”[21] To General Charles Pinckney about three weeks later, he wrote this appraisal of Burr: (Burr) has no other principles than to mount, at all events, to the first honors of the state & to as much more as circumstances will permit…That gentleman whom I once esteemed, but who does not permit me to retain that sentiment for him, is certainly a

man of sublimated and paradoxical imagination, entertaining and propagating notions inconsistent with dignified and orderly Government.[22] Here Hamilton outwardly admits that he no longer respects Burr, and even shows evidence of disgust for his former legal adversary. This is further evidence that the roots of their hatred were growing well before 1804. The quest for control of New York politics was to influence Hamilton and Burr’s relationship negatively further before the turn of the century. Hamilton and the Federalists owned the powerful Bank of New York. Republicans were often denied credit and loans by this pecuniary monopoly. Burr, then a state assemblyman, in 1799 introduced a clean water bill that required $2,000,000 of funds. In addition, the bill stipulated that

“it shall and may be lawful for the said company to employ all such surplus capital as may belong or accrue to the said company…for the sole benefit of said company.” Thus, the Bank of Manhattan was formed to meet the financial needs of the bill. In this manner, Burr and his fellow Democratic-Republicans broke the stranglehold of the Federalist financiers.[23] The Federalists also mandated voting requirements for New York citizens. In order to obtain suffrage, a man had to own a “freehold” worth at least $100. This disenfranchised many of the Republicans, who as a rule were among the poor people. Burr found a way around this restrictive system as well. He instructed several Republicans to join resources in order to buy the $100 of property necessary, and then register

individually. This brilliant and legal idea increased the numbers of Democratic-Republicans in the voting lines. As a consequence, the 1800 election swept in Burr’s party, and with it the block of Republican votes from New York for the upcoming Presidential election. In the short span of two years, Hamilton had lost the power of the purse and his political prominence all because of Aaron Burr.[24] In the Presidential campaign of 1800, an incident occurred that was to destroy Hamilton’s party. Hamilton had little love for Federalist President Adams. For three years of the administration Hamilton had directly influenced Adams’ cabinet. When Adams realized this, he cut most of the strings Hamilton had used for his connections. However, Hamilton retained a pronounced sway on

the government. As the 1800 election approached, there was no doubt about the renomination of Adams. Hamilton, who could not bear another four years of Adams, hoped he could persuade Federalist electors to choose John Pinckney, Adams’ running mate, and relegate Adams to the vice-presidency. To further his cause, he decided to write a pamphlet which would assail the president perniciously. This pamphlet was to be distributed to only a few key Federalists throughout the country. Unfortunately for Hamilton, Aaron Burr somehow got hold of the libelous literature and proceeded to assist its publication in the Democratic-Republican paper The Aurora. This split the Federalist party in two, and Hamilton was crushed.[25] Hamilton was now like a volcano ready to erupt. Burr, who had