Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hunt for Red H.L. Hunley

Every once in a while there is a great historical finding. The H.L. Hunley is one of those rare discoveries. The H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submarine, which pretty much changed the future of naval warfare. The Civil War saw the birth of submarine warfare and its benefits. However, submarine warfare in the mid 19th century was pretty much a suicide mission, as the crew of the H.L. Hunley would find out. The H.L. Hunley was found in the 1970s, raised in 2009 and become available for viewing in Charleston, South Carolina. So what is her story, who are her crew and why was she resting at the bottom of the Atlantic? They question will all be answered here and from there we will see how the H.L. Hunley paved the way for the use of the modern submarine in navies around the world.
The H.L. Hunley was launched in July of 1863 in Charleston, South Carolina. It was sent to Charleston from Mobile, Alabama to combat the Union blockade of the south. However, the H.L. Hunley was not the answer to the Confederate Navy's prayers. She sank on both of her test runs and killed thirteen men. It wouldn't be until February of 1864 that she would earn her stripes and prove her usefulness to the Rebel cause. That night would then change the course of navel warfare as the world had known it. No longer would there be only battleships attacking each other on the high seas, but the world would now see the importance of the stealth attack abilities of the submarine.
Raise the periscope and ready torpedo tube number one! That is what would have been happened as the H.L. Hunley approached the USS Housatonic as she sat outside Charleston Harbor. As the H.L. Hunley and her eight man crew sank under the waves, their target sat there, unsuspecting of what fate awaited them. The H.L. Hunley came up next the the Housatonic and stuck a spar torpedo right into her hull. As the crew of the Housatonic saw the H.L. Hunley they opened fire with guns and rifles. As the H.L. Hunley turned away from the ship, the Housatonic exploded and began to sank. The H.L. Hunley's mission was a success, sinking her target ship and taking five Union sailors and the ship to the bottom of Charleston Harbor. However, the victory celebration would be short lived as the H.L. Hunley was soon to be doomed. But before the H.L. Hunley would sink she would have unknowingly changed history and the course of naval warfare.
How the H.L. Hunley ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic was a mystery for a very long time. There were two theories on how and why the H. L. Hunley never resurfaced after the attack on the Housatonic. The first idea was that the H.L. Hunley had a torpedo accidentally explode while it made it's return to the Confederate Naval Base on Sullivan's Island. The second theory is that she took in water and sank. In 2008, the mystery was solved when the wreck was examined and showed no damaged from an explosion. It did however reveal that the crew never set a pump which would have removed water from the cabin, yet that may not be the main reason. Scientist think that because of the amount of water that flooded the submarine forced oxygen out of the ship. It forced enough oxygen out that the crew may have actually suffocated to death. The cause most historians agree on is that the ship took on water and the crew was unable to pump the water out. The submarine would then come to rest on seabed and become the final resting place for the eight Confederate sailors. The men who perished in this submarine were led by Lieutenant George E. Dixon. The crew was made up of Corporal C. F. Carlsen, Frank Collins, Joseph F. Ridgaway, James A. Wicks, Arnold Becker, C. Lumpkin and Augustus Miller, all of them volunteers for the mission.
Now why would I bother writing about the H. L. Hunley? How important can a submarine from 1864 be to today's navy? Well it proved the value of the submarine. The H.L. Hunley was the first successful submarine attack. It went in undetected and came right up on the Housatonic, planted a bomb and sank the ship. Some of you might be saying that the submarine had been around way before the Civil War and your right. The submarine was born in the 1580s and developed all through the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. The Bushnell "Turtle" was the first submarine used during wartime and from then on, the idea of using a submarine had always been kicked around by world naval departments. But it was the H. L. Hunley that showed the importance of the submarine as an offensive weapon. It was after the attack that both the Union and Confederacy kicked their submarine development into high gear, after the Civil War navies throughout Europe also saw the value of this new technology. The technology however was still in it's infancy and it wouldn't be another fifty years until a submarine took down a ship. This happened when German U Boat U-5 sank the British cruiser Pathfinder with one torpedo. There was no stopping it now, the submarine would now be a staple part of any major naval power and the effects can be seen in every war after and up until today.
What was to become of the H. L. Hunley? The Hunley is now on display at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, SC. It is currently in the conservation stage and can be viewed on weekends. Along with the sub, the conservation center has many of the artifacts that were found in the sub and the surrounding area. As for the photo above, the crew members of the H.L. Hunley were given a Confederate burial. On December 5, 2007, 143 years later, the eight crew men when buried with full military honors burial. The funeral was attended by thousands of Civil War re-enactors, both gray and blue. The funeral procession was a mile and a half long which had the remains of the sailors in coffins draped with the Confederate flag. The men where buried in Magnolia Cemetery in a common grave and laid to rest in the same order in which they stationed on the sub. Many might say "why honor some damn Rebels? They ripped our nation apart!" To some extent they are right but not these men. These men did something so great, it overshadows the Civil War. These men changed the world. They did something that was never thought possible by military leaders of their time and even after. Rebecca Farence, the great-grandniece of Frank Collins said "These are just extraordinary men- brave and strong who did a marvelous thing." And that is exactly what they did, at the time they might not have realized it, but these men changed the course of history under the waves outside of Charleston Harbor.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hail To The Chief...David Rice Atchison?

William Henry Harrison is in the record books for having the shortest term of all the American Presidents. President Harrison served only one month as Commander in Chief, but did you know someone else served an even shorter term? Well there is a debate whether or not the shortest Presidential term is one day. How could someone be President for a day? Did they win some kind of mail-in contest? In reality, it only happened because of one man's refusal to be inaugurated on a Sunday. So here is to our, umm... 12th President, President David Rice Atchison.

Who is this mysterious former President of ours and how did he become President? David Rice Atichison was a career politician. He was born and raised a good ol' boy, and quite the pro-slavery advocate. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky and raised in Liberty, Missouri. He is a graduate of Transylvania University, where he rubbed elbows with many other future southern leaders, the most prominent being Jefferson Davis. He was a a very successful lawyer and was thrust into the spotlight after representing Joseph Smith in a land dispute case. With his achievements in the court rooms of Missouri, Atichison was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1834. There he worked the deal which would expand Missouri as far west as the Missouri River, which is it's current border today. He was also appointed as Major General of the Missouri State Militia and suppressed the Mormon War of 1838. By 1843 all of Atichison's work had got him elected to the U.S. Senate. Again, by the use of his character and hard work, Atichison had impressed his fellow Democrats and was made President pro tempore in 1845. It would be in 1849 that Atchison's life would be turned upside down... well at least for a day it was.

So Mr. President Atchison moved right on in the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...sorta. How exactly did Atchison get the unique title of "President for One Day?" It all started when President James Polk, our 11th President, made his way out of office on Sunday March 4, 1849. Why did this happen? Well it has to do with incoming President Zachary Taylor, technically our 13th President, and his refusal to be sworn into office on a Sunday. Why was Taylor so against being sworn in on a Sunday? Well it wasn't a superstition of bad luck but it was his Christian faith which reserves Sunday as mankind's day of rest. The President's refusal to be sworn in wasn't that big of a deal, Vice President Millard Fillmore could be sworn in... but he sided with Taylor and also refused to be sworn in. What to do, what to do, the United States had no President and was surely on it's way to self destruction. Alas! There is a man who can run our nation in a time when there is no Presidential party in office, and that man is the President pro tempore a.k.a. David Rice Atchison. This position made Atchison acting Vice President and thus President of the United States. He was sworn in though on Sunday March 4, 1849 at twelve noon. Unfortunately for him and his Presidential term, he was sworn in only 24 hours before both President Taylor and Vice President Fillmore were officially sworn in thus ending Atchison's term. So can we say Atchison was the 13th President? I mean this argument could last days, so let's get Atchison's own view on what happened:

"It was in this way: Polk went out of office on the 3rd of March 1849, on Saturday at 12 noon. The next day, the 4th, occurring on Sunday, Gen. Taylor was not inaugurated. He was not inaugurated till Monday, the 5th, at 12 noon. It was then canvassed among Senators whether there was an interregnum. It was plain that there was either an interregnum or I was the President of the United States being chairman of the Senate, having succeeded Judge Mangum of North Carolina. The judge waked me up at 3 o'clock in the morning and said jocularly that as I was President of the United States he wanted me to appoint him as secretary of state. I made no pretense to the office, but if I was entitled in it I had one boast to make, that not a woman or a child shed a tear on account of my removing any one from office during my incumbency of the place. A great many such questions are liable to arise under our form of government."
Useless Information: David Atchison

That Monday, March 5, 1849 at 12pm eastern standard time Zachary Taylor was sworn in as President of the United States and David Rice Atchison's term was over. Yet even though he was no longer President, Atchison remained in Washington D.C. as President pro tempore until 1854. Atchison spent the rest of his time in D.C. and in politics defending the institution of slavery. Former Presidents usually take on a cause after their service to America... but slavery? I mean, I did mention before Atchison was a born and raised southerner. Atchison went on to be a leading voice for the annexation of Texas and the Texas War of Independence, which was directly a cause in support of the use and spread of slavery. He also tried to overturn the Compromise of 1850 and extend slavery into the newly formed states of Kansas and Nebraska. It was Atchison himself that influenced the popular sovereignty clause in the Missouri Comprise with the intended result begin the extension of slavery into the western states. Atchison was such a believer in his cause that he even formed his own militia, better known to history as "Border Ruffians." He and his "Ruffians" head out into Kansas and took over a voting station and forged over 10,000 votes in favor slave labor in Kansas. Atchison also established the pro-slavery settlement of Atchison, Kansas. Yet even with the actions of Atchison and many who shared his views, Kansas would enter the Union as a free state after an official vote was held. After his shenanigans in Kansas Atchison returned the Missouri and sough re-election for his senatorial set, which he would lose to James S. Green. With his political career over, what could Atchison do? Well the fight over slavery was boiling over, so he joined the ranks of the Confederate Army. There he was a general in the Missouri State Guard and saw limited action. He remained in service to the Rebel cause until retiring in 1862.

Atchison lived out the rest of his life on his farm outside Plattsburg, Missouri. He received no honoring burial that all former Presidents receive, but his grave markers heading says "President of the United States for One Day." And that is it, nothing more and nothing less. No statue or bust in Washington, not even on the honorable mention list for important names in American History. Usually I like to add something we can take away, but in the case of David Rice Atchison it is more just a really interesting fact about the U.S. Presidency. Atchison's name may be forgotten, well mainly because as President he did nothing but "go to bed." However, Atchison took on the responsibilities of President knowing it was just a temp position for him, but he still did it with pride, honor and tradition. Atchison's memory is big in Missouri and Kansas having a city and two counties named for him, a railroad line that runs from Atchison to Santa Fe and a bronze bust in the Missouri capital building. However to other Americans the name means nothing and his duty to America is unknown. Now, I am not saying Atchison needs a monument on the Mall or have his Presidential portrait hanging in the halls of the White House, but maybe his picture in a small frame on a credenza or maybe the Presidential Seal on his grave. President Atchison can be seen as America's greatest President to some extent, there was no economic problems, wars, social issues, natural disasters, or scandals during his Presidency. I know I am really reaching with that but it's true, name one other President that had results like that. So here is to the 12th President of the United States David Rice Atchison, may he be the example of how anyone at anytime can become President of the United States. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jungle Fever? Or the Story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?

It is a widely accepted fact that Thomas Jefferson might be the greatest of all the American Presidents. He was the a graduate of the College of William and Mary, a successful lawyer, holder of a large plantation, member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, a member of both Continental Congresses. He was also Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice President, Minister to Franc and oh yea... President. During his time as President, Jefferson worked the Louisiana Purchase, funded the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and ended the importing of slaves from Africa. He had a deep interest in the sciences, math and philosophy which led to him forming the University of Virginia. Jefferson's resume is pretty stacked and is missing many faults we expect from politicians for the past and especially from the present. However, there is one part of Jefferson's life that came under fire. What could Jefferson have done that was so bad that someone tried to demonize him? Well, it would be a forbidden love between himself and Sally Hemings.

I will fast forward a bit through Jefferson's Presidency which was pretty much picture perfect, to the death of his wife Martha. Martha Wayles married Jefferson in 1772 after her first husband Bathurst Skelton mysteriously died. Ok, he didn't mysteriously die I just was trying to spice things up a bit. Now the important part about Martha is not her and Jefferson's love for each other but it is her father, John Wayles, which is key to this puzzle of the Jefferson and Hemings relationship. So how does John fit into this situation? Well John was a wealthy lawyer, but more importantly he was a major player in the Virginia slave trade scene. John Wayles was married three times and all three times his wives passed away. So what is a man to do...well I guess he could have a super secret romance with one of his slaves. And guess what that is exactly what he did! After the loss of his last wife he started a relationship with Elizabeth Hemings, a mulatto slave. It was from this relationship that Sally Hemings would be born and thus making her half sisters with Martha Wayles. I hope you can follow along so far because although it is a little confusing, just wait because it is about to get a lot more interesting.

Pictured above is the beautiful home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello. It is here that another forbidden love would grow, but not until after the death of Martha Jefferson. It would be here that Thomas and Martha would begin their family, having four children, make a boat load of money of the plantation they owned and watch Jefferson's political career continue to be successful. It wouldn't be until 1773 that things would change. That change came after the death of Martha's father John. After his death, the Jefferson's would inherit all of Wayles slaves, including Elizabeth, Sally Hemings and Martha's five other half siblings. Now, this isn't one of those trashy stories where Jefferson would have midnight rendezvous with Sally in the corners of Monticello. Jefferson had class. The relationship between Jefferson and Hemings wouldn't begin until 1782, after his wife Martha passed away. Now it wasn't like Jefferson hopped right in the sack with Sally either. It was recorded that, after the death of Martha, Jefferson "withdrew to his room for three weeks," and it was well known in Virginia and D.C. that the Jefferson's were in a picture perfect, happy and devoted marriage. Jefferson properly mourned the death of his wife and did not move on until he had grieved. Anyhow, after her passing, Jefferson moved on and followed in a tradition very common in early America.

There is a little known practice that was used from per-colonial time up until the mid 20th century known as the sororate relationship. A sororate relationship is as follows; it is marriage between a man to his sister-in-law, after his wife has passed or has been proven infertile. Now lets recap, Jefferson married Martha Wayles, Martha was the daughter of John Wayles, John Wayles had an affair with Elizabeth Hemings in which Sally Hemings was born making Sally and Martha half sisters and the only sisters of the Wayles family. Now there is no record of Jefferson or Hemings knowing that Hemings was related to Martha as Sally was kept as a slave by her father. So this is kind of an indirect sororate relationship. However, it seems evident that there was a relationship between the two which would produce six children together. Now how could this relationship come to light? Why would it be important? Also, who would put Jefferson's business on blast? Well it all started in the early stages of Jefferson's Presidency and was caused by the temper tantrum of a journalist.

A journalist by the name of Jame T. Callender is the driving force behind this whole story. Callender was turned down by Jefferson when he applied for Postmaster position. So in a fit of rage, Callender sought out some dirt on Jefferson and found it in the form a of Sally Hemings and six biracial children found at Monticello. Once the story was released, it was backed up by Elijah Fletcher, a school master and friend of Jefferson, who documented proof of the relationship after a visit to Monticello in 1811. Jefferson himself never denied any of the accusations however, his family was very vocal about it not being true and they have done so up until this day. It is proven though in Jefferson's own writings that Sally did have six children of which four survived. He himself recorded their births, names and had left the children's father's name blank. Another piece of the puzzle is that two of Jefferson and Sally's children "ran away" from Monticello. Now anyone that knows anything about slavery in America would know a party would be sent out to retrieve the runaway slaves, but Jefferson did not send such a party. Jefferson even emancipated many of Sally's relatives prior to his death, just another piece of evidence that there was a relationship. However, Sally was not "freed" until after the Jefferson's death in 1826. As for Sally life after Monticello, she lived out her days in Charlottesville with her two sons. She would die in 1835, but the last piece of evidence the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings comes from an 1830 county census which list her sons as being "white."

 The above photo shows the descendents of the Jefferson and Hemings affair. According to the descendents of Jefferson and Wayles, that relationship was never true, even though they were proven wrong in 1998. That is when DNA testing began to prove legitimacy to Callender's story. In 2001 the National Park Service, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the National Genealogical Society, concluded that Jefferson fathered every one of Hemings children, so take that all you nay sayers! Historians also commented on the relationship calling it "mysterious" and "unsolvable" but could all agree that the relationship was consensual due to the evidence of the treatment of the children. But what are we are supposed to take away from this in present time? That it's okay to have an interracial relationship? Well not really, since that has been pretty well established for the last 50 or so years. What we really need to look at and see it as another accomplishment of Jefferson's. He continued on his life after the death of Martha and found love with Sally. He had a successful family and never denied the fact of the relationship or his children. We can also see this as Jefferson's way of taking a step towards the ending of slavery. For after his death every one of his slaves were freed and not passed down to his children. He ended the importing of slaves during his Presidency and perhaps we can see the relationship as Jefferson's way of thumbing his nose at the practice of slavery. Jefferson is a major icon in American History when in relation to independence and liberty. He is America's first major progressive and first to speak of the "haves" and "have nots." However, many historians point out that Jefferson never made any attempts to end slavery and felt that blacks needed to be controlled. I feel, like many of the great minds of early America, it was hard to make a stand about slavery, especially those from the southern states. Although the country did in fact benefit economically from slavery, it was absolutely the worst institution in American History. Jefferson did not abolish slavery since it was a practice of the time and he did not want to commit total career suicide. It is for this reason that people like Jefferson never took a major stand but did subtle things in the face of slavery, like having a consensual relationship with a slave. The Jefferson/Hemings relationship is a fact but whether it was for love or for a statement may never be known.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Conspiracy That Is More Fact Than Fiction: The Burr Conspiracy.

There are many villains throughout American History. Those villains are always compared to each other to figure out exactly who is the number one bad guy in American History. Many names come to mind: Benedict Arnold, Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, Timothy McVeigh, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and so on. There is one name however that is always amongst that list although he's on that list for the wrong reason. That name is Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr is most famous for killing Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, but to our surprise, that is actually not the worst thing Burr did. So what could be worse then killing a member of the Presidential cabinet? Well it would involve a backdoor deal, raising his own army, siding with an enemy and trying to establish a new nation.

Well, we can't mention Aaron Burr and not mention his duel with Alexander Hamilton. The duel took place on July the 11th of 1804 in Weehawken, New Jersey. The cause was simple; the two men didn't like each other. Vice President Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton had a long ongoing political feud. The tipping point came during the New York Gubernatorial Race of 1804. Hamilton blasted Burr in the New York papers as being incompetent for the job, mainly because Burr had beaten Hamilton's father-in-law in the previous Senate election. However, the duel was just not personal but also was political, it would be the last battle between the Democrat-Republicans and the Federalists. In the Presidential election of 1800, Hamilton's political strength and power of persuasion would cause Burr to become Vice President and not President. This would then push Burr out of the Presidential campaign of 1804 and into the New York Gubernatorial race against Hamilton. Burr even had to run as an Independent in the race because Hamilton, a Federalist, supported and financed another Democrat-Republican, Morgan Lewis, just in spite of Burr. So there was only one way to settle this personal and political feud: a duel! The duel was set and happened, however a little known fact about the duel is that Hamilton's son actually died while partaking in a duel in Weehawken ten years prior. It was because of this that Hamilton swore off dueling and only accepted to keep his honor. Burr on the other hand loved to duel, being a veteran of several. Now, everyone knows the story of how Hamilton aimed away but Burr set his sights right onto Hamilton and fired, fatally wounding Hamilton. So what could be worse than killing a former Secretary of Treasury and most likely a future Presidential candidate? Well Burr's next move of course.

But how could Burr be demonized even more? Hamilton's death ended Burr's political career, Burr was charged with murder in both New Jersey and New York. He fled to his daughter's home in South Carolina to escape the ongoing investigations and threats made against him. He would return to Washington D.C. and finish his term as the Vice President. He was said to have finished his work with dignity and honor. His farewell speech was said to be "heartfelt and would even move his harshest critics to tears." But what was next for Burr? A new celebrity lifestyle? A reclusive private life? A political educator? Well it is actual none of these but instead he tried to start his own nation. Now that doesn't sound that bad, but what if I told you the land he tried to start his new nation already belonged to the United States, now that is pretty bad. Burr would lead a group of men, farmers, politicians, military and so on out west in hopes of establishing a new nation, one in which Burr could fulfill his dreams of becoming President.

Aaron Burr had this grand idea that he could head west and obtain land, cultivate it, establish communities and thus create his own nation, "Burrsburg" (Made that one up, sorry). But how? Well, Burr being the politico that he was, saw on oncoming conflict with the United States and Spain, now that the U.S. held the Louisiana Territory there was the growing tension between the two nations on the frontier. Burr planned on leasing the eastern part of the Texas Territory from the Spanish with the hopes that the Gulf coast region would join his new nation, Burrland (Again just making these names up as I go along). Burr agreed with the Spanish government that if a war was ever to break out between the U.S. and Spain, Burr's new nation of Burrmerica would side and fight with Spain against the U.S. Now as if siding with Spain wasn't bad enough Burr then pulled a Benedict Arnold. That's right as if he couldn't make things any worse for his reputation, Burr sought a deal with those limey British bastards! The deal had been in the works for years by this time. When Vice President, Burr tried to strike a deal which involved British supplying arms and money for Burr's southwestern expedition. In exchange Burr offered use of the port of New Orleans as home for the Royal Navy. Even after his time as V.P., Burr still tried to get British aid in support of his new nation. However, The Brits had no real interest in Burr or his idea. But what was next? Burr really had no support and no funds to start up Burrmany. So he did what all good politicians do and that is to go grass roots campaigning.

After Burr realized the Brits could care less about his cause, he packed up his things and hit the old campaign trail. He traveled throughout the Louisiana Territory looking for men to join his cause but more importantly financial supporters. His key supporter was Harman Blennerhassett, a lawyer from West Virginia, who not only funded Burr's cause but supplied Burr his own private island from which he could establish his new nation. Burr also gained a large support from a New Orleans group, The Mexican Associates whose main goal was to take over Mexico, another war in which Burr pledged his and his armies support to. Burr's campaign was picking up not only support, but national recognition. It was reported in 1805 that Burr was not only growing an army but planned on forming a new and separate government. Needless to say his support died down and this forced Burr to seek help from elsewhere. So he tried the British and they bailed on him, he lost his grass roots support so he sought out support from the Spanish, his hopefully forgotten ally. The Spanish had a growing wary about the United States' westward expansion, so those in North America did see Burr's idea as a solid option. Unfortunately for Burr, the Spanish government didn't feel the same way and only offered him a few thousand dollars as seed money and then nothing more after. So now that Burr had some money and a few supports, it was time to start his secession from the Union. However, it would be one of Burr's closest partners that would put an end to the creation of a Burrtopiea.

Say hello to Jimmy "The Snitch" Wilkinson. Wilkinson was one of Burr's top guys, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, two time Commanding General of the U.S. Army and Governor of the Louisiana Territory. Oh and by the way the reason he was Governor of Louisiana was because his good buddy Aaron Burr appointed him the position. In 1806, Burr met with Blennerhasset and began to gather and inventory the supplies and enlist and house men on Blennerhasset Island. The Ohio Governor was worried about the amount of supplies and men Burr had and sent in the Ohio Militia to seize the island and its contents. Burr and Blennerhasset escaped and headed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. It would be in New Orleans that Wilkinson would have men and supplies ready for Burr to retake the island and begin to show their strength. Unfortunately for Burr, Wilkinson ratted him out to President Jefferson which ultimately led to Burr's arrest. Burr then faced trial for treason and was found not guilty due to lack of evidence. Burr actually denied every piece of evidence they use to prove he was trying to start a new nation and his own army. Burr was acquitted of all charges and released. But it was too late for him and his political life was officially over not only in America but across the globe. He tried his had at politics in both England and France which resulted in failure. His finance were in shambles and he continuously changed his name to avoid paying his debts. Burr died in 1836 on Staten Island as a poor debtor that the U.S. had forgotten about.

But Burr has been getting a bum rap for the last 200 years. Aaron Burr has achieved much more then many other people we see as heroes. First, he is a Revolutionary War veteran. He took part in the invasion of Quebec, fought in the Battle of Monmouth and was involved in several other key events of the Revolution. Second, he was a Vice President and during that he was also President of the Senate. During this time Burr oversaw the first impeachment trial in American History. Third, he was New York State Attorney General and a U.S. Senator. Four, and most famously he killed Alexander Hamilton. So how can that be a good thing? Well, if you know your history, it was actually Hamilton that blasted Burr in the public forums of the day and it was mostly unprovoked. Sure they were political enemies but it was also Hamilton who shot his mouth off constantly. Burr had every right to change Hamilton to that duel and had every right to take that shot, I mean come on, it was a duel. Fifth, Burr embodies America. How, you may ask? Well he is a war hero and a defender of Independence, I mean that was the whole point of him starting his own nation. The people on the frontier and Louisiana Territory felt neglected by Washington D.C. and Burr was a advocate of Independence and was a believer in the Spirit of '76. So, actually what Burr did can be compared exactly to the Founding Father, Civil Rights leaders and who knows, even Occupy Wall Street protestors to some extent. Finally, the last  example of why Burr is on his way to becoming a good guy is that Burr is on the ballot for the 2012 New Jersey Hall of Fame. That is right, the "Newark Nightmare" Aaron Burr, who was born and raised in the Garden State is about to be given that states highest honor. He'll be right up there with Edison, Sinatra, Springsteen, Lombardi, Schwarzkopf and the rest of the great New Jerseyites. So in the end, we see Burr as a man who defends his honor to the death and defends the ideas and ethics of America. All in all Burr's reputation will and should change for the better, hopefully I shed a little light on Burr, his achievements and his life.