2012 Endorsements: Aaron Burr

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 23rd, 2012

2012 Election

Hamilton knew that a Republican Government needed Men of Virtue for it to Survive

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus left his plough to defend the Roman Republic.  Became dictator.  Defeated the enemy.  Resigned the dictatorship.  And returned to his plough.    The epitome of a republican ruler.  Voluntarily giving up absolute power to preserve the republic.  America had its own Cincinnatus.  George Washington.  Lucius Sergius Catilina (Catiline) was basically the anti-Cincinnatus.  Whereas Cincinnatus was honorable, virtuous, principled and selfless Catiline was not.  Where Cincinnatus tried to save the Roman Republic Catiline tried to overthrow it.  America had its own Catiline.  Aaron Burr.

Burr was an unprincipled opportunist.  While George Washington approached politics by asking what was best for the country Aaron Burr asked what was best for Aaron Burr.  Washington loathed politics and tried to stay above it.  Whereas for Burr politics were the only good thing about governing.  Burr entered politics at the birth of political parties in the US.  As the tensions were building up between Hamilton’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Republicans.  Burr started out as a Federalist.  But chafed in a subordinate role to Hamilton.  The titular head of the Federalist Party.  So he left the Federalist Party and became a Republican.  He accepted an appointment from Republican New York governor George Clinton as attorney general.  New York had two Federalist senators in Congress.  And Hamilton wanted to keep those seats Federalist.  He tried to appeal to Burr’s principles to get him to return to the Federalist Party.  But Burr had no principles.  And when Governor Clinton backed him for Senator he stayed Republican.  And won one of those seats.

Being Senator was nice but Burr wanted to be governor of New York.  He tried to make a deal with the Federalists.  He knew they wanted to get rid of Republican Governor Clinton and replace him with a Federalist governor.  He wanted to be that Federalist governor.  But Hamilton was a lot like Washington.  He had principles.  And put the country first.  Hamilton knew that a republican government needed men of virtue for it to survive.  And Burr had no virtue.  So he was not interested in making any deals with Burr.

Alexander Hamilton called Aaron Burr the American Catiline

In the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson needed New York.  And Burr had connections.  So Jefferson asked for his help.  And he delivered.  By changing the New York electors from Federalist to Republican.  Jefferson then added Burr to the Republican ticket in the 1800 election.  At that time the president was the candidate who won the most votes.  And the vice president was the candidate who won the second most votes.  Burr and Jefferson tied.  Instead of conceding the election to Jefferson (the whole point in enlisting Burr’s help was to get Jefferson elected president) he forced the House of Representatives to vote 36 times until the tie was finally broken.  Thus alienating Burr from Jefferson forever.  Knowing that Jefferson would drop him from the Republican ticket in the 1804 election he began talking to New York Federalists again.  Who wanted Burr to run for New York governor.  And he was more than willing to switch parties again as he was completely unprincipled and offered himself to the party that made it most worth his while.  It was at this time that Hamilton called Burr the American Catiline.

Also at this time there was a Federalist plot in New England.  Should Jefferson win reelection in 1804 there were plans for New England to secede from the union.  With Burr’s help New York would secede and join in a northern confederacy.  Hamilton knew of the plot.  And desperately wanted to stop it.  For it was the last thing he wanted was for the American union to dissolve.  He turned up his public attacks on Burr.  Which helped Burr lose the election in New York.  Attacks that Burr took exception to.  Challenging him to a duel to restore his honor besmirched by Hamilton’s attacks.  So on July11, 1804, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton crossed the Hudson River to Weehawken, New Jersey.  And exchanged pistol shots at 10 paces.  Hamilton reportedly fired his shot harmlessly past Burr.  Not wishing to hurt him while at the same time exposing himself to danger so as not to besmirch his honor.  Burr’s shot, though, found Hamilton.  He died the following day.  Burr won the duel.  But he lost his reputation and his political future.

Burr then headed west.  Where he had planned to set himself up in an independent nation formed by parts of Mexico, Louisiana and Texas.  He may have tried to get Great Britain involved.  And he may have had plans of going to war with Spain.  The details are a little sketchy.  But he was up to something.  When President Jefferson learned of his activities he had Burr arrested and indicted for treason.  He was acquitted of treason at his trial.  But the trial destroyed whatever was left of his political career after killing Hamilton.

If Aaron Burr were Alive Today he would likely endorse the Democrat Candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden

If Burr were alive today he would be in awe of what the federal government became.  Back in his days there were few federal jobs available.  But today?  He could live the life he always wanted.  And he wouldn’t even have to win an election.  All he would need to do is use his political connections to obtain a position in the federal bureaucracy.  A post for life.  And with an ever expanding federal government there would always be a post for life somewhere in that magnificent bureaucracy.  Where politics ruled.  Not principles.  Where government spending soars regardless of the consequences.  And class warfare creates a new aristocracy.  Not the top 10% earners who pay 70% of federal income taxes.  Or the bottom 50% who pay no federal income taxes.  No, the new aristocracy is the federal bureaucracy that sits on top of this great wealth transfer.  Like the nobility of old.  Only without the need of having a good last name.

Had Burr lived today he would have looked at the federal government and cried out, “Where have you been all my life?”  He would support anyone furthering this massive government expansion.  Especially those practitioners of class warfare.  The Democrat Party.  If Aaron Burr were alive today he would likely endorse the Democrat candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden.



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Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Governor Clinton, Livingstons, Schuylers, James Duane, Rufus King and the Hamilton-Burr Feud

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 4th, 2012

Politics 101

Alexander Hamilton was an Illegitimate Child whose Father abandoned his Family

America is the land of opportunity.  Where anyone can achieve great success.  In America you can be self-made.  You don’t need a good last name to get you places.  We have no nobility here.  No aristocracy.  Here, everyone has an equal chance.  If you have drive and ambition and talent and patience the sky is the limit.  You can go from rags to riches if you have the desire and refuse to give up.  You may fail.  And a lot of people do.  But you get to try.  Something you just can’t do in many other parts of the world.

That said it often helped to have a good last name in America.  Back in the 18th century people still married to improve their social standing, political power and wealth.  That’s why powerful families often held most of the power in cities and states.  Especially around the Founding.  And if you crossed some of these families there was going to be some payback.  So people were careful to cultivate good relationships with people that ‘mattered’.  Especially in the military.  Where the gentlemen of the finest families filled the officer corps.  Including a young Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton’s father, James, had a good last name but he long destroyed it before Alexander could profit from it.  Worse, Alexander Hamilton was an illegitimate child.  A child of adultery.  Fathered by James.  Then James lost the family money.  And abandoned his family.  Forcing eleven year old Alexander to get a job as a clerk at Cruger and Beckman, a New York trading house on the Caribbean island of St. Croix.  Where he advanced to bookkeeper.  Then to manager.  Helping him to master the skills of business and finance.  As he grew into a young man he was smart, dashing, talented and ambitious.  He had everything to succeed in the finest social circles.  Except a good last name.

Everything Hamilton was Denied by his Birth Burr was Given

That changed in the United States.  During the American Revolution.  After leaving St. Croix he arrived in New York.  And fell into the good graces of the Livingston family of New York.  A very good last name.  One of the best in the state.  Having been accepted in this circle of aristocracy made Hamilton a true gentleman.  Which qualified him for the most esteemed duty in the Revolutionary War.  Aide-de-camp to General George Washington.  Confidant and advisor to the Commander in Chief.  A very restricted inner circle.  Restricted to only the best of the best of last names.

Included in that inner circle was another ambitious young officer.  Aaron Burr.  Who was very similar to Hamilton in many ways.  But very different in one way.  Burr had a very good last name.  Everything Hamilton was denied by his birth Burr was given.  And there was one more difference.  Though both were ambitious Hamilton was driven by principle while Burr was driven by pride.  For Burr everything was about what was best for Burr.  While Hamilton put the country first.  Even though he was just as ambitious as Burr.

Burr would leave his post as aide-de-camp following a clandestine love affair.  It was the kind of thing General Washington would frown upon.  But there was another reason for leaving than avoiding a potential falling out with the general.  Burr just didn’t like Washington.  Who was very dignified, proper and reserved.  Which Burr found boring.  He was a dashing figure.  He was an officer who sought glory.  And the ladies.  Something he took great pride in.  His reputation as a lover.

When General Schuyler came up for Reelection the Livingstons wanted their Revenge and backed Burr

Fast forward to the Washington administration.  And the Hamilton and Jefferson feud.  The war between the Federalists and the Republicans.  Hamilton and his Federalists were losing their hold of power to Jefferson’s Republicans.  Jefferson had done a good job in his attacks against Hamilton and caused some defections in the Federalist Party.  The farmers in the South and out west did not like Hamilton’s designs for the country.  Based more on commerce and manufacturing.  And less on farming.  Worse, it was commerce and manufacturing supported by banking.  Even Federalist support was waning in his own state.  New York.  Which Hamilton needed to keep control of the Congress.  He had to have Federalist win the upcoming elections in New York so they would select Federalist Senators to the U.S. Senate.  There was only one problem.  Governor Clinton.

Clinton fought against the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  But he lost.  And his power was on the wane.  He had the support of the farmers.  But not the Livingstons or the Schuylers.  The two most powerful families in the New York aristocracy.  Who were aligned against him.  And they were Federalists.  While he was a Republican.  Hamilton gave the Federalists their campaign slogan for the upcoming election.  Unanimity and Exertion.  To emphasize the importance of being unified.  So the Livingstons and the Schuylers unified.  And it worked.  The Federalists won both the state assembly and the state senate.  Which meant the Federalists would be choosing the state’s senators to Congress (prior to the 17th Amendment a state’s legislature chose their senators).  And the Livingstons and the Schuylers having done their part they were ready to have one of their own fill those two seats.  The Livingstons wanted James Duane.  The Schuylers wanted General Schuyler.  There was only one problem.  Hamilton.  Who wanted Rufus King to be one of those senators.

Hamilton had connections to both families.  The Livingstons helped him start his career.  And General Schuyler was his father-in-law.  Yet King was a loyal Hamiltonian.  And that’s who Hamilton wanted.  He even got his father-in-law to support Rufus King over James Duane.  Which did not go over well with the Livingstons.  So much for unity.  The Livingstons not only broke with the Schuylers.  They joined forces with Governor Clinton.  Greatly bolstering his power.  It was a whole new game in New York.  Tilting the power from the Federalist to the Republican.  Then another player entered the picture.  Aaron Burr.  Who was a lawyer like Hamilton.  Even got along well with him.  Until the ratification of the Constitution.  And Burr took an interest in politics.  Becoming a Federalist.  Along with Hamilton.  But always subordinate to Hamilton within the party.  Something his ego just couldn’t have.  So he switched parties.  And accepted a Clinton appointment as attorney general.  Hamilton tried to win him back to the Federalists by appealing to his principles.  But Burr had no principles.  He was strictly out for himself.  So he stuck by Clinton for the time being.  Because he had more to offer at the time.  Like a U.S. Senate seat.

When General Schuyler came up for reelection the Livingstons wanted their revenge.  So they joined with the Clintonians and backed Burr for Schuler’s seat.  Burr won.  A humiliating defeat for Hamilton and the Schuylers.  Trying not to burn his bridges back to the Federalist Party Burr said he would challenge Clinton one day for the governorship.  If they’d support him.  Which he thought they would.  For they wanted to throw Clinton out of office.  But Hamilton was a man of principle.  Burr was not.  Hamilton would provide no Federalist support for Burr.  So Burr gave up on that idea.  And set his sights on the vice presidency of the United States.  As unprincipled as Burr was Hamilton could not let that happen.  And actively opposed Burr.  Thus beginning the great feud that would end on the heights of Weehawken in New Jersey.  The favorite dueling ground for New Yorkers.



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