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First Place: Hamilton Shoots Burr by Steve Payne

Author says: the French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand wrote "I consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to [Alexander] Hamilton". Was he correct in this assessment we ask? Well, he is in this post in which we continue our series of unlikely heroes. Because when John Adams triumphs in 1800 the task of saving the Union rests with Hamilton. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).


In 1804: on July 1st, on this day Colonel Aaron Burr took office as the third Governor of New York with the immediate intent of seceding the State out of the Union and into a newly created Northern Confederacy.

Believing that the Louisiana Purchase had destroyed their chances of controlling the government, a group of New England Federalists, led by Timothy Pickering had originated the dastardly plot. But it was soon discovered by Alexander Hamilton who immediately sought to foil it by published a series of articles that were highly critical of Burr.

And yet the electoral impact of those articles was neutralised by the widely written "Antifederalist Papers" which had been published anonymously throughout the gubernatorial election bearing the unmistakeable penmanship of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The result was that Hamilton's preferred opposition candidate Morgan Lewis lost by a mere thousand votes.

Hamilton made a second, and more successful attempt to foil the plot ten days later when he met Burr for an "interview" at Weehawken. Only yards from the spot where his son had died three years before, Hamilton reserved both shots, humilitating Burr with the implication that he wasn't worth shooting, a tactic British Primie Minister William Pitt the Younger employed against George Tierney.

After missing Hamilton with his own shot, Burr fled to the south-west where he executed a variant of Pickering's plot by creating the breakaway republic of Gloriana which ironically enough detached the territory acquired by the Louisiana Purchase.

Author says please note original content has been repurposed to celebrate the author's genius The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers by Brion McClanahan (2009). To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Other Contemporary Stories

Tragedy at Elk River Bring it on Home President John Hancock

Steve Payne Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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