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"The sensational duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr has taken its place among
American legends, along with Washington chopping down a cherry tree. Hamilton, says the legend,
brilliant former Secretary of the Treasury and driving force of the Federalist party (who
sought a strong central government) was ruthlessly gunned down by Burr, Vice President under
Jefferson and later tried for treason because of his mad plan to set up a Mississippi Valley
empire. Hamilton, mortally wounded in the shoot-out gasped that he had never intended to fire.
The truth is the pistol in Hamilton's hand did indeed shoot harmlessly high, its ball striking
a tree behind Burr, 12 feet high. Hamilton has always come across as the good guy tragically
slain. Burr has always worn the black hat.

Until recently few have questioned this legend. And no one has looked at an important piece of
surviving evidence-the pistols with which the duel was fought."

Read the article (transcription at bottom): http://www.aaronburrassociation.org/Smithsonian.htm
 
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