History & Celebrations Today – July 11

Celebrations Today – July 11

Holidays and observances

Celebrations Today – USA: July 11

National Cheer Up The Lonely Day
National Rainier Cherry Day
National Blueberry Muffin Day
All American Pet Photo Day
National Mojito Day
National 7-Eleven Day
National Bowdler’s Day
National Free Slurpee Day
National Rainier Cherries Day
National Swimming Pool Day
World Population Day

Today in US History: July 11

A Tragic Duel

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton,
Photograph of a Fresco in the U.S. Capitol,
Theodor Horydczak, photographer,
circa 1920-1950.
Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959

At dawn on the morning of July 11, 1804, political antagonists and personal enemies Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey, to settle their longstanding differences with a duel. The participants fired their pistols in close succession. Burr’s shot met its target immediately, fatally wounding Hamilton and leading to his death the following day. Burr escaped unharmed. This tragically extreme incident reflected the depth of animosity aroused by the first emergence of the nation’s political party system.

Both men were political leaders in New York: Burr, a prominent Republican, and Hamilton, leader of the opposing Federalist Party. Burr had found himself the brunt of Hamilton’s political maneuvering on several occasions, including the unusual presidential election of 1800, in which vice-presidential candidate Burr almost defeated his running mate, presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson. In 1804, Hamilton opposed Burr’s closely fought bid for governor of New York. On the heels of this narrow defeat, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel on the grounds that Hamilton had publicly maligned his character.

Old Dueling Grounds
Avenue under the oaks,
Old Duelling Grounds,
New Orleans, Louisiana,
circa 1910.
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

Once sanctioned by law and custom, dueling declined in the Northern states after the American Revolution, though it flourished longer in the American South. By 1804, it had been outlawed in New York, forcing Burr in the aftermath of his encounter with Hamilton to give up his political ambitions and flee the state to avoid a warrant for his arrest.

Discredited by the duel with Hamilton, Burr sought to regain political power by a filibustering adventure, which led instead to his indictment for treason. He was accused of leading an expedition to create an independent nation along the Mississippi River by separating territories from the United States and Spain. With Chief Justice John Marshall sitting as circuit judge, Burr was tried for treason in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, in 1807, although he was eventually acquitted. The Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division’s First 100 Years collection contains the June 13, 1807, subpoena served on Thomas Jefferson to testify at Burr’s treason trial.

Learn more about Burr and Hamilton in American Memory:

Today in History – July 11-External Links

Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia