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Founding Brothers - Relationships

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The book Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, provides an interesting look at the Founding Fathers and their relationships as they formed our nation. Political and personal relationships were important in the nation's history. The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr illustrates how personal relationships affect how Congress functioned. In the essay, "The Dinner," Ellis emphasises the political relationship between everyone who attended the "closed door meetings at Thomas Jefferson's house.

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr came from two different backgrounds, yet both held significant military ranks. Hamilton was an illegitimate child of a drunk irishman and a french woman in the west indies, so he needed to work hard to become high ranked in the government and military. Burr was descended from a aristocratic family so he was already in the upper class. Hamilton was in political decline after losing to Jefferson and Burr in the presidential election. They were friends in the revolution but when Burr defeated Hamilton's father in law for Senate they began to hate each other. (42) This caused the two, Burr in particular, became opposed to anything the other supported. When they lost political power, they had a duel so they could try and save what political reputation they had.

When Burr defeated Hamilton's father- in- law for a seat in the Senate, their previous friendship from the Revolutionary war fell apart. Burr in particular would disapprove of everything Hamilton voted for/believed. Hamilton was afraid that he would lose political power as Burr gained power. Eventually the two lost power almost entirely in their own parties (find Quote).

When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr lost their political power, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton accepted in order to save his political reputation. He did not feel he hated Burr as a person, just his political views (22) He also stated, "I have resolved... to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts of even reserving my second fire-and thus giving a double opportunity to Col. Burr to pause and reflect".



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