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Aaron Burr Jr was thought to be one of the most brilliant students graduated from Princeton in the eighteenth century Woodrow Wilson said he had genius enough to have made him immortal and unschooled passion enough to have made him infamous His father was Princetons second president his maternal grandfather Jonathan Edwards was Princetons third president The younger Aaron Burr was left an orphan when he was two years old his father and mother and both maternal grandparents having died within a year He did not respond well to the discipline of his austere uncle Timothy Edwards several times running away from home and attempting to go to sea He entered the sophomore class at Princeton at the age of thirteen and graduated with distinction at sixteen in 1772 a year after James Madison and Philip Freneau He was a member of the Cliosophic Society and for his Commencement Oration chose the prophetic topic On Castle Building Burr studied theology for a while and then law After the Revolutionary War in which he served with distinction as a field officer he took up the practice of law in New York City and entered politics serving as a member of the New York state assembly attorney general of New York and United States senator In the presidential election of 1800 he received the same number of electoral votes as Thomas Jefferson but the tie was broken in the House of Representatives in Jeffersons favor and Burr became vice-president Four years later on July 11 1804 in the historic duel at Weehawken New Jersey Burr mortally wounded his professional rival and political enemy Alexander Hamilton Thereafter came his errant political adventures in the West his trial for treason and his acquittal Burrs chief counsel at the trial was Luther Martin a fellow member and one of the founders of the Cliosophic Society A few years before his death the society invited Burr to come to its commencement
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