FATHERLESS CHILDREN STORY 006
by Winsome Solo
The boy and his sister were then raised by a strict young uncle, who had married a girl from a big family. Although he enjoyed playing with his aunt's little brothers, he did not get along with his guardian, and took it into his head to "go to sea", running away several times.
Smart beyond his years, ambitious and handsome, at the amazing age of 11 he applied to Princeton, the family alma mater. The college at first refused to admit him, but did finally admit him at age 13. He graduated summa cum laude at age 16, and then started law school, but his education was interrupted by the Revolutionary War. He signed up to fight in the Revolutionary Army.
Despite having been raised comfortably and having never known poverty, this small but determined young man surprised everyone with his endurance under rough, freezing field conditions. He served later under General George Washington, and rose through the ranks. He become known as a tough disciplinarian, but one who refused to allow corporal punishment in his regiment, which made his men loyal to him. As a colonel in Malcolm's Regiment, he drove 2500 Tories from New York, and he fought at Valley Forge. Later, under General McDougal, he was celebrated for leading his soldiers in nighttime surprise attacks, rousting raiders, and establishing order in the district.
When his health began failing, he went back to studying law.
At age 26, he married a widow 10 years his senior, who already had five children. She bore him a much-loved daughter, the only child he would ever have. He praised his wife as having the "truest heart and finest intellect of any woman he had ever met", and she cherished him as a "faithful and exemplary husband".
A fan of Wolstonecraft's "Vindication of the Rights of Women", he believed that women should not receive an education inferior to that of men, and encouraged his daughter to become everything she could be. They were very close, and her mysterious death at sea some years later affected him deeply.
He entered politics, beating out a famous Federalist's father-in-law for a Senator position. This earned him a lifelong enemy. The Federalist would try for many years thereafter to keep him from holding any office anywhere, causing him to lose that very seat 6 years later, and many more positions after that. The issues that divided the two men were very important ones, and both felt strongly about them. Their disagreements centered around states' rights and centralized national government.
A few years later, he won Vice President in the same election as Thomas Jefferson became President, but more meddling by his political enemy drove him from Washington and back to New York State, where he decided to run for governor of New York. Again, his nemesis Hamilton worked to keep him out of office.
"Slander has slain more than the sword," was one of his mottoes, and he challenged his harasser to a duel with pistols, which he won, killing the other man. The shooting had the bad effect of ending his political career.
He was fed up with East Coast politics after this, and began to work in the area of establishing a separate nation from the Spanish territories out west. He thought people far away from the East Coast could live more in keeping with the frontier, independent spirit of the "New World", which in its long-settled areas was starting to look too much like the old one.
This, of course, was not viewed sympathetically. He was arrested and charged with one count of treason and one count of high misdemeanor for "intending to raise and levy war" against the United States. The prosecution had holes, however, and they could not technically pin actual treasonous acts on him. He was acquitted, and the rest of his life spent uneventfully, the victim of some of the worst press ever meted out to an American historical figure, despite his stellar promise and hard work for the American cause.
This much-maligned and misunderstood man -- patriot, lawyer, American benefactor, adventurer, feminist, N.Y. Attorney General, N.Y. State Assemblyman, U.S. Army Colonel, U.S. Senator, and third Vice President of the United States -- was
Aaron Burr, a boy from a "fatherless home".
The term "fatherless" ("fatherlessness" or "father-absent") is used in this series as it is in research and "father absence" policy rhetoric by the U.S. government, DHHS, the National Fatherhood Initiative, U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood policy and lobbying groups. The effects of father absence can be seen in the fatherless children stories. Citations to research and studies on the effects of father-absence can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
LIZNOTES TABLE OF CONTENTS | RESEARCH ROOMS | THE READING ROOM
COLLECTIONS | WOMAN SUFFRAGE TIMELINE | THE LIZ LIBRARY ENTRANCE
Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are
copyright 2007-2014 the liz library. All rights reserved.
This site is hosted and maintained by argate.net
Send queries to: sarah-at-thelizlibrary.org.