Social Media:


Navigate Site:


This site is powered by:

Powered by Squarespace
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    The Hamilton-Burr Duel & The Hair Trigger Theory

    The infamous Alexander Hamilton/ Aaron Burr duel in Weehawken New Jersey that led to Hamilton's untimely death may have been a result of a little-known hair-trigger in the dueling pistols that was atypical of dueling pistols at the time. Allegedly, Hamilton provided the pistols to be used, not disclosing that the triggers were much more sensitive, theoretically hoping that he could fire off a shot before Burr, who was known as a good shot. The scheme backfired, as Hamilton shot prematurely, well before he had taken aim, allowing Burr to take his time to aim and fire. 

    The hair triggers were discovered in 1976, 172 years after the famous confrontation, when the pistols were examined. A Smithsonian magazine article describes the investigation here. Many recall when the duel was more contemporarily popularized in the very first "Got Milk" ad in 1993, which depicted a Burr/ Hamilton enthusiast who could not answer a radio quiz question because his mouth was full of peanut butter:

    And, saving the best for last, there's an excellent short film on the subject - a modern take, from Aaron Burr's perspective: 

    Aaron Burr, Part 2 from Dana O'Keefe on Vimeo.

    « Flashback: The Kennedy Nixon Debate in 1960 | Main | 2012 GOP Primaries & The Republican Theory of Ascension »