10 Big Cases of Revenge


Aaron Burr

Revenge, served right in the kisser.
Revenge, served right in the kisser.
Kean Collection/Getty Images

There are few stories of political rivalry in American history as legendary as that between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. And there are few cases of revenge as straightforward as their duel.

Burr and Hamilton both served in the revolutionary army under Washington. Both had political careers and aspirations for high office, which both achieved. And neither was above underhanded dealings to rise to power.

Hamilton is best known as the author of most of the Federalist Papers and as the first Treasury Secretary of the U.S., but he was also adept at influencing the political outcome of elections and nominations. In his 47 years, he managed to run afoul of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, mainly due to his backroom deals with underlings who could undermine their power.

But it was Burr whose line Hamilton would ultimately cross. After he lost the presidency to Thomas Jefferson by a decision Hamilton helped engineer in the House of Representatives, Burr accepted his fate and served as Vice President. He went onto run for governor of New York, only to find Hamilton working against him there as well. Burr had had enough; he challenged Hamilton to a duel and mortally wounded him on July 11, 1804 [source: Congress.gov].