Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father of the United States (signer of the US Declaration of Independence,) chief of staff to General Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the Constitution and the founder of the nation’s financial system (and first Secretary of the Treasury.)
In the election of 1796, under the Constitution as it stood then, each of the presidential electors had two votes, which they were to cast for different men. The one who received most votes would become President; the second-most would be Vice President. John Adams became President and Thomas Jefferson Vice President.
In the 1800 election, Jefferson and Aaron Burr (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) received an equal number of votes; Adams was beat. Following a constitutional procedure, the US House of Representatives held a vote to determine the winner. After 35 votes with neither receiving a majority, on the 36th vote, Hamilton put his support behind Jefferson; Jefferson finally won, Burr was VP.
When it became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, Burr ran for governor of New York. Hamilton campaigned vigorously against him. Morgan Lewis, assisted by Hamilton, defeated Burr.
Hamilton and Burr did not like each other. Hamilton had called Burr “a dangerous man, and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government … (and) expressed … still more despicable opinion” of Burr.
Burr demanded a “prompt and unqualified” denial or an immediate apology. Hamilton did neither. Burr insisted that they settle the dispute according to the code of honor.
Shortly after 7 o’clock on the morning of July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton met on a dueling ground in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York. It was the exact spot where Hamilton’s eldest son Philip had died in earlier duel.
After Hamilton and Burr took their positions ten paces apart, Hamilton raised his pistol on the command to “Present!” and fired; his shot struck a tree a few feet to Burr’s side. Then Burr fired. His shot struck Hamilton in the right side and passed through his liver. Hamilton died the following day. (U of Houston)
The death of Hamilton, however, ended Burr’s political career. President Jefferson dropped him from the ticket for the 1804 presidential election, and he never held office again.
OK, that was there; what was happening in the Islands?
In 1795, Kamehameha’s final battle of conquest took place on Oʻahu. Kamehameha landed his fleet and disembarked his army on Oʻahu, extending from Waiʻalae to Waikīkī. … he marched up the Nuʻuanu valley, where Kalanikūpule had posted his forces. (Fornander)
At Puiwa the hostile forces met, and for a while the victory was hotly contested; but the superiority of Kamehameha’s artillery, the number of his guns and the better practice of his soldiers, soon turned the day in his favor, and the defeat of the Oʻahu forces became an accelerated rout and a promiscuous slaughter. (Fornander) Estimates for losses in the battle of Nuʻuanu (1795) ranged up to 10,000. (Schmitt)
Then, Kamehameha looked to conquer the last kingdom, Kauaʻi, which was under the control of Kaumualiʻi. (In Europe, in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France.)
In 1804, Keʻeaumoku (father of Kaʻahumanu (favorite wife of Kamehameha) and a staunch supporter, one of the great chiefs and the first among the war leaders of Kamehameha (one of his “Kona Uncles) died.
That same year (also about the time of the US expansion with the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark “Corps of Discovery Expedition,”) King Kamehameha I moved his capital from Lāhainā, Maui to Waikīkī, then Honolulu on O‘ahu, and planned an attack on Kaua‘i. Kamehameha’s forces for this second invasion attempt included about 7,000-Hawaiians along with about 50-foreigners (mostly Europeans.)
The maʻi ‘ōkuʻu (believed to be cholera) struck the islands in about 1804. Some reports note about one-half the population (175,000) died, however, some feel that is quite likely that close to 5,000 Hawaiians died from it. (Schmitt) Weather and sickness thwarted Kamehameha’s invasions of Kauaʻi.
In the face of the threat of a future invasion, in 1810, Kaumuali‘i decided to peacefully unite with Kamehameha and join the rest of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi under single rule.
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