Aaron Burr, the vice president of the United States, killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel on July 12, 1804. Burr challenged Hamilton to the duel because he was angry over Hamilton's various attacks on his character.
The enmity between Burr and Hamilton dated back to the presidential election of 1800. Neither Burr nor Thomas Jefferson garnered enough electoral votes to become president, so it fell to the House of Representatives to choose the winner. Though Hamilton disliked Jefferson, he saw him as a lesser evil than Burr, so Hamilton pressed his political allies in the House to support Jefferson. Burr became vice president, but Jefferson froze him out of important meetings and decisions. In 1804, Burr decided to run for the governorship of New York. Published reports of Hamilton's negative comments about Burr enraged the vice president, causing him to issue the challenge to duel.