Jersey stuck with Burr

Arguably one of the most infamous politicians of all-time, who ducked Jersey for years to avoid a Bergen County* murder charge, Newark native and Vice President Aaron Burr at least wasn’t a double-dipper.
But he can’t be called a New Jersey politician either, the old purists say. Though he was born and educated here, and he’s even buried in Princeton, he rose out of the New York political culture, and crossed the river on at least one historic occasion only to make use of the gentleman’s dueling range at Weehawken and mortally wound Alexander Hamilton.
"He came to Jersey to do his dastardly deed," said Prof. David Rebovich, managing director of the Rider University Institute for New Jersey Politics, conceding that Jersey can’t catch a break even if it can’t claim the political mantle of the infamous Burr.
Still, to some, the infamy tag may be overstated in the case of the anti-federalist Revolutionary War hero, who died on Sept. 14th, in 1836.

"I don’t think he was the most infamous politician ever to be born in New Jersey," said historian John Cunningham. "He got that reputation because he was unlucky enough to put a bullet in Hamilton. But Hamilton had treated him savagely in the newspapers."

Though the duel was a fair contest, Burr avoided Jersey for a while post-Hamilton, nursing the hope that a judge in his case would rid himself of the notion that unless the vice president was convicted of murdering the former treasury secretary, in Burr’s words, "famine and pestilence would desolate the land."

Burr believed the judge might acquiesce.

"It has been intimated to me, through different channels, that the (Grand Jury in Bergen) is ready to grant a pardon in case I should be found guilty," Burr wrote. "If so, why put me to the vexation and trouble and the state to the expense of a trial? Why not at once order a discontinuation of the prosecution?"

Bergen County did back off ultimately, yet as he gained distance on the 1804 duel, Burr ran headlong into another scandal: his alleged efforts to annex western territory and lead a newly formed country against the United States. A jury found him not guilty of that conspiracy. But the image of the unremorseful, power-hungry bad boy stuck, and if the Empire State politico never built a machine this side of the Hudson as Frank Hague did or bilked the taxpayers like Harold Hoffman, Burr remains in history an infuriating creature of Jersey.

*At the time of the Burr-Hamilton duel, Weehawken was part of Bergen County, which included the area now known as Hudson County. Hudson was formed in 1840.
Jersey stuck with Burr