Aaron Burr, Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician. He was elected twice to the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799), was appointed New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), was chosen as a United States Senator (1791–1797) from the state of New York, and reached the apex of his career as third Vice President of the United States (1801–1805), under President Thomas Jefferson. Despite these accomplishments, Burr is chiefly remembered as the man who killed his rival Alexander Hamilton in the famous 1804 duel. Controversy dogged Burr throughout his lifetime, and his reputation among historians remains contested.
Burr was born in Newark, New Jersey, to the Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr., a Presbyterian minister and second president of the College of New Jersey in Newark (which moved in 1756 to Princeton and later became Princeton University). His mother, Esther Edwards, was the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, the famous Calvinist theologian, making Burr Edwards's grandson. The Burrs also had a daughter, Sarah, who married Tapping Reeve, founder of the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Aaron Burr's father died in 1757, and his mother the following year, leaving him an orphan at the age of two. Grandfather Edwards and his wife Sarah also died that year; young Aaron and his sister Sally went to live with the William Shippen family in Philadelphia. In 1759, the children's guardianship was assumed by twenty-one-year-old uncle Timothy Edwards. The next year, Edwards married Rhoda Ogden and moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rhoda's younger brothers Aaron and Matthias became the boy's playmates and lifelong friends.