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By Cecil Chesterton

Writer: George H. Doran corporation e-book date: 1919 matters: usa background usa Fiction / Classics heritage / normal heritage / usa / basic heritage / usa / country

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But the anomaly and disaster of Burr's election had been so narrowly avoided that a change in the Constitution became imperative. It was determined that henceforward the votes for President and Vice-President should be given separately. The incident had another consequence. Burr, disappointed in hopes which had almost achieved fulfilment, became from that moment a bitter enemy of Jefferson and his administration. Also, attributing the failure of his promising plot CHAPTER V 39 to Hamilton's intervention, he hated Hamilton with a new and insatiable hatred.

At any rate, the purely self-seeking demagogue is certainly a recurrent figure in democratic politics, and of the self-seeking demagogue Aaron Burr was an excellent specimen. He had been a soldier not without distinction, and to the last he retained a single virtue--the grand virtue of courage. For the rest, he was the Tammany Boss writ large. An able political organizer, possessed of much personal charm, he had made himself master of the powerful organization of the Democratic party in New York State, and as such was able to bring valuable support to the party which was opposing the administration of Adams.

So also was the instinct of loyalty to his fellow-citizens, a desperate, necessary loyalty as to comrades in a besieged city--as, indeed, they often were. The other condition was the product partly of natural circumstances and partly of that wise stroke of statesmanship which had pledged the new lands in trust to the whole Confederacy. The Westerner was American--perhaps he was the first absolutely instinctive American. The older States looked with much pride to a long historical record which stretched back far beyond the Union into colonial times.

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