Delaware Recommended Curriculum



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The second of G H having considered it proper to subjoin an explanatory note to the statement mutually furnished, it becomes proper for the gentleman who attended Col Burr to state also his impressions with respect to those points on which their [sic] exists a variance of opinion. In doing this he pointedly disclaims any idea disrespectful of the memory of G H, or an intention to ascribe any conduct to him that is not in his opinion perfectly honorable and correct.


The parties met as has been above related & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but the direction of the light renders it necessary, at the same time feeling his pockets with his left hand, & drawing forth his spectacles put them on. The second asked if they were prepared which was replied to in the affirmative. The word present was then given, on which both parties took aim. The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening. On this point the second of Col Burr has full & perfect recollection. He noticed particularly the discharge of G H’s pistol, & looked at Col B on the discharge of G H’s pistol he perceived a slight motion in his person, which induced the idea of his being struck. On this point he conversed with his principal on their return, who ascribed that circumstance to a small stone under his foot, & observed that the smoke of G H’s pistol obscured him for a moment in the interval of their firing.
When G H fell Col B advanced toward him as stated & was checked by his second who urged the importance of his immediately repairing to the barge, conceiving that G H was mortally wounded, & being desirous to secure his principal from the sight of the surgeon & bargemen who might be called in evidence. Col B complied with his request.
He shortly followed him to the boat, and Col B again expressed a wish to return, saying with an expression of much concern, I must go & speak to him. I again urged the obvious impropriety stating that the G was surrounded by the Surgeon & Bargemen by whom he must not be seen & insisted on immediate departure.
Statement by William P. Van Ness

July 21, 1804 (Hamilton: Writings p 1031);

July 17, 1804 (Freeman 192)

Source: Alexander Hamilton: Writings. (2001) Library of America. New York.


Appendix 1

Statement of Alexander Hamilton’s Second – Nathaniel Pendleton





Appendix 2

Statement of Aaron Burr’s Second –
William Van Ness







Appendix 3

Graphic Organizer – Duel Interpretations







Lesson 5

Weighing the Evidence



Abstract: In this lesson, students will weigh evidence available to those investigating a longstanding mystery surrounding the Burr-Hamilton duel. The mystery involves the question, “Who fired first?”
Essential Question

  • Why are there different explanations of the same event in history?
Materials Needed

  • Scale (if available) – borrow one from a science teacher or you can also use a hanger and hang the evidence appropriately over the different ends (see Procedure 6)

  • Copies of Appendix 1 – Know/Not Chart

  • Copies of Appendix 2 – Evidence Strips

  • Scissors

  • Copies of Appendix 3 – Re-write History – Tragedy at Weehawken
Vocabulary

  • “Interview” (19th Century codeword for duel), eyewitness, evidence, hearsay, bias, corroborate
Procedures

  1. Activate Prior Knowledge (surface preconceptions): Ask students to complete the Know/Not Chart available on Appendix 1. What do we know about the Burr-Hamilton duel? What do we still not know? Have students share their responses. Highlight the fact that historians still debate who fired the first shot.

  2. Preview the Lesson: Today’s lesson is an attempt to enter students further into the historical debate. They are going to do history by weighing evidence that is considered when addressing the question “who fired first?” After weighing the evidence students will be asked to formulate a response that is supported by evidence.

  3. Weigh Evidence in Collaborative Pairs: Students are to work in collaborative pairs for this activity. Distribute Appendix 2 – Evidence Strips and a pair of scissors to each pair.

Appendix 2 contains numerous pieces of possible evidence presented in three different sized strips on each page. The different sizes represent varying weights of the evidence (strong, moderate, weak). After analyzing and discussing each piece of evidence with the question who fired first in mind, students should cut out that strip that represents their conclusions about the evidence and be prepared to explain why it should be considered strong, moderate, or weak.

Note: Students may argue effectively that a certain piece of evidence supports neither or both positions.

  1. Brainstorm: Ask…what questions might you (students) ask of the evidence to help determine its strength as you consider the question who fired first?

  2. Post/distribute and discuss the following questions to guide student thinking as they analyze the evidence:

  1. What is the source of the evidence (who said it?)? Does it matter, “who said it?”

  2. What do we know about the person who provided the evidence?

  3. Did the person witness the event (duel)? Does this matter?

  4. Did the author of the document have any notable biases? What are they?

  5. What is the date of the source? How close in time to the event (duel) is the source—was it created during, immediately after, a day later, a week later…? Does this matter? (may be an appropriate time for a “whisper down the lane” exercise)

  6. Does the evidence seem consistent with what you know about the event (duel) or the people involved in the event (duel)?

  7. Is the evidence or statement consistent with what you know about the time in which the duel took place?

  8. Is the evidence or statement hearsay (e.g., “someone told me”) or eyewitness testimony (e.g., “I saw…”)? Does this matter?

  9. Do other pieces of evidence corroborate what is in the source or statement?

  1. Call different students up to place their evidence strips on the side of the scale that is supported by that particular piece of the evidence. Alternatively, they can fold the evidence strip and hang it over the appropriate side of the hanger. See below for an illustration of what the scale might look like:



Option 1 Option 2



Burr Fired First Hamilton Fired First Burr Fired First Hamilton Fired First
Allow time for student to challenge conclusions to reinforce the idea that history is interpretive and that there can be different conclusions.

  1. Whole-Class Discussion: Raise the following questions after students have placed all of the evidence provided in this lesson on the scale:

  1. Where does the evidence lean most heavily—did Burr or Hamilton fire the first shot?

  2. Do we now have enough evidence to conclude that we know what happened on July 11, 1804?

  3. What does this unit suggest to us about history—is it fact, interpretation, or both?

  4. Given that history is largely interpretive, how should this unit affect how we read history?

  1. Write History: Remind students of the reading from Lesson 3 entitled “Tragedy at Weehawken.” Distribute copies of the altered reading provided in Appendix 3. Appendix 3 contains almost all of the same information as the reading from Lesson 3 except that the ending from Lesson 3 reading is cut off so that students can write their own ending. Have each student write their own ending with attention to the question who fired the first shot? Compare and contrast the endings written by students. (Note: Tell students to save their stories as they will refer back to them in the next lesson.)

  2. Whole-Class Discussion:

  • Are you surprised that classmates wrote different accounts? Why or why not?

  • What should your history textbook state about the duel?

  • Should you be surprised if there are different accounts of the past found in different history books? Why or why not?

  • What questions should you ask if you encounter (only) one account of an event in a source such as a (text)book or encyclopedia?
Debrief

Be careful not to leave the students with the impression that historical claims must be backed up by a lot of evidence. Sometimes it only takes a single piece of evidence to substantiate or refute a claim.
Check for Understanding

“Hamilton did fire his weapon intentionally and he fired first. But he aimed to miss Burr, sending his ball into the tree above and behind Burr’s location. In doing so, he did not withhold his shot, but he did waste it….”

Joseph Ellis
Founding Brothers (2000) p. 30
Joseph Ellis won the very prestigious Pulitzer Prize for his book Founding Brothers. Has Joseph Ellis finally settled the dispute over who fired the first shot on July 11, 1804? Explain.

Appendix 1

Know-Not Chart




Name: ____________________________________



I Know

What do I know about the Burr-Hamilton duel?



I Do Not Know

What do I still not know about the Burr-Hamilton duel?










Appendix 2

Evidence Strips




  1. Hamilton was given the choice and took a position with sun in his eyes that gave the advantage to Burr. “The parties met as has been above related & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but the direction of the light renders it necessary....”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. Pendleton stated that AH fired first. “Mr. P. expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did not fire first – and that he did not fire at all at Col. Burr.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. Mr. Van Ness stated that Hamilton paused to put on his glasses. “The parties met…& took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but…feeling his pockets with his left hand, & drawing forth his spectacles put them on.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. Night before the duel Pendleton states that Hamilton told him he would not fire at Burr. “…on the evening preceding the time of the appointed interview, he informed Mr. P. he had made up his mind not to fire at Col. Burr the first time, but to receive his fire, and fire in the air. Mr. P. again urged his upon this subject, and repeated his former arguments. His final answer was in terms that made an impression on Mr. P’s mind which can never be effaced. “My friend, it is the effect of a RELIGIOUS SCRUPLE, and does not admit of reasoning, it is useless to say more on the subject, as my purpose is infinitely fixed.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. The day before the duel Hamilton wrote that he would “throw away” his “first fire.” “…I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus give a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and reflect.”

Written “remarks:” Alexander Hamilton

July 10, 1804



  1. Van Ness wrote that Burr said he stumbled after AH fired and held his fire until he could see through the smoke. “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening…the smoke of G H’s pistol obscured him for a moment in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. His own second states that Hamilton’s pistol had a hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded…he was asked if he would have the hair spring set?”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. Pendleton said Hamilton’s last words before the shots were “Not this time” when Pendleton asked if he should set the hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded afford a proof…. When he received his pistol, after having taken his position, he was asked if he would have the hair spring set? His answer was, “Not this time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. Pendleton states that his first words after being shot and placed in the rowboat were “Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at Col. Burr the first time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. On the way back to the city Pendleton states that Hamilton gained consciousness and cautioned others to be careful with his pistol: “The pistol that had been used by General Hamilton, lying loose over the other apparatus in the case which was open; after having been some time in the boat, one of the boatmen took hold of it to put it into the case. General Hamilton observed this, said “Take care of that pistol – it is cocked. It may go off and do mischief.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. Van Ness stated that he looked at Burr after Hamilton fired and saw him stumble. “He noticed particularly the discharge of G H’s pistol, & looked at Col B on the discharge of G H’s pistol he perceived a slight motion in his person, which induced the idea of his being struck. On this point he conversed with his principal on their return, who ascribed that circumstance to a small stone under his foot… in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)

July 17 or 21, 1804



  1. Hamilton’s second, Nathaniel Pendleton, returned to the scene of the duel the next day to see if there might be evidence that would help settle the question—who fired first. He wrote that he “took a friend with him the day after General Hamilton died, and after some examination they fortunately found what they were in search of. They ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Colonel Burr, on the right side; he having fallen on the left. The part of the limb through which the ball passed was cut off and brought to this city…”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)

July 16 or 19, 1804



  1. “…The most abominable falsehoods are current and have issued from the house in which H. [Hamilton] now lies…”

Aaron Burr to William P. Van Ness

July 13, 1804

“…I refer you to the Morning Chronicle* [a newspaper] of the 17th inst. [July]…The following incidents will shew what reliance may be placed on those declarations of H. which assert that he did not mean to injure me &c &ca….when the word “present” – was given, he took aim at his adversary & fired very promptly – the other fired two or three seconds after him & the Gen[era]l instantly fell exclaiming “I am a dead Man…”

Aaron Burr to Charles Biddle

July 18, 1804

Appendix 2

Evidence Strips

Evidence A




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Hamilton was given the choice and took a position with sun in his eyes that gave the advantage to Burr. “The parties met as has been above related & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen. Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but the direction of the light renders it necessary....”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Hamilton was given the choice and took a position with sun in his eyes that gave the advantage to Burr. “The parties met as has been above related & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen. Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but the direction of the light renders it necessary....”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Hamilton was given the choice and took a position with sun in his eyes that gave the advantage to Burr. “The parties met as has been above related & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but the direction of the light renders it necessary....”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Evidence B




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Evidence C




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Pendleton stated that Alexander Hamilton fired first. “Mr. P. expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did not fire first – and that he did not fire at all at Col. Burr.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Pendleton stated that Alexander Hamilton fired first. “Mr. P. expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did not fire first – and that he did not fire at all at Col. Burr.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Pendleton stated that Alexander Hamilton fired first. “Mr. P. expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did not fire first – and that he did not fire at all at Col. Burr.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence D




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Mr. Van Ness stated that Hamilton paused to put on his glasses. “The parties met… & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen. Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but… feeling his pockets with his left hand, & drawing forth his spectacles put them on.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Mr. Van Ness stated that Hamilton paused to put on his glasses. “The parties met…& took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen. Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but…feeling his pockets with his left hand, & drawing forth his spectacles put them on.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Mr. Van Ness stated that Hamilton paused to put on his glasses. “The parties met… & took their respective stations as directed: the pistols were then handed to them by the seconds. Gen Hamilton elevated his, as if to try the light, & lowering it said I beg pardon for delaying you but… feeling his pockets with his left hand, & drawing forth his spectacles put them on.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804



Evidence E




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Night before the duel Pendleton states that Hamilton told him he would not fire at Burr. “…on the evening preceding the time of the appointed interview, he informed Mr. Pendleton he had made up his mind not to fire at Col. Burr the first time, but to receive his fire, and fire in the air. Mr. Pendleton again urged his upon this subject, and repeated his former arguments. His final answer was in terms that made an impression on Mr. Pendleton’s mind which can never be effaced. “My friend, it is the effect of a RELIGIOUS SCRUPLE, and does not admit of reasoning, it is useless to say more on the subject, as my purpose is infinitely fixed.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Night before the duel Pendleton states that Hamilton told him he would not fire at Burr. “…on the evening preceding the time of the appointed interview, he informed Mr. Pendleton he had made up his mind not to fire at Col. Burr the first time, but to receive his fire, and fire in the air. Mr. Pendleton again urged his upon this subject, and repeated his former arguments. His final answer was in terms that made an impression on Mr. Pendleton’s mind which can never be effaced. “My friend, it is the effect of a RELIGIOUS SCRUPLE, and does not admit of reasoning, it is useless to say more on the subject, as my purpose is infinitely fixed.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Night before the duel Pendleton states that Hamilton told him he would not fire at Burr. “…on the evening preceding the time of the appointed interview, he informed Mr. Pendleton he had made up his mind not to fire at Col. Burr the first time, but to receive his fire, and fire in the air. Mr. Pendleton again urged his upon this subject, and repeated his former arguments. His final answer was in terms that made an impression on Mr. Pendleton’s mind which can never be effaced. “My friend, it is the effect of a RELIGIOUS SCRUPLE, and does not admit of reasoning, it is useless to say more on the subject, as my purpose is infinitely fixed.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence F




Level 3: Strong Evidence

The day before the duel Hamilton wrote that he would “throw away” his “first fire.” “… I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus give a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and reflect.”

Written “remarks:” Alexander Hamilton
July 10, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

The day before the duel Hamilton wrote that he would “throw away” his “first fire.” “… I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus give a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and reflect.”

Written “remarks:” Alexander Hamilton
July 10, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

The day before the duel Hamilton wrote that he would “throw away” his “first fire.” “… I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire – and thus give a double opportunity to Col Burr to pause and reflect.”

Written “remarks:” Alexander Hamilton
July 10, 1804




Evidence G




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Van Ness wrote that Burr said he stumbled after Alexander Hamilton fired and held his fire until he could see through the smoke. “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening… the smoke of General Hamilton’s pistol obscured him for a moment in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Van Ness wrote that Burr said he stumbled after Alexander Hamilton fired and held his fire until he could see through the smoke. “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening… the smoke of General Hamilton’s pistol obscured him for a moment in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Van Ness wrote that Burr said he stumbled after Alexander Hamilton fired and held his fire until he could see through the smoke. “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening… the smoke of General Hamilton’s pistol obscured him for a moment in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Evidence H




Level 3: Strong Evidence

His own second states that Hamilton’s pistol had a hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded… he was asked if he would have the hair spring set?”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

His own second states that Hamilton’s pistol had a hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded… he was asked if he would have the hair spring set?”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

His own second states that Hamilton’s pistol had a hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded… he was asked if he would have the hair spring set?”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence I




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Pendleton said Hamilton’s last words before the shots were “Not this time” when Pendleton asked if he should set the hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded afford a proof…. When he received his pistol, after having taken his position, he was asked if he would have the hair spring set? His answer was, “Not this time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Pendleton said Hamilton’s last words before the shots were “Not this time” when Pendleton asked if he should set the hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded afford a proof…. When he received his pistol, after having taken his position, he was asked if he would have the hair spring set? His answer was, “Not this time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Pendleton said Hamilton’s last words before the shots were “Not this time” when Pendleton asked if he should set the hair trigger. “His last words before he was wounded afford a proof…. When he received his pistol, after having taken his position, he was asked if he would have the hair spring set? His answer was, “Not this time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence J




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Van Ness stated that Hamilton “first discharged.” “The pistol of General Hamilton was first discharged, and Col Burr fired immediately after, only five or six seconds of time intervening.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Evidence K




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Pendleton stated that Hamilton’s first words after being shot and placed in the rowboat were, “Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at Col. Burr the first time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Pendleton stated that Hamilton’s first words after being shot and placed in the rowboat were, “Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at Col. Burr the first time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Pendleton stated that Hamilton’s first words after being shot and placed in the rowboat were, “Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at Col. Burr the first time.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence L




Level 3: Strong Evidence

On the way back to the city Pendleton states that Hamilton gained consciousness and cautioned others to be careful with his pistol: “The pistol that had been used by General Hamilton, lying loose over the other apparatus in the case which was open; after having been some time in the boat, one of the boatmen took hold of it to put it into the case. General Hamilton observed this, said “Take care of that pistol – it is cocked. It may go off and do mischief.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

On the way back to the city Pendleton states that Hamilton gained consciousness and cautioned others to be careful with his pistol: “The pistol that had been used by General Hamilton, lying loose over the other apparatus in the case which was open; after having been some time in the boat, one of the boatmen took hold of it to put it into the case. General Hamilton observed this, said “Take care of that pistol – it is cocked. It may go off and do mischief.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

On the way back to the city Pendleton states that Hamilton gained consciousness and cautioned others to be careful with his pistol: “The pistol that had been used by General Hamilton, lying loose over the other apparatus in the case which was open; after having been some time in the boat, one of the boatmen took hold of it to put it into the case. General Hamilton observed this, said “Take care of that pistol – it is cocked. It may go off and do mischief.”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804



Evidence M




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Van Ness stated that he looked at Burr after Hamilton fired and saw him stumble “He noticed particularly the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol, & looked at Col. Burr on the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol he perceived a slight motion in his person, which induced the idea of his being struck. On this point he conversed with his principal on their return, who ascribed that circumstance to a small stone under his foot… in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Van Ness stated that he looked at Burr after Hamilton fired and saw him stumble “He noticed particularly the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol, & looked at Col. Burr on the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol he perceived a slight motion in his person, which induced the idea of his being struck. On this point he conversed with his principal on their return, who ascribed that circumstance to a small stone under his foot… in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Level 1: Weak Evidence

Van Ness stated that he looked at Burr after Hamilton fired and saw him stumble “He noticed particularly the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol, & looked at Col. Burr on the discharge of General Hamilton’s pistol he perceived a slight motion in his person, which induced the idea of his being struck. On this point he conversed with his principal on their return, who ascribed that circumstance to a small stone under his foot… in the interval of their firing.”

Excerpt, Statement of William Van Ness (Burr’s Second)
July 17 or 21, 1804




Evidence N




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Hamilton’s second, Nathaniel Pendleton, returned to the scene of the duel the next day to see if there might be evidence that would help settle the question – who fired first. He wrote that he “took a friend with him the day after General Hamilton died, and after some examination they fortunately found what they were in search of. They ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Colonel Burr, on the right side; he having fallen on the left. The part of the limb through which the ball passed was cut off and brought to this city….”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Hamilton’s second, Nathaniel Pendleton, returned to the scene of the duel the next day to see if there might be evidence that would help settle the question – who fired first. He wrote that he “took a friend with him the day after General Hamilton died, and after some examination they fortunately found what they were in search of. They ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Colonel Burr, on the right side; he having fallen on the left. The part of the limb through which the ball passed was cut off and brought to this city….”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence N (continued)



Level 1: Weak Evidence

Hamilton’s second, Nathaniel Pendleton, returned to the scene of the duel the next day to see if there might be evidence that would help settle the question – who fired first. He wrote that he “took a friend with him the day after General Hamilton died, and after some examination they fortunately found what they were in search of. They ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Colonel Burr, on the right side; he having fallen on the left. The part of the limb through which the ball passed was cut off and brought to this city….”

Excerpt, Statement of Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton’s Second)
July 16 or 19, 1804




Evidence O




Level 3: Strong Evidence

Aaron Burr shared his thoughts in two letters written shortly after the duel: “… the most abominable falsehoods are current and have issued from the house in which H. [Hamilton] now lies….”

Aaron Burr to William P. Van Ness
July 13, 1804
“… I refer you to the Morning Chronicle* [a newspaper] of the 17th inst. [July]…. The following incidents will shew what reliance may be placed on those declarations of H. which assert that he did not mean to injure me &c &ca….when the word “present” – was given, he took aim at his adversary & fired very promptly – the other fired two or three seconds after him & the Gen[era]l instantly fell exclaiming “I am a dead Man….”

Aaron Burr to Charles Biddle


July 18, 1804

Source: Kline, 884-887.





Level 2: Moderate Evidence

Aaron Burr shared his thoughts in two letters written shortly after the duel: “… the most abominable falsehoods are current and have issued from the house in which H. [Hamilton] now lies….”

Aaron Burr to William P. Van Ness
July 13, 1804
“… I refer you to the Morning Chronicle* [a newspaper] of the 17th inst. [July]…. The following incidents will shew what reliance may be placed on those declarations of H. which assert that he did not mean to injure me &c &ca…. When the word “present” – was given, he took aim at his adversary & fired very promptly – the other fired two or three seconds after him & the Gen[era]l instantly fell exclaiming “I am a dead Man….”

Aaron Burr to Charles Biddle


July 18, 1804



Evidence O (continued)



Level 1: Weak Evidence

Aaron Burr shared his thoughts in two letters written shortly after the duel: “… the most abominable falsehoods are current and have issued from the house in which H. [Hamilton] now lies…”

Aaron Burr to William P. Van Ness
July 13, 1804

“… I refer you to the Morning Chronicle* [a newspaper] of the 17th inst. [July]…. The following incidents will shew what reliance may be placed on those declarations of H. which assert that he did not mean to injure me &c &ca…. When the word “present” – was given, he took aim at his adversary & fired very promptly – the other fired two or three seconds after him & the Gen[era]l instantly fell exclaiming “I am a dead Man….”

Aaron Burr to Charles Biddle
July 18, 1804



Appendix 3

R
ewrite History – Tragedy at Weehawken


Aaron Burr Alexander Hamilton

At around 5:00 on the morning of July 11, 1804, the Vice-President of the United States and a former Treasurer of the United States were rowed in separate boats across the Hudson River from New York City to a secret location on cliffs near Weehawken, New Jersey. The Vice-President was 48-year-old Aaron Burr. The former Treasurer was the Vice-President’s longtime rival Alexander Hamilton. The two men went to Weehawken to duel. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel after he read an article that said Hamilton held a “despicable opinion… of Mr. Burr.” Since Burr challenged Hamilton, Hamilton got to select the weapons that would be used in the duel. He chose pistols.

Both Hamilton and Burr brought a “second” or trusted friend. The seconds’ jobs were to make sure that each man followed the rules for dueling and to help their friends if they were wounded. Alexander Hamilton brought Nathaniel Pendleton while Vice-President Burr brought William Van Ness.

The two seconds were the only people to witness the duel because dueling was illegal. The men who rowed Hamilton and Burr, as well as a doctor David Hosack who went in case of injuries, had to stay below in the rowboats so that they could state honestly that they did not witness the duel and, therefore, not be in a position to testify against the duelists if they were charged with a crime. Sadly, even though dueling was illegal in most states back then, it was not uncommon. Wealthy men, in particular, thought that dueling was the only way to defend their honor when that honor was seriously attacked.

Following the rules for dueling, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton stood 10 paces apart. Moments after the authorized second said “present,”

(use back of paper if needed)


Lesson 6

D
ueling Images



Abstract: In this lesson, students examine visual images of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. The visuals offers new contexts in which students hone their historical thinking skills, corroborate or refute preliminary conclusions using the additional evidence, and work with alternatives to traditional word-based texts that challenge many younger readers.
Essential Question

  • Why are there different images of the same event in history?
Materials Needed

  • Transparency or projected image of Appendix 1 – (Reflection Tool) Historical Thinking – Visual Images

  • Transparency marker.

  • Copies of Appendix 2 – Images of the Duel

  • Scissors for groups of students

  • Copies of Appendix 3 – Cover Page

  • Students revised stories – “Tragedy at Weehawken” that they completed in Lesson 5 (Appendix 3)
Vocabulary

  • Accurate, bias, corroborate, evidence, point of view, refute
Procedures:

  1. Review: Remind students that our focus is on trying to answer the question, who fired the first shot at the Burr-Hamilton duel on July 11, 1804? Ask them where the evidence seems to be pointing at this time based on the documentary evidence and the questions that they have used to interrogate those documents.

  2. Preview this Lesson: Remind students that they just analyzed one type of evidence (i.e., documents) relating to the duel between Burr and Hamilton. Now, they are going to interrogate a different type of evidence, i.e., visual.

  3. Independent Think Aloud: Ask students to take out a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. Tell them that you are going to pass out an image of the duel and that you want them to write down what they are thinking as they analyze the image. Distribute (or project) a copy of Image 1 on Appendix 2 to each student and ask them to quietly and independently analyze the image and write down what they are thinking. Tell them to include any thoughts or questions that come to mind. Invite volunteers to share their thoughts and questions.

  4. Model Think Aloud: Project a copy of Appendix 1 – (Reflection Tool) Historical Thinking – Visual Images. Tell students that there are certain things that historians think about as they look at images of historical events. The Appendix on the screen depicts some of them. Read each statement on the left hand column, making sure the students understand the mental activity it is describing. Have students reflect on what they did while looking at Image 1 and raise their hands if they did it “Not Much, A Little, etc.” and record the baseline data. Tell them that they are now going to look at several different images of the duel and that you want them to employ the same line of thinking or do the things that are on Appendix 1 as they analyze the various images.

  5. Distribute copies of Appendix 2 – Images of the Duel and ask students to cut the multiple page appendix into individual images. Then they should begin analyzing the images, looking carefully for what appear to be accuracies and inaccuracies. Allow sufficient time to cut and analyze.

  6. Reflection: Distribute copies of Appendix 1 – (Reflection Tool) Historical Thinking – Visual Images to each of the students. Have them reflect on how often they did each of the things listed in the left hand column. Record the post instructional data and reward any improvements in their “historical thinking.”

  7. Discussion: Pose the following questions to the whole class (questions that are asterisked in this lesson are drawn from Bruce VanSledright’s In Search of America’s Past: learning to read history in elementary school).

  • *Did you notice any differences in the images? Describe some.

  • *The images all describe the same duel between Burr and Hamilton so why are there differences?

  • *Where do the images come from?

  • When do you think the images were created?

  • Does it matter when the image was created? If so, how?

  • *How do they compare to the documents? Do they support or challenge the documents you analyzed in earlier lessons?

  1. Order the Images: Tell the students that their next task is to use what they have learned from the documents to arrange the images left (lease accurate) to right (most accurate).

Have volunteers suggest and explain an ordering of the visuals one at a time. Those who volunteer should come up to the front of the room with their image held out for all to see and explain why it should be placed where he or she recommends. Ask volunteers to do the same with other images, situating themselves to the left or right of other students who volunteered based on where the visual should appear on the Accuracy Continuum. Raise the following question repeatedly: *Why is Image ___ more accurate than the other images?

Allow others to raise challenges to the ordering.

Check to see if students are comparing the images to evidence they gathered from documents in earlier lessons. Be sure to encourage this if the students are not doing it themselves.


  1. Have students take out their revised story “Tragedy at Weehawken” that they completed in Lesson 5 (Appendix 3). Then, distribute copies of Appendix 3 – Cover Page – Tragedy at Weehawken. Tell the students to select one image that they believe is the most accurate image for the book cover of their story and tape or glue it onto Appendix 3 and explain why they chose that image is the space provided at the bottom of the page.

Students can staple their covers to the revised stories to create their “history book.”
Debrief

Ask students to consider both the documents they read and the images they viewed to draw conclusions to the question, who fired the first shot – Burr or Hamilton?


Note to Teacher: Reflecting upon his research with historical thinking involving 5th grade students in Marylane, Bruce VanSledright writes, “To conclude… that it is difficult to reach definitive conclusions about some historical events because the evidence is thin and conflictual is a significant cognitive achievement that may well be a crucial distinction between novice and more expert status in the history domain.” (VanSledright, In Search of…134)


Check for Understanding

Return copies of the Anticipation/Response Guides that students responded to in Lesson 2 (Appendix 1).



  • Have students re-read each statement in the Guide.

  • Have students write “Agree” or “Disagree” in the far right column labeled “Response After the Unit.”

Appendix 1 – Reflection Tool

Historical Thinking: Visual Evidence




Name: _______________________________________
Directions: Place a check in the box that describes how often you did each of the things listed in the left hand column.





Not Much

A

Little

Most of Time

Always

I tried to figure out who created the image.













I thought about the biases of the person who created the image.













I tried to infer the point of view of the person who created the image.













I tried to figure out when the image was created.













I looked for things that seemed similar to what I read in documents.













I looked for things that seemed different from what I read in documents.













I compared and contrasted the visuals to determine how they were similar or different.













I thought about which visuals seemed accurate and which seemed inaccurate.















Appendix 2

Images of the Duel



Image 1



The Granger Collection: half tone print. 19th Century. Hand colored at a later date.


Image 2



Duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after the painting by J. Mund. From the Project Gutenber e-Book. Beacon lights of History, Volume XI American Founders, by John Lord (1810-1894). http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10644 Copyright unknown.

Painting by J. Mund—From http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/0/6/4/10644/10644-h/Illus0368.jpg

Image 3



Description: A duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, in which Hamilton was killed.

Source: David B. Scott A School History of the United States (New York: American Book Company, 1884) 243. Wood Engraving, American, c1883.

I
mage 4


The Granger Collection, New York. Artist: Hooper. Wood engraving, c1874.
I
mage 5

Image from the book, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Their Lives, Their Times, Their Duel by Anna Erskine Crouse and Russel Crouse, published in 1958.




I
mage 6

The Granger Collection, New York. Wood engraving, American, c 1892


Appendix 3 – Cover Page




Tragedy
at Weehawken

Place image here

by
(your name)

Explanation: why did you select this image?

.

References

Children’s Literature


Fradin, D. B. (2008). Duel! burr and hamilton's deadly war of words. New York: Walker Books.

St. George, J. (2009). The duel: The parallel lives of alexander hamilton and aaron burr (1st ed.). New York: Viking.


Other

Burr, A., Kline, M., Ryan, J. W., & New-York Historical Society. (1983). Political correspondence and public papers of Aaron Burr [Selections.]. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Burr, S. E. (1971). The Burr-Hamilton duel and related matters (2d ed.). San Antonio: Naylor Co.

Chernow, R. (2004). Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press.

Donovan, S., & Bransford, J. (Eds.). (2005). How students learn: History in the classroom. committee on how people learn, A targeted report for teachers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Ellis, J. J. (2000). Founding Brothers : The revolutionary generation (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Fleming, T. J. (1999). Duel : Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the future of America. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Freeman, J. B. (2001). Affairs of honor : National politics in the new republic. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Hamilton, A. (2001). Alexander Hamilton : Writings [Selections.]. New York: Library of America : Distributed to the trade in the U.S. by Penguin Putnam.

VanSledright, B. (2002). In search of america's past : Learning to read history in elementary school. New York: Teachers College Press.

Wilson, J. L. (1858). The code of honor, or, rules for the government of principals and seconds in duelling. Charleston, S.C.: Printed by J. Phinney.

Wineburg, S. S. (2001). Historical thinking and other unnatural acts : Charting the future of teaching the past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Website: The American Experience – The Duel at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/

Tiny Two Tales Publications

Presents

Title


by





Dueling with Documents – Transfer Task





Overview

Students will create an “Upside Down” or “Flip Over” book1 on a topic that allows them to write about the same event from two different points of view. Account 1 will present a story from one point of view and will be written in one direction. When readers turn the book upside down, Account 2 will progress in the opposite direction and present the story from a different or competing point of view.

Prior Knowledge

Now that you understand reasons why there may be different accounts of the past, you are prepared to write an illustrated children’s “Upside Down” or “Flip Over” book.

Scenario

Tiny Two Tales Publishing Company is looking for talented young authors who can write stories about the same event from different points of view. You have been identified as one of a handful of very promising young authors in Delaware. The publisher has contracted you to write an illustrated “Tiny Two Tales” book on the topic of your choice.

Role/
Perspective


You are one of a handful of students identified in Delaware by a major publishing company as a solid author for a book that they are paying you to write.

Product

You are to write an illustrated “Upside Down” or “Flip Over”i book that tells about an event from two different points of view.

Criteria for Exemplary Response

See rubric below for additional details.

Differentiation

Read a point-of-view book to the student(s) and have the student(s) write a “Two Tale” book from a different point of view.



i An “Upside Down” or “Flip Me Over” book is a book that tells a story from two different points of view. A traditional version of the story appears on the front cover and progresses from left to right as most books do. When the reader flips the book over, a cover page introduces the story from a different point of view. Dr. Alvin Granowsky has written numerous “Another Point of View” books for Steck Vaughn including:

  • Henny Penny/Brainy Bird Saves the Day

  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff/Just a Friendly Old Troll

  • The Tortoise and the Hare/Friends at the End

  • Goldilocks/Bears Should Share

Lesson 1 of this unit uses the competing stories of The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieska to flesh out student understanding of point of view and evidence.


©2009 by Fran O’Malley
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