Skip to main content

History Mysteries

May 2024
1min read

The answer to “What Made Burr Tick?” is quite simple. Burr was a contemporary of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose incredible rise to power in Europe had blurred all sense of reality for an entire generation. Like Napoleon, Burr was a young aristocrat who had risen to prominence through battlefield courage in a revolution. Burr’s efforts to make himself emperor of Mexico were surely no more far-fetched than Bonaparte’s already successful grab for power in Revolutionary France.

I would like to take exception, however, to Thomas Fleming’s question “Was Jefferson Guilty?” The question presumes that miscegenation is a crime. Personally, I have no idea whether or not Jefferson was sexually involved with Ms. Sally Hemings. But if he was, it would have been an affair between two unmarried people. By all accounts they were emotionally devoted to each other. Where’s the guilt?

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.