66 pages 2 hours read

Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2004

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Chapters 35-40

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 35 Summary: “Gusts of Passion”

On December 22, 1799, a young woman named Gulielma Sands was found drowned in a well owned by the Manhattan Company. She was the fiancée of a man named Levi Weeks. Her death became known as the Manhattan Well Tragedy. Aaron Burr cooperated with Hamilton in defending Levi Weeks of the murder charge and he was found not guilty.

Jefferson and the Republicans won 12 electoral votes in the fall’s election. Adams realized that he was now a weakened candidate and purged his cabinet of any men he considered disloyal. Burr believed that the shift would allow him to win the vice presidential nomination and began to plan his campaign. He believed that “if he could deliver New York into the Republican camp, he might parlay that feat into a claim on the second spot under Jefferson” (728). On May 1, 1800, Republicans won the New York elections, meaning Jefferson could count on 12 electoral votes. In desperation, Hamilton appealed to Governor Jay to restructure the outgoing state legislature and “impose new rules for choosing presidential electors” (731). Chernow calls this move “the most high-handed and undemocratic act of his career” (731).