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United States Senate election in New York, 1791


United States Senate election in New York, 1791

The 1791 United States Senate election in New York was held on January 19, 1791 by the New York State Legislature to elect a U.S. Senator (Class 1) to represent the State of New York in the United States Senate.


In July 1789, Philip Schuyler and Rufus King had been elected to the U.S. Senate. Schuyler had drawn the short term which would expire on March 3, 1791.

At the State election in April 1790, nominal Federalist majorities were elected to both houses of the George Clinton, party lines not being drawn very strictly then.


The incumbent Philip Schuyler ran for re-election as the candidate of the Federalist Party.

New York State Attorney General Aaron Burr was the candidate of the Democratic-Republican Party, but was at that time a rather moderate politician, opposing the ultras of both parties.


Burr was the choice of both the State Senate and the State Assembly, and was declared elected.

The incumbent Schuyler was defeated, despite the nominal majority of his party. Many of the Federalists took the opportunity to show their disapproval of both Schuyler's haughtiness and the financial policies of Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Schuyler's son-in-law. Besides, the Livingston faction of the Federalist Party felt betrayed after the election of Rufus King over their candidate James Duane in 1789, and now allied themselves with Clinton and later became Democratic-Republicans.

1791 United States Senator election result
Office House Democratic-Republican candidate Federalist candidate
U.S. Senator State Senate (23 members) Aaron Burr 12 Philip Schuyler 4
State Assembly (65 members) Aaron Burr Philip Schuyler

Obs.: Burr had a majority of 5 votes in the Assembly, but the exact number of votes is unclear.


After a one-day special session of the U.S. Senate on March 4, 1791, the Morgan Lewis to succeed Burr.

By defeating Hamilton's father-in-law in such a humiliating way, Burr already at this early time became an enemy of Alexander Hamilton. Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804.


  • The New York Civil List compiled in 1858 (see: pg. 114 for State Senators 1790-91; page 165f for Members of Assembly 1790-91)
  • Members of the Second United States Congress
  • History of Political Parties in the State of New-York by Jabez Delano Hammond (pages 50ff)
  • The Life and Times of Aaron Burr by James parton (1866, pages 177ff)
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