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Theodosia Burr Alston
Synopses & Reviews
For Vice President Aaron Burr, providing his daughter, Theodosia, with an extraordinary education was much more than just a lifelong obsession. By the time she could walk, Burr had envisioned an incredible goal for her and crafted a master plan to achieve it. He was not interested in turning out just a smart, pretty girl; a father's pride; or a husband's delight. Burr was no petty theorist. He was a brilliant, passionate, egotistical visionary on scale that made the gods cringe. Theodosia was not trained to serve hearth, husband, or plantation. In the 1790s, Burr embraced the radical feminist theories of Mary Wollstonecraft, who argued that girls should receive the same education as boys. From her teens through her marriage in 1802, Theodosia was groomed and educated to become a female Aaron Burr and take her intended station in life: nothing less than president, queenor empress. From her birth into Aaron Burr's illustrious New England family — her childhood amidst the leaders and the high society of the new nation; her marriage to Joseph Alston, a South Carolina slave-owning aristocrat; her voyage down the Ohio River to become the Empress of Mexico — to her tragic and mysterious death at sea, this is the true story of Theodosia Burr Alston. Directly from the letters she exchanged with her father, husband, and friends emerges the portrait of an amazing woman and a true American prodigy — and for twenty-one days, the First Lady of South Carolina. The meticulously researched book also explores whether Burr's intensely close relationship with his daughter may have triggered the legendary Aaron Burr - Alexander Hamilton duel.
Anya Seton's best-selling first novel, originally published in 1941, captures all the drama of the short life of Theodosia Burr (1783-1813), daughter of Aaron Burr.
“Anya Seton’s portraits of Aaron and Theodosia Burr alike are vivid and credible . . . The narrative is well sustained, and provides as background an entertaining account of the manners, the ways of living and traveling and entertaining followed during the early years of the nineteenth century.” —New York Times
Anya Seton’s best-selling first novel, originally published in 1941, captures all the drama of the short life of Theodosia Burr (1783–1813). Her father, Aaron—Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, most famous for his great duel with Alexander Hamilton—holds sway over young Theodosia’s heart. But his arrogance forces her to choose between the man he insists she marry and her love for a young soldier who will turn out to play a decisive role in her father’s fate. Persuaded by Aaron that through his treasonable plans she will soon be crowned princess of the Kingdom of Mexico, she is received like royalty on Blennerhassett Island, only to end up trying to exonerate her father as he awaits trial in a Richmond jail, repudiated by his fickle son-in-law and friends.
Theodosia remains a haunting figure in American history, still lovely, still imperious, never vanquished.
About the Author
ANYA SETON (1904–1990) was the author of many best-selling historical novels, including Katherine, Avalon, Dragonwyck, Devil Water, and Foxfire. She lived in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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