Good constitutions are formed upon a comparison of the liberty of the individual with the strength of government: If the tone of either be too high, the other will be weakened too much. It is the happiest possible mode of conciliating these objects, to institute one branch peculiarly endowed with sensibility, another with knowledge and firmness. Through the opposition and mutual control of these bodies, the government will reach, in its regular operations, the perfect balance between liberty and power. Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 25, 1788
Although his interest in national policies and politics was still strong, Hamilton's role in national affairs after 1801 became smaller. He continued to publish his opinions on public affairs in the New York Evening Post. In 1804 he took a stand against a rumored plot by New England and New York Federalists to break up the Union by forming a northern confederacy (a separate union). Hamilton believed that Vice President Aaron Burr (1756–1836), whom he referred to as "the most unfit and dangerous man of the community," was involved with this plan. Hamilton also actively stood against Burr's bid for the New York governorship. After Burr lost the race, he angrily challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton believed that his "ability to be in [the] future useful" demanded that he meet the challenge.
Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had been on friendly terms for years, but after fifteen years of having every political aspiration thwarted by Hamilton, Burr was seething with anger and itching for revenge. When Burr read statements published by Hamilton to the effect of: he is "a dangerous man and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government", it was the final straw. Ultimately, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. On July 11, 1804, Hamilton was mortally wounded and he died the following afternoon in extreme pain at the age of 47.