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The East Coast breeds virulent political enmities. Perhaps they're no worse there than elsewhere, but their legacy there is certainly strong. The current Virginia brouhaha between Charles Robb and Douglas Wilder is reminiscent of one of the earliest, most virulent, and bloodiest political vendettas of American history--that between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

Both Presidential "wannabes," Governors Robb and Wilder have political strengths of their own and others' making. Wilder aims to hurt Robb politically on a variety of charges; Robb plans the same for Wilder. The feud boils down to who will control Virginia politics, and their weapon is an argument over who said what to whom privately, and how the information became public knowledge.

Burr and Hamilton also fought for political control of a state--New York. Both played on the national scene, using their state as a power base. Burr wanted to be President; Hamilton, who could not, simply wanted to play king maker--and to ensure that anyone other than Burr gained the post.



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