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Treason: Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and the Constitution

English: Aaron Burr Français : Aaron Burr

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Aaron BurrSunday, February 19, is the 205th anniversary of the arrest of the former hero of the American Revolution and Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, on charges of treason.Aaron Burr’s disaffection with the federal government began six years earlier when he was denied the presidency by the House of Representatives.

After equaling Thomas Jefferson in the delegate count in the electoral college each man received 73 electoral votes, the House of Representatives was called upon to fulfill its constitutional role of tie-breaker. After 36 ballots, Thomas Jefferson was elected President by one vote and Aaron Burr became his Vice President. In March 1805, after four troubled years filled with partisan in-fighting and blossoming distrust among Burr and many of the leaders of the day — including the famous collaborators Thomas Jefferson and James Madison — Burr left the Jefferson administration and began preparing for an armed expedition in the West that has come to be known as the Burr Conspiracy.

The origins of the conspiracy are found in the increasingly close relationship that developed between Aaron Burr and General James Wilkinson. The two Revolutionary War veterans served together in the Canadian theater, principally at Quebec during the winter of 1804-1805. Over the years the two devised a secret code, a cipher that was apparently invented by General Wilkinson. Already by 1804 Wilkinson was notorious for being a rabble rouser, having advocated for a separate republic to be established in the west, independent of the new nation built along the Atlantic seaboard. Upon departing the banks of the Potomac, the former Vice President struck out for a tour of the western territories.

His first stop was Philadelphia in March of 1805, where he secured an interview with Anthony Merry, the British Ambassador to the United States. Merry reported details of his conversation…..

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via Treason: Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and the Constitution.

 

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