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Was Aaron Burr acquitted of charges of plotting to set up an empire?

September 1st

Arron BurrSeptember 1, 1807 — Aaron Burr was acquitted today of charges of plotting to set up an empire. A Founding Father — and the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a famous duel three years earlier — Burr had stepped down from the vice presidency after serving under Thomas Jefferson from 1800 to 1804.

In that time, he devised a plan to annex sections of Louisiana and Mexico in order to establish an independent republic over which he would rule. Enlisting the help of James Wilkinson, the commander in chief of the US Army, Burr petitioned the British government for assistance but was unsuccessful.

Continuing with his plan, he led an armed group of colonists toward New Orleans in the fall of 1806. However, the attempted siege ended when Wilkinson, concerned over the possibility of punishment, alerted the government to Burr’s act of treason. Burr was arrested in Louisiana and sent to face trial in Virginia. He was acquitted on the grounds that he had not engaged in an “overt act” against the United States.

Words of Wisdom

Never do today what you can as well do tomorrow, because something may occur to make you regret your premature action.

— Aaron Burr, US Senator and Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson

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