American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America

American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America

by David O. Stewart


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American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America by David O. Stewart

Dreaming of an American Empire, Aaron Burr made President Thomas Jefferson tremble.

No adventure in American history has been like Aaron Burr’s. A canny and charismatic politician who rose to become third vice president of the new United States, Burr seemed to throw it all away in 1805 and 1806 in an extraordinary attempt to lead a secession of the American West.

American Emperor traces Burr from the threshold of the presidency in the contested election of 1800, through his duel with Alexander Hamilton, and then across the American West as he schemed with foreign ambassadors, the traitorous general-in-chief of the army, and future presidents, including Andrew Jackson.

His immense ambition was matched by his undisguised contempt for Thomas Jefferson, a president he thought ineffective and unwise. The indecisive Jefferson finally had Burr arrested and charged him with treason. Burr led his own legal defense in an historic treason trial before Chief Justice John Marshall, winning an acquittal and freedom.

American Emperor plays out in a youthful America bursting with promise and danger. While Jefferson is celebrated for concluding the Louisiana Purchase, it was Burr who imagined a new nation—a new empire—stretching from Florida around the Gulf of Mexico to Central America, and who pointed the way to later American expansion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439157183
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

David O. Stewart has practiced law in Washington, D.C., for more than a quarter of a century, defending accused criminals and challenging government actions as unconstitutional. He has argued appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was law clerk to Justice Lewis Powell of that Court. Having defended an impeachment trial before the United States Senate, Stewart is currently writing a book on the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial of 1868.

Visit the author's website at

Table of Contents

Leading Characters xiii

Part I 1

1 The Dark Star of the Founding 3

2 Do Not Play the Fool with His Name 13

3 The Duel 26

4 On the Frontier 44

5 The Restless West 55

6 Vice President Burr 72

7 "I… Shall Seek Another Country" 88

8 The Adventure Begins 97

9 Early Doubts 106

10 On the World Stage 116

11 Burr's Threats 124

12 The Baron of the Ouachita Valley 134

13 The Western World Ignites 143

14 High Water Mark 151

15 Dancing on the Sabine 159

16 The Daveiss Factor 168

17 Escape from Blennerhassett Island 177

18 Wilkinson Unchained 186

19 Burr in Chains 193

Part II 205

20 When Cousins Collide 209

21 What Is Treason? 220

22 Sympathy for Villainy 226

23 A Mammoth of Iniquity 239

24 Searching for an Overt Act 247

25 A Drawn Battle 259

26 To Britain 271

27 On the Continent 284

28 The History of Thy Crimes 294

Acknowledgments 307

Appendix 1 The Cipher Letter 309

Appendix 2 Indictment, United States v. Aaron Burr 313

Appendix 3 United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3 (Treason Clause) 317

Notes 319

Illustration Credits 389

Index 391

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American Emperor 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Songsue More than 1 year ago
If you know who Aaron Burr was, but aren't entirely sure exactly what it was he did, David Stewart can clear that up for you. In fact, as Stewart makes clear, Burr was trying to do many different things, and some of them were treasonous. Fascinating reading, and if the prosecution had been able to use Stewart as an investigator, Burr's story would likely have turned out very differently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a look at one of the most mysterious events in U. S. History-was Aaron Burr a traitor. It's fascinating read and well-worth reading.
moodycroatian More than 1 year ago
A must read Just imagine if Burr would have did what he set off to do
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago