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

Time Period
1764 to 1824
Media Type
Politics & Government
David O. Stewart

On March 15, 2012, David O. Stewart delivered a lecture entitled “American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America.”

A canny and charismatic politician who rose to become third vice president of the new United States, Aaron 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 by acclaimed author David O. Stewart 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 with treason. Burr led his own legal defense in an historic treason trial in Richmond before Chief Justice John Marshall, winning an acquittal and freedom.

Mr. Stewart is an attorney who practices law in Washington, D.C.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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