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Aaron Burr's Texas Conspiracy

Some call it treason. Rumors that the Vice-President of the United States is conspiring with the British to start his own country in the Southwest has spurred Thomas Jefferson to have his own VP arrested. What is his evidence? Nothing firm. A letter from one of Burr's associates and a few witnesses who attest to certain things Burr has said previously. The House of Representatives impeaches him on the charge of conspiracy to send an army against Spain and outright treason. His case goes to the Senate for trial. The support from amongst his fellow Federalists is weak. Chief Justice John Marshall will keep Aaron Burr's neck out of the hangman's noose because he will note that a charge of treason requires that a person take some action, and Burr took no action. He just talked... to the British... about stuff that might be construed as disloyalty to the United States and a violation of his oath of office, but not treason... exactly. You see... he was trying to buy land in Texas... just a farm, you see. Since Texas is in Spanish territory, he had to negotiate with a foreign government and yes, he made some friendly suggestions to the British about positioning their army in the Southwest, but nothing was firm... yet. Burr is acquitted but he is finished. No one wants to know him any more. He leaves for Europe, but he will return in a few years under an assumed name and open a law practice. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Did he commit treason? Technically no, but he was obviously working on it. The amount of land that Burr wanted to buy as farmland was a little less than 1/4th the landmass of the state of Texas (if the state had existed at the time). That would be a fairly big farm so folks were wondering if he didn't have something else in mind. Given that Burr was once called a potential Napoleon, at least a few people were wise to him. Convicting him of treason would have set a bad precedence with the shaky evidence at hand. To render him dead, politically, was enough.

Europe is in the Hands of Napoleon

The Emperor of Austria, Francis the 1st, has capitulated to Napoleon. Emperor Francis abdicates his throne of the Holy Roman Empire, but it really doesn't matter any more. The Holy Roman Empire has been dead for a long time now. Francis marries off his daughter to Napoleon since he needs an heir. Napoleon divorces Josephine and she is very unhappy but in the end, she understands. Napoleon organizes the various German provinces into the Confederation of the Rhine, and he declares a Continental-wide embargo of British trade. [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
For some reason, smuggling to and from Great Britain suddenly increased. In the end, the economic embargo hurt Napoleon more than it hurt Great Britain. It also undermined Napoleon's authority, since he looked too weak to enforce the embargo and the effort to enforce the embargo tended to tie down his troops doing what was essentially customs officials' work. His authority was based on his charisma as a winner, so he couldn't afford to lose too many times, nor for too long. This goes back to the old maxim: don't give an order that you know won't be obeyed. [5]

In Other News

  • William Colgate & Company is open for business! He is making starch, soap and candles in New York. Colgate Toothpaste will be introduced by his son in 1873. [6]
  • Andrew Jackson kills a man in a duel. Jackson's wife, Rachel is hot, hot, hot! Apparently this guy said something unseemly to her. [7]
  • US Route 40 is authorized by Thomas Jefferson. It's going to take a while to build. Right now it is called the Cumberland Road. later it will be a longer National Road and then US Route 40. Catchy name. [8]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1806, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. United States v. Aaron Burr : Judicial Conference of the United States (Streaming Video). Internet Archive (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Dramatizes the trial of Aaron Burr, presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall. Strictly adhering to the Constitution, Marshall stepped between Burr and death, and the doors were closed against government abuse of the treason charge.”
  2. Burr conspiracy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “While Burr was still Vice President, in 1804 he met with Anthony Merry, the British Minister to the United States. As Burr told several of his colleagues, he suggested to Merry that the British might regain power in the Southwest if they contributed guns and money to his expedition. Burr offered to detach Louisiana from the Union in exchange for a half a million dollars and a British fleet in the Gulf of Mexico.”
  3. Historical Timeline of Vienna (PDF). Expat Center Vienna. 2014 [last update] (TIMELINE) Quote: "1806 Emperor Francis abdicates as the Holy Roman Emperor."
  4. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Francis II (German: Franz II., Erwählter Römischer Kaiser) (12 February 1768 – 2 March 1835) was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire after the decisive defeat at the hands of the First French Empire led by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz.”
  5. Continental System - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “The embargo encouraged British merchants to seek out new markets aggressively and to engage in smuggling with continental Europe. Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could not stop British smugglers, especially as these operated with the connivance of Napoleon's chosen rulers of Spain, Westphalia and other German states.”
  6. Colgate-Palmolive - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 August 2015. “In 1806, William Colgate, an English soap and candle maker, established a starch, soap and candle factory on Dutch Street in New York City under the name of 'William Colgate & Company'.”
  7. Andrew Jackson - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “In 1806, he killed a man in a duel over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel.”
  8. National Road - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 June 2016. “Construction of the 'Cumberland Road' (which later became part of the longer 'National Road') was authorized on March 29, 1806, by third President Thomas Jefferson. The new 'Cumberland Road' would replace the wagon and foot paths of the 'Braddock Road' for travel between the Potomac and Ohio Rivers, following roughly the same alignment until just east of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. From there, where the 'Braddock Road' turned north towards Pittsburgh, the new 'National Road'/'Cumberland Road' would continue west to Wheeling, West Virginia (then part of Virginia), also on the Ohio River.”

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