The Weekly History Thread Stands Accused of Plotting to Create an Empire or Something

Welcome to this week’s History Thread! I’ll leave the thread without a discussion question this week, discuss whatever you like.

Today’s picture: on February 19, 1807 Aaron Burr, the former Vice President of the United States, was arrested on charges of treason for his connection to the so-called Western Conspiracy. After leaving the Vice Presidency, Burr drifted west and became involved in a murky plot whose true contours aren’t certain this day. The gist is that Burr, along with various filibusters and military leaders, evidently planned to form an army and invade Spanish Texas, either to annex that territory to the United States or form their own private empire. After several years of planning, Burr’s co-conspirators (namely James Wilkinson, commander of American forces in Louisiana) lose their nerve and blabbed to anyone who’d listen. Burr was arrested and charged, on the impetus of President Thomas Jefferson who had no love lost towards his former Vice President. But the actual evidence against Burr was flimsy, and he ultimately won acquittal, returning to New York to practice law until dying in relative obscurity several decades later.