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.