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Archive for January 2010

Treason, American Style

Nattering on about Aaron Burr’s 1807 treason trial this week, I was brought up short by a very simple question:  How many treason trials have there been in the United States?  I resolved to investigate the question, which yielded the following. The Framers of the Constitution mistrusted treason prosecutions, seeing them as an easily abused tool of political…

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Haiti in Memory

The history of Haiti — which has taken such a terrible turn tis week — is intertwined with the story of Aaron Burr’s western conspiracy.  The slave revolt and war for independence in Haiti in the 1790s and early 1800s intersected with Burr in two important ways.   First, many French refugees from San Domingo (as…

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Things Written Remain

A striking feature of Aaron Burr’s life is the paucity of written material he left behind.  For a man who spent 20 years in public life during the nation’s founding, the material left is slim indeed.  The Political Correspondence and Papers of Aaron Burr were published in 1983 and constitute only two volumes.  By way of…

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Aaron Burr and Goethe — 200 years ago

On January 4, 1810, Aaron Burr met with the poet Johan Goethe in Weimar, Germany.   They were rough contemporaries:  Goethe was 60; Burr 53.   But they were at very different stages in their lives.    Goethe was a literary giant in 1810, renowned for The Sorrows of Young Werther, and still producing great poetry as he…

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