Images of the 1807 Trial where Aaron Burr was found Not Guilty.
-- 16 Scans of 47 pictures photocopied from books. --
Please feel free to use these images for the KPI television production on the trial for the History Channel.
REBELS AND TRAITORS: August 22 at 10 pm ET/PT: Learn about some of the lesser-known homegrown plots to rebel, revolt, and subvert the rule government. First, it's off to San Francisco to meet America's one and only Emperor -- Joshua Abraham Norton, who declared himself "Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico" in 1859. Next, the two Marks wade through cutlasses, treasure, and talking severed heads at the Pirate Soul pirate museum on the trail of one of America's original rebels, the pirate Blackbeard. Then, it's a journey from Weehawken, New Jersey to Blennerhassett Island in the Ohio River to document Aaron Burr's aspirations to take over the U.S. In Florida, our hosts explain how a really bad traffic jam led to Key West's secession in the 1980s.
PS Are Burrites jealous that their man was not featured on US currency?
We unfortunately could not fit the Aaron Burr story into our
episode of "Weird U.S." which airs tonight.8/22
The story is, however, going to be added to another episode, airing next month.
The airdate for that episode is Sept. 19 (at 10 p.m. on The History
Thank you again for all of your help and I hope you enjoy the show!
The episode of "Weird U.S." with the Aaron Burr story was pushed back one
week. As of now, it's airing at 10 p.m. on Monday, September 26.
The episode's title is: "History or Hoax" and you can check The History Channel program schedule on the link below, in case there are any other changes.
Scan 1 below shows Aaron Burr seated to the left, directing his legal team to victory
Scan 2 Above Aaron Burr recruits pioneers, and is improperly arrested by the US Army in Alabama.
Scan 3 The images of Colonel Burr.
Scan 4 More depictions of Aaron Burr.
For back ground, everyone thought war with Spain was imminent.
Spanish forces had crossed into US territory to attack us.
It was up to General Wilkinson, head of the US military to decide if Spain should be attacked or not.
Wilkinson was appointed to that post by President Jefferson
(at Burr's request when Jefferson wanted Burr to impeach Judge Chase and gave Burr some favors.)
Burr was ready to help if there was a war, or settle land he bought if there wasn't a war.
Scan 5 Aaron Burr's daughter Theodosia (the best educated young lady in the USA in the 18th century)
and her husband, South Carolina Governor Joseph Alston, both of whom accompanied her father down the Ohio River
and at court in Richmond. Joseph was wealthy and funded the riverboats for the pioneers. No pictures exist of their son.
Alston had slaves on his plantations, but Burr opposed slavery.
(Burr was the most radical abolitionist of the 18th century per Judge Higgenbottom.)
Since Jefferson's bosses were the plantation owners, and the 3/5ths rule allowed them to vote 3 times for each 5 slaves they owned,
Jefferson needed Burr out of the way so he could continue the Virginia dynasty in the White House,
which he did with Madison and Monroe for a quarter century.
Scan 6 Earlier influences affecting the trial, Alexander Hamilton, and Burr's second at the Duel, William Peter Van Ness.
Scan 7 Burr's friends and supporters, Jonathan Dayton (from Princeton and Revolutionary War Days?)
John Swartwout woke Burr on 7/11/04 and fled with him.
Sam Swartwout ( John's younger brother) delivered Burr's encoded letter to James Wilkinson on the Mississippi
saying we are ready to support you whenever you attack Spain
only to be betrayed by Wilkinson (the Spanish spy while commander of the US Army!
as was revealed a century later during the Spanish American War.)
Sam was taken by ship to Washington where able attorneys had him set free.
At Burr's 1807 trial he pushed Wilkinson into the street and challenged him to a duel.
Wilkinson also stole his gold watch in New Orleans.
Scan 8 William Claiborne was governor of New Orleans, who feted Burr at a dinner,
but then followed Wilkinson's cry to defend Orleans against a Burr attack that could never happen.
Burr had 100 or so unarmed pioneers heading to the Washita River land he had purchased.
Burr was arrested on the Mississippi and found innocent for the second time, but was ordered jailed anyway.
So he escaped to Alabama.
Yrujo the Spanish ambassador is the funniest character in Gore Vidal's fiction novel BURR.
William Eaton testified against Burr that Burr wanted to conquer Mexico.
On cross examination Burr said
"You billed the government $10,000 for fighting off the coast of Africa years ago, right?"
"And President Jefferson who wants me hung and has already stated he thinks I'm guilty
only agreed to pay it to you last week when you promised to testify against me, right?"
Eaton said "Right" and sat down with the loosing prosecutors.
Scan 9 Andrew Jackson, who may have looked like one of the images above, spoke in Burr's favor.
He eventually ended the plantation owners' presidential dynasty.
Scan 10 The poor Blennerhassetts befriended Burr.
Burr told Harmon that Harmon could move out west and experience adventure instead of being retired at his
Ohio River mansion, and Harmon yearned to do more,
and so Jefferson's militia came to their mansion,
raided their wine cellar, got drunk, and destroyed their home and lives.
Scan 11 William Wirt, the unsuccessful prosecutor along with George Hay (Monroe's son in law) and Alexander MacRae, the Lt. governor of Virginia) reported back to President Jefferson every evening after the trial recessed.
Postmaster Granger opened all mail that might be of interest to his boss TJ.
Scan 12 Wilkinson was not known to be so evil until the end of the 1800's when documents were seized in Cuba during the war.
But it was too late to clear Burr's name.
-sort of like the 1976 X-ray of John Church's pistols that showed the secret hair triggers Hamilton used to try to murder Burr.
Scan 13 Map of the Bastrop Grant land on the Washita River in what is now Louisiana and Arkansas.
Burr bought these four hundred thousand acres in July 1806 for $40,000 with $5000 down, (all he paid with loans from relatives like the Edwards' and Alstons) The young pioneers that came with him were to get 100 acres free. When Burr was arrested south of St. Louis, the pioneers stayed in that area as teachers, millers, farmers and cowboys.
Wilkinson's main problem with the letter Swartwout
delivered was that he crossed out the first sentence Burr wrote that said.
"This is in reply to the letter you just sent me".
(The letter was probably written by Jonathan Dayton and not Burr anyway.)
Scan 14 Luther Martin was Burr's 1st assistant. (Best lawyer of the day like Burr and Hamilton were the best lawyers of their day)
Luther Martin was valedictorian at Princeton a few years before Burr arrived. Both were members of the Cliosophic Society.
Other helpers were Edmund Randolph second cousin to John Randolph, and Washington's Attorney General and Secretary of State,
and former Virginia Governor.
John Wickham, Jack Baker and Benjamin Botts completed Burr's counsel team.
Scan 15 John Randolph became foreman of the jury.
Scan 16 Judge John Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
He was assisted by a second judge on the bench, Cyrus Griffen, District Judge of Virginia.
The bottom line was that Jefferson never proved an
act of treason. There was no war. (The Alamo came 30 years later)
Unlike in England, where someone could be arrested for planning a crime, in the USA a crime has to actually be committed.
And Burr never committed the crime of launching a war against Spain, nor of seceding the western states from the Union.
(Even though west of the Appalachian Mountains $400,000 per year more went to Washington DC than was returned there.)
So Burr was found "Not Guilty." But politics and Jefferson's presidential power doomed Burr to obscurity.
End of Burr Trial Images Page
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