Finalist for the 2018 George Washington Prize
The Burr Conspiracy: Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis by James E. Lewis, Jr. ISBN 978-0-691-17716-8. Copyright 2017. Hardcover with 728 pages including 13 illustrations and 1 map, notes, bibliography and index.
In 1805 and 1806, Aaron Burr, former vice president of the newly formed American republic, traveled through the Trans-Appalachian West gathering support for a mysterious enterprise, for which he was arrested and tried for treason in 1807. Burr was said to have enticed some people with plans to liberate Spanish Mexico, others with promises of land in the Orleans Territory, still others with talk of building a new empire beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Burr Conspiracy was a cause célèbre of the early republic, with Burr cast as the chief villain of the Founding Fathers even as the evidence against him was vague and conflicting. The differing understandings of the Burr Conspiracy were shaped by everything from partisan politics and biased newspapers to notions of honor and gentility.The Burr Conspiracy offers a panoramic and multifaceted portrait of the United States at a time when it was far from clear to its people how long it would last.