The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr
The Burr treason trial, one of the greatest criminal trials in American history, was significant for several reasons. The legal proceedings lasted seven months and featured some of the nation's best lawyers. It also pitted President Thomas Jefferson (who declared Burr guilty without the benefit of a trial and who masterminded the prosecution), Chief Justice John Marshall (who sat as a trial judge in the federal circuit court in Richmond) and former Vice President Aaron Burr (who was accused of planning to separate the western states from the Union) against each other. At issue, in addition to the life of Aaron Burr, were the rights of criminal defendants, the constitutional definition of treason and the meaning of separation of powers in the Constitution. Capturing the sheer drama of the long trial, Kent Newmyer's book sheds new light on the chaotic process by which lawyers, judges and politicians fashioned law for the new nation.
• Concise, clearly organised and well written: accessible to a broad range of readers, specialists and general readers alike• Original in its approach - which is to capture the role of personality and political ideology in the actual process of law making• Makes full use of the stenographic report of the trial (including volume 3 of Thomas Carpenter's report, which other scholars have not fully considered)