Is United States v. Aaron Burr fun to play?
Players: 2 – 2 players | Game Duration 60 – 75 mins | Min. Age 14+ | Game complexity:
Solo game mode: No | Co-op: No | Online Version: No
What is United States v. Aaron Burr about?
Many events in American history have been labeled “trials of the century”, but for a young nation, it would have been impossible to top United States v. Aaron Burr. Unlike Washington, Jefferson, Madison or Hamilton, Aaron Burr came from American royalty — a founding father descended from the original puritanical stock that arrived in Plymouth. His father was the second president of Princeton. His grandfather was Jonathan Edwards, the philosopher-theologian who wrote “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” perhaps the most important American literary work of its time.
So in 1776, if you were going to identify any of the Founders who would later stand trial for treason to his country, Aaron Burr would be the least likely — yet Burr’s journey as an enormous talent born under a dark star is now well known. Less well understood is that when he shot Alexander Hamilton in the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, it would set in motion a chain of events much more bizarre than anything depicted on Broadway.
Aaron Burr never stood trial for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. His trial was for treason, three years later, at the insistence of the Thomas Jefferson, the man Burr had narrowly lost to in the contested election of 1800. An embittered and politically ruined Burr seemed to have developed a scheme to separate the new Louisiana Purchase territories from the United States and declare himself king over the new entity. When Jefferson learned of the plot, he ordered Burr’s arrest and publicly declared him guilty of treason.
United States v. Aaron Burr: The Treason Trial of America’s Third Vice President, a card-driven game for two players, recreates the treason trial of Aaron Burr in Richmond in 1807. But by accident of recent judicial reforms, Thomas Jefferson’s detested cousin, Chief Justice John Marshall, would be riding circuit and would preside over the case. The resulting legal contest would read like a list of who’s who of America’s Founding Fathers.
United States vs. Aaron Burr is a fast-playing card-driven game in which players seek to use events, evidence, and witnesses of Burr’s activities to convince a jury to return a guilty verdict — or if playing for the defense, persuade at least one juror to find Aaron Burr not guilty. Each round, players have the opportunity to question witnesses, persuade jurors, and make points of law to the Chief Justice which will aid them in their cause. The game highlights all the events and participants surrounding one of the most important trials in American Constitutional Law — setting the precedent that the President of the United States is NOT immune from legal court orders, a precedent very much cited by the Supreme Court today.
So try your hand as a great litigator in a great trial. Perhaps you will even find yourself smiling more and talking less!
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