The Burr conspiracy was a suspected treasonous cabal of planters, politicians, and army officers in the early 19th century. The alleged cabal was led by Aaron Burr, the former Vice President of the United States (1801–1805). According to the accusations against him, his goal was to create an independent country in the center of North America including the Southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. Burr's version was that he intended to farm 40,000 acres (160 km2) in the Texas Territory which had been leased to him by the Spanish Crown.
President Thomas Jefferson ordered Burr arrested and indicted for treason, despite a lack of firm evidence. Burr's true intentions remain unclear to historians; some claim that he intended to take parts of Texas and the Louisiana Purchase for himself, others, that he intended to conquer Mexico, and yet others, that he planned to conquer most of the North American continent. The number of men backing him is also unclear, with accounts varying from less than forty to over seven-thousand. He was acquitted of treason, but the trial destroyed his already faltering political career.
General James Wilkinson was one of Burr's key partners. The commanding General of the Army at the time, Wilkinson was known for his attempt to separate Kentucky and Tennessee from the union during the 1780s.
Burr persuaded President Thomas Jefferson to appoint Wilkinson to the position of Governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1805. Wilkinson would later send a letter to Jefferson that he claimed was evidence of Burr's treason.