State Bar of Texas Blog

David O. Stewart on the Two Most Important Trials in American History

Lawyer-turned-historical author David O. Stewart talked about the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and the treason trial of Aaron Burr to a crowd at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting on June 20, 2013. As Stewart flipped through images of historical people in American politics, he pointed out that the trial of Andrew Johnson was the first presidential impeachment trial--a proceeding that was important because it would overturn how the public voted. The second most important trial, according to Stewart, involved former vice president Aaron Burr, who was on trial for treason. Burr was a controversial figure--he killed his political opponent Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Stewart noted that the trial proved important because it showed that everyone--even people the general public despised--are entited to legal protection and a fair trial. Burr was acquitted.

Stewart is the author of The Summer of 1787, Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy, and American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America, and he regularly speaks on history and the law. His first novel, The Lincoln Deception, a story about the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy, will be released in August/September 2013. 

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