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Moments in Missouri Political History Video Segments

[ Transcript for: James Wilkinson ]

James Wilkinson video transcript


In 1805, Vice President Aaron Burr persuaded Thomas Jefferson to names James Wilkinson as the first territorial governor of what would later become Missouri. Soon thereafter Burr and Wilkinson worked together on a plan to separate the land west of the Appalachian Mountains from the United States in order to set up a new country. They worked hard to get prominent St. Louis residents to help in their scheme. With Wilkinson circulating charges of corruption against those who did not support their plot for a western revolution. Rufus Easton, one of the main targets of Wilkinson’s charges of corruption, went to Thomas Jefferson and told him about the dealing of Wilkinson and Burr. Jefferson made Easton a U.S. Attorney and asked him to spy on Wilkinson and Wilkinson was removed from office in 1807. But before becoming territorial governor, Wilkinson had been hired by the Spanish Governor in New Orleans to promote immigration from Kentucky to Spanish lands in Missouri. Wilkinson swore allegiance to the Spanish crown and became known as “Spanish Secret Agent 13”.