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7
It Stands to Treason

William Blount got himself expelled from the U.S. Senate, but that didn't matter to the people of Tennessee, who promptly voted him into a spot at the Tennessee state senate.

© Bettmann/Corbis

The term "Founding Fathers" often connotes a certain patriotic purity that has somehow been lost in modern times. The Founding Fathers, after all, were entirely loyal to the newly formed United States and certainly believed in creating a more perfect union.

Except those who tried to attack American lands for their own gain, that is.

Apparently, some of our Founding Fathers were more akin to absentee dads, itching to start a second family. William Blount of Tennessee and Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey achieved notoriety for not just their presence at the Constitutional Convention, but later accusations of treason. Blount, it seemed, got himself into a financial mess as a senator after some bad land speculation. He hatched a plan to have Native Americans and frontiersmen in the area attack the lands, hoping that the violence would result in a transfer of the area to Great Britain. It resulted in an impeachment and dismissal, but he was re-elected just a year after, in 1798, to Tennessee's state senate [source: U.S. Senate Historical Office].

Likewise, Dayton was accused of high treason for plotting to be a part of Aaron Burr's plan to conquer Spanish lands in the Southwest to create an independent nation. Dayton wasn't formally tried and instead had a substantial career holding local offices in New Jersey [source: The Robinson Library].

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