Remember some anon or youtuber said that POTUS had already signed the insurrection act.
I wonder if POTUS did it on November 27, 2020. That was the day Jefferson made a proclamation to arrest Burr under insurrection, to arrest and stop Burr, but guess what date the legal insurrection act was signed: March 3, 1807
In a letter sent on October 21, 1806, Wilkenson spilled the details of the plot to Jefferson without mentioning Burr by name. But Jefferson had already grown concerned enough about Burr’s strange activities that Jefferson had sent his own letter to Secretary of State James Madison asking if the Constitution granted him authority to deploy the army to stop a rebellion.
General James Wilkenson
In his reply, Madison said no. “It does not appear that regular Troops can be employed, under any legal provision agst. insurrections,” wrote Madison, “but only agst. expeditions having foreign Countries for the object.”
Both Jefferson and Madison were strict interpreters of the Constitution and wouldn’t dare exercise authority that wasn’t explicitly written in the founding document, so they needed to convince Congress to give Jefferson that power. And to do that, they first needed proof of Burr’s conspiracy. That’s where Wilkenson’s letter comes in.
“Jefferson was looking for a legitimate source of authority on Burr’s plot and he was willing to believe Wilkenson, even though historians suggest that Jefferson knew darn well that Wilkenson was a liar with his own suspect reputation,” says John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College. “But Jefferson needed a source to move the gears to try to stop Burr, who was his biggest fear.”
Jefferson Orders Burr's Capture
Armed with Wilkenson’s “proof,” Jefferson issued a proclamation on November 27, 1806 that laid out the plot and enjoined all military officers, both state and federal, to “to be vigilant… in searching out and bringing to condign punishment all persons engaged or concerned in such enterprise, in seizing and detaining, subject to the disposition of the law, all vessels, arms, military stores, or other means provided or providing for the same, and, in general, in preventing the carrying on such expedition or enterprise by all lawful means within their power.”
“Jefferson essentially puts a bounty on Burr’s head,” says Fea, and within weeks, an Ohio militia seized boats belonging to Burr’s ragtag army and raided a private island on the Ohio River that served as a military encampment.
But Burr evaded capture and rumors continued to swirl that he was recruiting soldiers en route to the Louisiana Territory and soliciting help from Britain to establish his spinoff nation in the West. Jefferson still refused to deploy the standing U.S. Army to track down Burr and quash the rebellion once and for all, a reticence that was mocked by his political enemies, the Federalists.
“Jefferson, to his credit, says I’m not going to act unless the Constitution says I can act,” says Fea. “The Federalists take a much broader view of the Constitution. If the Constitution doesn’t outright condemn it, then it’s OK.”
Jefferson stuck to his principles and in December of 1806 asked Congress to pass a bill “authorising the emploiment of the land or Naval forces of the US. in cases of insurrection.” This legislation, known as the Insurrection Act, would take another three months to become law. When it was finally signed on March 3, 1807, Aaron Burr had already been in custody for 11 days.
So while the Insurrection Act was written expressly to foil Burr’s plot, it wasn’t used to capture him. The very first time the Insurrection Act was actually invoked was a year later in 1808, when American merchant ships in the Great Lakes flouted Jefferson’s trade embargo with the British. In response, Jefferson accused the rogue traders of “forming insurrections against the authority of the laws of the United States” and authorized the military to take action.