Book: “If This Be Treason”

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Accusations of treason have been made throughout the history of our country, but very few convictions have resulted. Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jeremy Duda takes a look at a dozen cases involving treason in American history in his debut book “If This Be Treason, The American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.” Duda will discuss his new book.

TED SIMONS: U.S. HISTORY IS RIDDLED WITH PEOPLE MAKING ACCUSATIONS AND COUNTER CHARGES OF TREASON BUT IN MANY CASES IT IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN TREASON AND PATRIOTISM. ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES REPORTER JEREMY DUDA EXPLORES THE DIFFERENCE IN HIS DEBUT BOOK, "IF THIS BE TREASON: THE AMERICAN ROGUES AND REBELS WHO WALKED THE LINE BETWEEN DISSENT AND BETRAYAL." JEREMY DUDA JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HIS NEW BOOK. CONGRATULATIONS FIRST OF ALL.
JEREMY DUDA: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
TED SIMONS: EXCITING TO SEE THE FIRST BOOK?
JEREMY DUDA: GREAT TO SEE YOUR NAME ON THE COVER IN YOUR HANDS.
TED SIMONS: LET'S GET A DEFINITION.WHAT IS TREASON?
JEREMY DUDA: UNDER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, IT IS LEVING WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OR GIVING AID OR COMFORT TO ITS ENEMIES. IT IS THE ONLY CRIME DEFINED IN THE CONSTITUTION. IT WAS DONE BY THE FRAMERS ON PURPOSE AND WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT COULD NOT BE CHANGED BY CONGRESS TO ABUSE AND USE AGAINST CITIZENS. OBVIOUSLY THEY FOUND MANY WORKAROUNDS IN OTHER INSTANCES.

TED SIMONS: IT SEEMS AS THROW THERE IS A REAL QUESTION WHERE DISSENT ENDS AND BETRAYAL BEGINS.

JEREMY DUDA: SURE.WE HEAR THE WORD TREASON THROWN AROUND A LOT.WHEN YOU HEAR THAT USUALLY PEOPLE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS CONSTITUTIONAL DEFINITION. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE VAGUE OR GRAY AREA ABOUT, YOU KNOW, ARE YOU BETRAYING THE COUNTRY? ARE YOU A LOYAL AMERICAN?

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE 12 CASES THROUGHOUT HISTORY EVERY FROM REVOLUTIONARY WAR ERA TO EDWARD SNOWDEN WHO WE WILL GET TO IN A SECOND.WHO IS GEORGE LOGAN?

JEREMY DUDA: GEORGE LOGAN WAS A PHILADELPHIA DOCTOR BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE REPUBLIC AND A MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC AND ALLY OF THOMAS JEFFERSON AND OPPOSED TO THE FEDERALIST RULERS AND PEOPLE THAT CONTROLLED CONGRESS AT THE TIME.IN THE LATE 1790S'S WE WERE IN THE QUASI WAR WITH FRANCE AND THERE WAS A LOT OF FRICTION RELATED TO THE REVOLUTIONARY WARS AND THE FALLOUT FROM THEIR REVOLUTION AND OURS.THEY ARE ON THE BRINK OF WAR, LOGAN AS MOST DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICANS WERE VERY PRO-FRENCH.HE SAILED TO FRANCE AND DECIDED TO MEET WITH THE LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY AND TRY TO FIND A WAY TO TALK EVERYONE DOWN FROM THE EDGE.

TED SIMONS: AND HE BASICALLY DID THAT.HE WENT OVER THERE WITH NO ONE TELLING HIM HE COULD OR SHOULD.HE JUST DID IT.AND HE REALLY DID A LOT OF -- I DON'T KNOW DAMAGE.BUT HE MADE A DIFFERENCE, DIDN'T HE?

JEREMY DUDA: HE MAY HAVE AND THERE IS A LOT OF EVIDENCE THE FRENCH WERE
REALIZING WE ARE ALREADY FIGHTING THE BRITISH AND EVERYONE ELSE IN EUROPE AND WE
CANNOT AFFORD TO GET INTO ANOTHER WAR HALFWAY AROUND THE
WORLD.HE RECEIVED A VERY GOOD RECEPTION.
THE TIMING OF HIS VOYAGE HELPED
THE FRENCH COME AROUND AND SAY
WE NEED TO END THIS AND MAKE
PEACE.

TED SIMONS:
THE RESULT OF HIS ACTION IS THE LOGAN ACT.WHAT IS THAT?

JEREMY DUDA: IT IS ONE OF THE MOST WORTHLESS LAWS PASSED.IT FORBIDS AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM CONDUCTING THEIR OWN PRIVATE FOREIGN POLICY AND MAKES IT ILLEGAL TO NEGOTIATE OR MEET WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS TO DISCUSS CONTROVERSIES INVOLVING THE UNITED STATES.WE HEAR ACCUSATIONS THROW AROUND ALL THE TIME, MOST RECENTLY WITH DONALD TRUMP AND GETTING HELP FROM THE RUSSIANS REGARDING HILLARY CLINTON'S E-MAIL.

TED SIMONS: NICOLAS TRIST THAT WAS A FASCINATING STORY, WHO WAS NICHOLAS TRIST?

JEREMY DUDA: IT IS SOMEONE OF MY FAVORITE CHAPTERS IN THE BOOK.HE WAS ONE OF THE TOP BRASS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT DURING THE MEXICAN WAR. PRESIDENT POLK NEEDED TO SENT AN
ENVOY DOWN THERE TO WORK OUT A PEACE TREATY AND HE SENT HIM AND HE WAS VERY LOYAL TO THE POKE ADMINISTRATION. FEUDED WITH GENERAL WINFELD SCOTT FOR A WHILE AND AFTER A LITTLE WHILE HE REALIZED MAYBE HE DIDN'T AGREE WITH THE POLK ADMINISTRATION GOAL. HE REALIZED WE HAVE TAKEN SO MUCH OF MEXICO'S TERRITORY. A LOT OF THE FOLKS IN CONGRESS, CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS, AND PEOPLE IN HIS CABINET SAID WHY STOP WHERE WE ARE?WE COULD EXTEND OUR BORDERS FURTHER SOUTH. POLK GOT WORD THAT MAYBE TRIST WASN'T BEING AS SENSITIVE TO THE WAR GAMES AND HE ORDERED HIM BACK TO THE UNITED STATES AND HE SAID NO, I WILL STAY HERE AND MAKE NOT A JUST TREATY BUT THE LEAST BAD TREATY HE FIGURED HE COULD MAKE.BY THE TIME HE CAME BACK TO THE UNITED STATES WITH A TREATY IT HAD ACHIEVED MOST OF POLK'S ORIGINAL WAR AIMS HE REALLY COULDN'T TURN IT DOWN HE WASN'T HAPPY ABOUT IT HE SUBMITTED TO THE SENATE AND PASSED IT.

TED SIMONS: HE BASICALLY NEGOTIATED A TREATY?

JEREMY DUDA: BASICALLY SO AND IT IS RESPONSIBLE WERE THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE COUNTRY.

TED SIMONS: BAJA, CALIFORNIA WOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED?

JEREMY DUDA: IT IS HARD TO SEE BECAUSE HE WAS GETTING PUSHBACK BUT WHO KNOWS HOW FAR THINGS WOULD HAVE GOTTEN HAD TRIST NOT DONE WHAT HE DID.

TED SIMONS: IN THE BOOK, THE FEDERALIST PARTY WAS MENTIONED AND WAS THIS THE FIRST ANTI-WAR FOR AMERICA GETTING INVOLVED PARTY?

JEREMY DUDA: YEAH, THEY CERTAINLY BECAME SO DURING THE WAR OF 1812. IN THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS, THE FEDERALISTS ARE THE PERSECUTORS AND THIS ONE IS PERSECUTED BY THE TIME THE WAR OF 1812 STARTED. NEW ENGLAND WHICH WAS THE LAST BASTIAN OF THE FEDERAL PARTY VERY OPPOSED AND COMMERCIAL TIES TO GREAT BRITAIN AND THEY WERE BEARING THE BRUNT OF THE FIGHTING.THEY HAD SEEN THEIR POLITICAL POWER REALLY SLIPPING AWAY THROUGH THE YEARS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JAMES MADISON AND DECIDED TO HOLD WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE HARTFORD CONVENTION AIRING GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICAN PARTY AND LOTS OF SECRECY SURROUNDING IT AND RUMORS IN THE END, THEY DID THE AIRING OF GRIEVANCES AND A BUNCH OF PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS THAT NEVER WENT ANYWHERE.THERE WERE RUMORS THEY WERE STUCK TALKING ABOUT SECESSION BUT THAT WAS NOT IN THE CASE. THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN SPENT THEIR LIVES DEFENDING THEM.

TED SIMONS:BECAUSE OF BEING AGAINST
THE WAR OF 1812?

JEREMY DUDA: BECAUSE OF THE RUMORS BEING AGAINST THE WAR AND TRYING TO
FORGE OR SECEDE FROM THE UNION.

TED SIMONS: LAST IS EDWARD SNOWDEN WHO IS THE MOST RECENT.BASICALLY EXPOSING GOVERNMENT SPYING ON ITS OWN CITIZENS

JEREMY DUDA: SURE, AND I THINK SNOWDEN IS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER MODERN FIGURES, EMBODIES THE SPIRIT OF THE BOOK.THERE ARE SO MANY -- THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE FEEL LIKE WHAT SNOWDEN DID IN EXPOSING THESE NSA SPYING PROGRAMS WAS TREASON AND EXPOSED SECRETS.BUT A LOT OF AMERICANS FEEL LIKE HE IS A HERO AND HE EXPOSED GOVERNMENT OVERREACH AND THINGS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING.HE IS STILL IN EXILE BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOESN'T AGREE WITH THAT.

TED SIMONS: HE IS THE PERFECT PERSON WHO IS A HERO OR TRAITOR. PATRIOTISM OR TREASON.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO DOWN THIS PATH? WAS THERE A SINGLE INCIDENT A SINGLE STORY?

JEREMY DUDA: THE GENESIS OF THE BOOK WAS A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS TRYING TO WORK OUT THE DETAILS WITH IRAN A GROUP OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS, 47 OF THEM, SENT A LETTER TO THE LEADERS OF IRAN AND TOLD HIM BE CAREFUL ON ANYTHING YOU AGREE WITH BECAUSE WE MIGHT OVERTURN THAT, THE NEXT PRESIDENT MIGHT OVERTURN IT, A LOT OF DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE SAID HEY THAT IS TREASON.YOU ARE UNDERMINING OUR FOREIGN POLICY AND ACCUSED HIM OF VIOLATING THE LOGAN ACT.THAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR MY BOOK.MY PUBLISHER CAME UP WITH THE IDEA AND I HAD TO FIND THE 12 EXAMPLES.

TED SIMONS: HOW MUCH RESEARCH WAS DONE? QUITE A BIT I WOULD IMAGINE.

JEREMY DUDA: A LOT.I SPENT A LOT OF WEEKENDS AT THE ASU LIBRARY AND A LONG STRETCH
TIME WHERE MY WIFE DIDN'T SEE ME MUCH.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS CONVICTIONS, WE DON'T SEE MUCH. WILL THAT CHANGE IN THE FUTURE?

JEREMY DUDA: I DOUBT IT.WE HAVEN'T HAD A PERSON CONVICTED OF TREASON IN THE COUNTRY SINCE 1952.THERE IS PROBABLY INCIDENTS WHERE PEOPLE COULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED. JOHN WALKER LYNN OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN TAKING UP ARMS AGAINST HIS COUNTRY'S ARMED FORCES. IT IS PRETTY RARE. THERE IS PLENTY OF OTHER LAWS IN THESE CASES THAT CAN BE USED FOR VARIOUS CRIMES.

TED SIMONS: ANY IDEA FOR ANOTHER BOOK? HAVE YOU GOT THE BUG MAYBE?

JEREMY DUDA: I HAVE A LONG LIST OF IDEAS. THERE ARE ARE FEW I AM KICKING AROUND.

TED SIMONS: DID YOU KNOW ALL 12 STORIES?

JEREMY DUDA: A LOT OF THEM CAME TO MIND EASILY BUT A FEW OF THEM RESEARCH TURNED UP INTERESTING NUGGETS THAT I DIDN'T KNOW.

TED SIMONS: THE NICOLAS TRIST STORY IS THE MOST FASCINATING BECAUSE HE IS TALKING ABOUT OUR AREA.HE WAS FIGHTING WITH WINFELD SCOTT AND THEN THEY GET TOGETHER AS PARTNERS BASICALLY AND CHANGE HISTORY AT LEAST OUR HISTORY.

JEREMY DUDA: I WAS VAGUELY AWARE OF THIS AND THEN I SAID WAIT A MINUTE, NICOLAS TRIST THAT IS PERFECT.

TED SIMONS: IT WAS PERFECT.CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIRST BOOK I THINK IT MUST BE VERY EXCITING FOR YOU.

JEREMY DUDA: THANKS A LOT.

Jeremy Duda, author/reporter for Arizona Capitol Times

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