Beginning as early as 1804, perhaps even before his duel with Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr was conspiring to gain control of at least a portion of the newly acquired Territory of Louisiana. The land was mostly unsettled. Its borders were disputed by Spain. And many of its residents talked openly of secession. Burr believed that with a relatively small and well-armed military force, he could pry territory from Louisiana and build his own empire. Perhaps he might even take Mexico. By 1806, Burr's plan had been exposed.