Treason Isn’t Just a Crime—It’s a Sin of the Heart

In Dante's Inferno, Traitors Are Cast Into Deepest Hell for Breaking the Bonds of Love

If you’re looking to nail someone for treason these days, don’t talk to a lawyer. The answer you’ll get will be short and likely disappointing: It’s hard to convict someone of treason and chances are the actions you’re describing won’t qualify for the charge. But if what you’re really trying to express is an emotional response, you’re better off turning to 14th-century Italian literature, not the law.

Legally speaking, treason—at least in the United States—is a narrowly defined crime, and for good reason. Under the British crown, treason could include a …

It’s Hard to Be an American Traitor, Even If You Try

Legal Scholars Tell Warren Olney Why Treason Is So Difficult to Commit in the United States

Why is it so hard to commit treason in the United States?

The short answer—offered at the debut of a Zócalo/KCRW event series, “Critical Thinking with Warren Olney”—amounted to this: America …

A Belligerent President, Accusations of Treason, and a Stolen Supreme Court Seat

How Thomas Jefferson's Feud with Aaron Burr Defined What It Means to Betray America

What does treason mean in America?

One answer lies in our nation’s founding document. Treason is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution, which states: “Treason against the United States …