Overthrowing a government takes an enormous amount of planning, strategy, and resources. You need political allies, troops, a new staff to fill all the bureaucratic roles and keep the system running smoothly after the takeover -- it's a matter of years, if not decades, of work. Of course, you could also waltz right into the capitol building, unzip your pants, and say: "Yep, this whole state is aaaalmost big enough to hold my balls." You know, like these folks did ...
5 A Delusional Vice President Tries to Conquer Half of North America and Create His Very Own Empire
Vice President Aaron Burr, that guy who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, is best remembered as "that guy who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel." His political career unsurprisingly collapsed after that one itty-bitty little homicide, but Burr wasn't ready to update his LinkedIn profile just yet, so he decided to create his own country to govern. This, obviously, implied huge steaming mounds of treason.
Burr traveled to Philadelphia and offered his services to Anthony Merry, British minister to the United States. He wanted to help Great Britain establish an independent "Empire of the West." How? By taking over the Louisiana territory, which, at the time, amounted to more than half of the U.S. -- and, hell, why not Mexico to boot? Mexico was then a Spanish territory and included what is now Texas, California, and the rest of the Southwestern United States. Hey, if you're gonna piss off an entire country, might as well go double or nothing, right? Merry was down to internationally clown, but British Prime Minister Charles James Fox thought the plan might be "super crazy. Like, even for a guy that shoots people for calling him 'voluptuary' -- that's crazy."
Saturday Evening Post
Pictured: Aaron Burr committing political suicide.
Not Pictured: The worst thing he did that year.
After the British bailed, Burr decided to press ahead regardless. He procured himself a riverboat and set off down the Ohio River, at which point he realized that, shit, he didn't have an army (pretty much the first item on any "build an empire" checklist). So, on his way to New Orleans, he started recruiting any and every settler he encountered to his cause.
Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long for word of Burr's shenanigans to reach President Jefferson, who immediately ordered him arrested. Quite surprisingly, in the ensuing trial Burr was found not guilty -- partly due to Jefferson's refusal to appear in court, and partly because U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall thought Jefferson was sort of an asshole.
"I hate his face more than I love this country, sorry."
After his acquittal, Burr changed his name and fled to Europe, where he spent the next few years unsuccessfully attempting to garner support for his plan to conquer Mexico. Say what you will about Burr -- delusional, murderous, kinda looks like the telescope-gnome from The NeverEnding Story -- but the man persevered ...
... at treason.
4 A Gubernatorial Election Kicks Off a Mini Civil War
Following the Civil War, the United States went through an era of Reconstruction, during which, to put it politely, shit went fuck-all crazyballs. Take the Brooks-Baxter War, which kicked off when two gubernatorial candidates couldn't agree on who had won the pleasure of leading Arkansas through possibly the worst period in its history.
Like Game of Thrones but moonshinier and with more possible inbreeding.
Elisha Baxter and Joseph Brooks were opposing candidates in the 1872 Arkansas election. No one's quite sure who won the election due to widespread voting irregularities. But Baxter's backers controlling the voting process might have had a little something to do with that.
Confident that he had won -- hey, cheating is a type of winning -- Baxter declared himself governor. Brooks, meanwhile, also declared himself governor. Brooks then gathered up the sheriff and a group of armed cohorts and stormed the state house, expelling Baxter to a nearby hotel. Baxter called in a militia. Brooks also called in a militia, and then one-upped Baxter by rolling two six-pounder artillery cannons onto the capitol lawn. Baxter, in turn, brought out a 26-pounder and pointed it in the general direction of the state house. Yes, post-Civil War politics were a lot like a Loony Tunes sketch.
Over the next five days, men streamed in on either side, until they had each built up an army of around 1,000 troops. Finally, after a month of old-timey dick-waving, President Grant sent in the military and issued his proclamation: Baxter was the true governor, presumably because they busted out the measuring tape and determined, once and for all, that he had the biggest cannon.