Hartford Convention

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Hartford Convention,

Dec. 15, 1814–Jan. 4, 1815, meeting to consider the problems of New England in the War of 1812War of 1812,
armed conflict between the United States and Great Britain, 1812–15. It followed a period of great stress between the two nations as a result of the treatment of neutral countries by both France and England during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars,
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; held at Hartford, Conn. Prior to the war, New England Federalists (see Federalist partyFederalist party,
in U.S. history, the political faction that favored a strong federal government. Origins and Members

In the later years of the Articles of Confederation there was much agitation for a stronger federal union, which was crowned with success when the
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) had opposed the Embargo Act of 1807 and other government measures; many of them continued to oppose the government after fighting had begun. Although manufacturing (fostered by isolation) and contraband trade brought wealth to the section, "Mr. Madison's War" (as the Federalists called the War of 1812) and its expenses became steadily more repugnant to the New Englanders. The Federalist leaders encouraged disaffection. The New England states refused to surrender their militia to national service (see Griswold, RogerGriswold, Roger,
1762–1812, American political leader, b. Lyme, Conn.; son of Matthew Griswold. A Connecticut lawyer, he entered politics and, as U.S. Congressman (1795–1805), was a vigorous Federalist and a virulent critic of President Jefferson's administration,
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), especially when New England was threatened with invasion in 1814. The federal loan of 1814 got almost no support in New England, despite prosperity there. Federalist extremists, such as John LowellLowell, John,
1769–1840, American political writer, b. Newburyport, Mass.; son of John Lowell (1743–1802). He practiced law, but devoted most of his time to supporting his Federalist views in newspapers and pamphlets. Mr.
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 and Timothy PickeringPickering, Timothy,
1745–1829, American political leader and Revolutionary War army officer, b. Salem, Mass. He was admitted to the bar (1768) and played an active part in pre-Revolutionary activities against the British.
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, contemplated a separate peace between New England and Great Britain. Finally, in Oct., 1814, the Massachusetts legislature issued a call to the other New England states for a conference. Representatives were sent by the state legislatures of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; other delegates from New Hampshire and Vermont were popularly chosen by the Federalists. The meetings were held in secret. George CabotCabot, George
, 1752–1823, American merchant and politician, b. Salem, Mass. He went to sea and became captain of one of the ships owned by his brothers John and Andrew Cabot of Beverly, who in 1777 took him into their firm.
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, the head of the Massachusetts delegation and a moderate Federalist, presided. Other important delegates were Harrison Gray OtisOtis, Harrison Gray,
1765–1848, American political leader, b. Boston; nephew of James Otis. He practiced law in Boston, and was elected (1795) to the Massachusetts legislature.
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 (1765–1848), also a moderate, and Theodore DwightDwight, Theodore,
1764–1846, American author, b. Northampton, Mass.; brother of Timothy Dwight and grandson of Jonathan Edwards. A leader of the Federalist party in New England, he became famous for his political pamphlets and articles.
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, who served as secretary of the convention. The moderates prevailed in the convention. The proposal to secede from the Union was discussed and rejected, the grievances of New England were reviewed, and such matters as the use of the militia were thrashed out. The final report (Jan. 5, 1815) arraigned Madison's administration and the war and proposed several constitutional amendments that would redress what the New Englanders considered the unfair advantage given the South under the Constitution. The news of the Treaty of Ghent ending the war and of Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans made any recommendation of the convention a dead letter. Its importance, however, was twofold: It continued the view of states' rights as the refuge of sectional groups, and it sealed the destruction of the Federalist party, which never regained its lost prestige.


See J. T. Adams, New England in the Republic (1926, repr. 1960); J. M. Banner, To the Hartford Convention (1970).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The War of 1812 dealt a deathblow to Federalist criticisms of slavery and slaveholders' power, cemented by the three-fifths clause of the US Constitution, as treasonous after the Hartford convention. More than current historians, Riley understands the paradoxical nature of slaveholders' national power: "[T]hey lived in a nation in which slavery benefited from American power while being protected from excessive federal interference" (208).
driven by fears that the Federalists might prevail." He produces little evidence to substantiate this although there is an interesting section on the Hartford Convention of 1814 when secession from the United States was openly discussed, and New Hampshire nearly did secede.
The partnership between Connecticut Office of Tourism/DECD and the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau to form the new statewide entity, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, will give us the ability to more effectively market to the convention, meeting and sports markets.
Such unrest led to the Hartford Convention of 1814, at which the New England states enunciated their grievances with Washington - more of a bargaining chip than a serious plan for secession, as it turned out.
At the time of the Hartford Convention, when New England Federalists, opposed to the War of 1812, threatened to secede, Jefferson also became a Hamiltonian "nationalist." He gave voice to what DiLorenzo would regard as mystical, proto-Lincolnian utterances about "the union of our country" and condemned those who encouraged "rebellion, civil war, dissolution of the government, and the miseries of anarchism."
The property is located across from the Hartford Convention Center and Marriott Hartford Hotel and the future Connecticut Science Center.
Next in philosophical importance to the Hartford Convention was South Carolina's nullification of the tariff in 1832.
Fox Sports Network cameras displayed their pictures on a huge background screen as cheering and applause echoed within the Hartford Convention Center.
Whereas many historians have emphasized the moderate temper of Hartford Convention delegates, Buel reminds readers of the meeting's subversive nature.
The Hartford convention coming up in May is likely to be the scene of the campaign's first showdown.
In the turbulent times that followed the Hartford Convention, hostility toward Connecticut's Standing Order could easily have been translated into support for the common man against the legal and political establishment.

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