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The Hartford Convention
Digital History ID 199

Author:   James Monroe


Many Federalists believed that the War of 1812 was fought to aid Napoleon in his struggle against Britain. Some opposed the war by refusing to pay taxes, boycotting war loans, and refusing to furnish troops. In December 1814, delegates from New England gathered in Hartford, Connecticut, where they recommended a series of constitutional amendments to restrict Congress' power to wage war, regulate commerce, and admit new states. The delegates also supported a one-term presidency (to break the grip of Virginians on the office) and abolition of the Three-Fifths Compromise, and talked of seceding if they did not get their way. In this message, Madison's Secretary of State, James Monroe, expresses concern over the Hartford Convention and fear that New England Federalists might seize the federal armory at Springfield, Massachusetts.



...The proceedings at Hartford have excited much anxiety, as likely to embarrass the measures of the Government, and by the countenance they have afforded the enemy to prolong the war, if they should not lead into worse consequences. General Swartout has been authorised to take measures, in case they should be necessary, for the security of the arms at Springfield [Massachusetts].... I trust that any evil which may be contemplated, however great, will be defeated.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: James Monroe to an unknown recipient

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