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The Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates…at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, December 15, 1814, by the Hartford Convention, 1815

Though the Federalist Party stood for a strong national government, the loss of commerce and high costs of the War of 1812 led many Federalists in New England to call for greater state sovereignty. Discussing their grievances at the Hartford Convention, 26 delegates from five states rejected secession but drafted seven constitutional amendments to strengthen states’ rights.

General Collections, Library of Congress

The Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates…at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, December 15, 1814, by the Hartford Convention, 1815

The Hartford Convention

New England’s Federalist Party opposed the War of 1812 because of its disastrous impact on the region’s economy. Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, in December 1814, party delegates secretly debated—and rejected—secession; instead, they drafted constitutional amendments strengthening state controls over commerce and militias. As Congress received the Hartford Convention’s proposals, news of the American victory in New Orleans and the signing of the Treaty of Ghent arrived. The Federalist Party soon waned in power and prominence, leading to the eventual formation of new political parties.

Our nation may yet be great, our union durable. But should this prospect be utterly hopeless, the time will not have been lost, which shall have ripened a general sentiment of the necessity of more mighty efforts to rescue from ruin, at least some portion of our beloved country.

The Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates…Convened at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut, December 15, 1814