What Is the Hartford Convention?

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The Hartford Convention was a meeting convened December 15, 1814, in Hartford, Connecticut, by the Federalists, then the dominant political party in the New England states. Though they aimed to amend the Constitution in protest against the government’s prolonged involvement in the war, the Hartford Convention’s impacts were rendered mute with the signing of the European Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, which officially ended the War of 1812.

Aims and Outcomes

  • Concerned over the lingering impacts of the War of 1812, the New England Federalists worried both about their prospects for victory over the British in a military battle and about long-term damage to trade relations with the British as a result of the ongoing conflict. Considering extreme options, such as seceding from the United States, the Federalists eventually reached an agreement that requested governmental protection and economic support for the New England states. They also called for constitutional amendments, including a mandatory two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for Congress to pass future declarations of war.

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