A Singular and Awkward War: The Transatlantic Context of the Hartford Convention
American Nineteenth Century History, Vol. 6, No. 1, March 2005
30 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2006
This article argues that the Hartford Convention of 1814-15 unfolded as part of a wide-ranging and vibrant debate concerning the role of the United States in the turbulent Atlantic community of the early nineteenth century. The author's approach to the convention stands in sharp contrast to those of other scholars, many of whom have treated the convention as either the last gasp of the Federalist party or as a manifestation of New England's insularity during the War of 1812. This orthodox view, however, fails to account for the distinctly international quality of the convention. Review of newspapers and pamphlets produced in and around Boston, the intellectual and political center of New England, during the period between late 1814 and early 1815 suggests that for all their ideological differences, both Republicans and Federalists in Massachusetts understood the convention as an attempt to negotiate a place for New England in the newly formed international relations triangle that comprised Britain, France, and the United States.
Keywords: Hartford Convention, War of 1812, Massachusetts, Federalist party, disunion, secession
JEL Classification: N41, N43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation