Monday, February 16, 2009


I have just spent some time with my AP classes studying and discussing the Hartford Convention of December 15, 1814 to January 5, 1815. This convention was convened in the New England area as a forum for the consideration of several constitutional amendments that would protect what were perceived as the interests of this section of the country.

Several government policies implemented by the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and later James Madison, had drastically affected the economic interests of New England. The Embargo Act of 1807, the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 were both passed in reaction to the impressment of American sailors mostly by Britain, that eventually led to the War of 1812. Jefferson mistakenly reasoned that the embargo would force the British to cease their impressments by causing pain in their economy. The embargo in fact, caused much more damage to the American economy generally, and the New England economy in particular.

The following Macon's Bill in 1810 was a feeble attempt to play the French and the British off against each other. The US promised to trade with whichever country would cease impressment and to ignore the other. Napoleon promised to treat Americans as neutrals in an attempt to strengthen the economic warfare of his Continental System. Madison saw through Napoleon's ruse and refused to believe his promise.

I bring this all up as a discussion point in response to Morgan's essay on Z's site, GeeeeeZ (see blogroll). My question is, how far can government go in alienating segments of America before something of this nature results? The Hartford Convention was significant in that it took to heart the Declaration of Independence that claimed a government that doesn't protect the rights of its people can be "altered or abolished." This principle was explored by Jefferson and Madison themselves in their Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

As we all know, perceived government injustice was at the heart of many of these uprisings throughout US history including Shay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion at the very beginning of the US, and later protests such as the Nullification Crisis of 1832 and of course the Civil War.

The Hartford Convention was not a call for seccession, but a call for a redress of grievances, echoing the First and Second Continental Congresses of 1774 and 1775. To say otherwise is to ignore the facts. For those who would accuse me of advocating an overthrow of the government, I include a summary of the proposed amendments to the constitution that was going to be presented in the burned out capitol in Washington D.C. The outcome of the convention was made moot by the Treaty of Ghent signed December 24, 1814 and the favorable outcome in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

The Hartford Convention's final report proposed several amendments to the US Constitution. These attempted to combat the policies of the ruling Republicans by: 1) Prohibiting any trade embargo lasting over 60 days; 2) Requiring a two-thirds Congressional majority for declaration of war, admission of a new state, or interdiction of foreign commerce; 3) Removing the three-fifths representation advantage of the South; 4) Limiting future Presidents to one term; 5) Requiring each President to be from a different state than his predecessor. (This provision was aimed directly at the ruling Virginia Dynasty.) (Wikipedia, 2009)

Morgan's essay identifies several problems that are beginning to surface. Will the president and the majority party look to govern as Americans or as Democrats?


Z said...

the site is GeeeeeZ on the blogroll.

Also, L&O, Pris says she'd be scared to death of a convention nowadays and left some good opinions...what do you think?!

Average American said...

NObamabots will continue to rule as leftards on a roll until we take power back from them. We have to start now to win seats in the Senate and House in 2010. The porkzilla may go a long way in helping us with that victory.

Pat Houseworth said...

We are living in interesting times...I would say scarry, but with Birthday #60 less than a month away, I stopped being scared long ago.

I'm ready for whatever the ruling Marxists try{I hope my family are friends as well}.

Law and Order Teacher said...

First I fixed it, sorry. I have opened a dialogue with Pris, who responses as usual are well thought out and pertinent. I think it is an idea worth exploring. I'll post again on it in the next couple of days after I do some research. Thanks for the visit.

Thanks for the visit. I too, hope that 2010 is a big year for us. This spending bill is outrageous and an attempt to implement every dream the Dems have been hoarding for years. Something needs to be done to stop it.

At our age people either develop and inordinate fear or become nearly fearless. My Motto: After you've been shot at everything's downhill from there. Thanks for the visit.

Z said...

No problem, L&O!
I'm going to email Priscilla your blog site..she has left you another good message at my site on this.
She is a very good thinker, for sure. I like the idea of this but it would really have to be thought out and, of course, there'd be some fairness doctrine thought up just in time to block it!!!!

Do you get the impression your students care much what happens here in America or just figure things work out fine, anyway? I'd really like to know.
Also, do you discuss the stimulus package and the pros and cons? How are they on it, L&O?


Z said...

L&0, I fixed your comment at my place, incorporated your correction about the Revolution and the interesting I figured it out to be as clearly read as you'd intended.Thanks for coming by.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I don't really get into it with them. My curriculum isn't current events. I do, however, ask them to read the papers or watch the news. A lot of them do want to know what's going on in the world. My job, as I see it, is to make them think. They bring opinions to school, although for the most part it is that things will work out. Their parents opinions are paramount in their opinions. Scary.