William Charles, The Hartford Convention, or Leap or No Leap, etching and aquatint, c. 1814. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-10755.

Study Questions

A. What are some of the grievances raised by the Hartford Convention against the policies of the national government? What role do they see for the states in evaluating the constitutionality of acts of Congress? In what ways do they attempt to make their feelings known to the new government? How do the critics of the convention see them? How might we explain the tension between these two understandings of the Constitution? Was the Hartford Convention treasonous or not? If the war had continued, what might have been the ramifications of their suggested amendments?

B. How do the concerns of the Hartford Convention delegates shed new light on the issues raised in the Mexican-American War? How might Abraham Lincoln have responded to the Hartford Convention?

C. Would the Hartford Convention have been “legal” under the terms of the National Security Act?