Friday, July 31, 2020

Gouverneur Morris in 1812

Northern secession was openly in the political brew again. Eleven (11) years before, Jefferson had cautioned New England’s desire to secede while accepting their sovereignty to choose as they wished. Since then extensive changes had come about. Jefferson was retired and Hamilton deceased.

Our landmass more than doubled with the Louisiana territory. 2 more States, Ohio and Louisiana, were added to the Union and more than 2 million people. But the greatest difference was that in 1801 we were at peace. In June 1812 we went to war and in July invaded Canada. The country was in upheaval. In Baltimore near July’s end several Federalist editors, supporters of Morris’s party and opposed to the war, were taken into protective custody. A mob broke into the jail, took them away and beat them. One died of his wounds. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island refused the call for militia except to defend their own States. The fleets of New England and New York suffered great commercial losses. New York had become the preeminent commercial State in the Union. The war brought another showdown between the Hamiltonian (Federalist) and Jeffersonian (Democratic Republican) parties. Madison had hit a beehive and the bees were out to sting.


  1. Had to switch back and forth with a dictionary to read this article. As with most on the website. Morris belief that Laws grant men their rights and nothing else is what I would say the federal govt is all about today. If it is not on paper then you have no right. I think he was saying the right to secession is on paper as a law?

    1. I believe so:

      Morris believes secession is lawful when a State’s people vote themselves grievously harmed by the actions of the central government.

      He wrote in a forthright fashion presenting his case for secession as a healing balm for irreparable differences.

      secession, a peaceful separation of the States – something New England leaders in particular wanted some 20 years before.

      Interesting is that he was against Natural Law. :(