After an alleged betrayal during the War of 1812, an entire political party was eliminated; this November will be the first chance for voters to express their feelings about January 6 | Columns & Letters | Spokane | Interior of the Pacific Northwest
As we watched a crazy crowd Breaking into the Capitol a year ago, commentators quickly turned to the War of 1812 in an attempt to contextualize the scenes of violence unfolding on our screens. In 1814, British forces occupied Washington, DC, setting fire to public buildings including the White House. The comparison, however, did not stand up to scrutiny. The War of 1812 was a conflict between two sovereign nations; it was not an act of treason in which American citizens attacked their own government. The British attack of 1814 adhered to accepted rules of warfare; the Capitol invasion was an attack on the rule of law.
A year later, the analogy doesn’t look any better, especially when comparing the political fortunes of the GOP in 2021 and the Federalist Party after 1815. President Trump has dragged his supporters into a frenzy that led to their occupation. of Congress on January 6. 2021. Although the Federalist Party was not complicit in the British invasion of 1814, some of its members discussed secession from the United States during the Hartford Convention to enable them to negotiate their own peace with the ‘British Empire.
These two acts of treason, however, resulted in very different political results. The Hartford Convention killed the Federalist Party, while Trump’s party appears to have emerged newly emboldened from the Capitol invasion.
Tthe war of 1812 was a Democratic-Republican project. Thomas Jefferson’s party (and predecessor to the current Democratic Party) controlled the White House and Congress in 1812. Jefferson’s protege, President James Madison, called on Congress to declare war in 1812 for a variety of reasons. , ranging from the British Royal Impression by the Navy of American Sailors of the alleged “incitement” of the British Empire to Native resistance to American colonization in the West.
Party politics was also part of Madison’s calculation. After Jefferson’s victory in the 1800 election, the Federalist Party of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton found itself in the political wilderness for more than a decade. But cracks were starting to appear within the Democratic Republic Party. Jefferson’s trade embargo, designed to force Britain to recognize US neutral trade rights during the Napoleonic Wars, was proving deeply unpopular among ordinary Americans. The Federalist Party finally began to make gains in the midterm election of 1810, and Madison’s supporters in Congress grew nervous about what would happen in 1812. It wasn’t the last time that an American president went to war to unite his party.
Federalist opposition to the war had peaked in the fall of 1814. The conflict had devastated the maritime economy of New England, which was the political base of the party. And the humiliating occupation of Washington, DC, underscored the incompetence in the conduct of the war by the Madison administration. We had to do something.
New England Federalists met in Hartford, Connecticut, in December 1814 to discuss their common defense and constitutional amendments that would increase their power within the Union. But the Hartford Convention became known as a hotbed of treason, with some delegates raising the prospect of a secession from New England.
The timing of the Hartford Convention couldn’t have been worse. British and American diplomats signed a peace treaty on Christmas Eve 1814, while Andrew Jackson won his famous victory at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Rumors of federalist duplicity then spread throughout the country just as Americans were celebrating Jackson’s peace and victory. It wasn’t pretty, and the Hartford Convention dealt a fatal blow to the Federalist Party, which failed to field a presidential candidate after 1816.
The Hartford Convention became known as a hotbed of treason, with some delegates raising the prospect of secession from New England.
The implications of the insurgency of January 6, 2021 for the GOP are still unclear. In the aftermath of the invasion, some Republican congressional leaders briefly distanced themselves from the insurgents and their champion, but the power Trump wields over the party seems largely unchallenged a year later. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did all he could to thwart the House investigation on January 6, while key people like Steve Bannon and the former House chief of staff Blanche Mark Meadows blocked Congress.
We won’t know if the Republican Party will pay a political price for the January 6 insurgency through November. But so-called “moderate” Republicans like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who acknowledged Trump’s complicity in the insurgency, have been punished by their own party, while attention-seeking far-right people like Marjorie Taylor Greene only ramped up. . Everything indicates that the GOP will not follow the path of the Federalist Party. ??
Lawrence BA Hatter is an award-winning author and associate professor of ancient United States history at Washington State University. These opinions are hers and do not reflect those of WSU.