The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14

BLOCKADE AND EMBARGO

Our ships, all in motion,
Once whitened the ocean,
They sail'd and return'd with a cargo;
Now doom'd to decay
They have fallen a prey
To Jefferson, worms, and
Embargo.

—Anonymous

In 1804, President Jefferson had won the electoral votes of every state in the Union except Connecticut and Delaware. 1 This Republican landslide was especially savored by Massachusetts Jeffersonians dwelling in the heart of enemy territory. They followed it in 1806 with the capture of their state legislature, and in 1807 they elected their candidate, James Sullivan, to the governorship. It appeared that even in New England, Federalism was a dying cause. 2 It might well have disappeared from the political scene completely had not the young American republic become entangled again in the national and imperial rivalries of Europe.

The ordinary people of New Hampshire had observed the extraordinary rise of Napoleon Bonaparte with mixed emotions. To the Federalists in general he was the "heir of the French Revolution," and they hated him as fervently as they had despised the Jacobins. The more extreme Federalists, who regarded England as the bulwark of religion and civilization, saw Napoleon as the anti-Christ. This was especially true after his victories at Austerlitz and Jena, which left him virtually the master of continental Europe. "The Emperor of France is the wonder & astonishment of the world," exclaimed Senator Plumer. "Who can set limits to his conquests! ... Tis fortunate for us that a vast ocean separates America from Europe. This, I hope, will prove a barrier against his great power." 3

Republicans had no less reason to be grateful for the Atlantic Ocean rolling between them and their unpredictable friend in Saint-Cloud. That vulnerable avenue to his colonies had been at least one reason for his willingness to sell Louisiana, but his accommodating spirit had virtually stopped at that point. After Austerlitz and Trafalgar, which left Napoleon supreme on land and England in control of the seas, Americans were caught almost helplessly in the epic struggle between elephant and whale.

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The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ninth State - New Hampshire's Formative Years *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter 1 - Revolutionary New Hampshire *
  • Chapter 2 - Constitution Making *
  • Chapter 3 - Peace and Depression *
  • Chapter 4 - Personal Politics *
  • Chapter 5 - A Fragment of Social History *
  • Chapter 6 - In the Federal Union *
  • Chapter 7 - Constitutional Revision *
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise of Parties *
  • Chapter 9 - Federalists and Republicans *
  • Chapter 10 - Federalist Decline *
  • Chapter 11 - The Old Order Yieldeth *
  • Chapter 12 - Democracy Triumphant *
  • Chapter 13 - Federalist Collapse *
  • Chapter 14 - Blockade and Embargo *
  • Chapter 15 - Drifting Toward War *
  • Chapter 16 - In the War with England *
  • Chapter 17 - The Indian Summer of Federalism *
  • Chapter 18 - Peace Abroad: War at Home *
  • Chapter 19 - Tribulations *
  • Chapter 20 - The Demise of Federalism *
  • Chapter 21 - Reform and Freedom *
  • Appendix - Maps and Explanations *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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