• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A manual offering information on the most important laws and treaties approved by Congress in more than 200 years since the first session in 1789. Each Congress is covered in a separate chapter introduced by a historical essay setting the actions of the legislators in the context of their times.

Twelfth Congress: March 4, 1811, to March 3, 1813
Twelfth Congress: March 4, 1811, to March 3, 1813
  • First session—November 4, 1811, to July 6, 1812
  • Second session—November 2, 1812, to March 3, 1813
  • (First administration of James Madison, 1809–1813)
Historical Background

At the request of President James Madison, the Twelfth Congress convened a month early. It represented, in the words of historian Merrill D. Peterson, “a watershed in the history of the republic.”1 Although the seventy freshman members of Congress had not participated in the founding of the republic, they were intent on preserving it. President Madison, in his annual message of November 5, 1811, stressed that Great Britain and France had exhibited “hostile inflexibility in trampling on rights which no independent nation can relinquish,” and he urged Congress ...

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