It would be a gross understatement to say that the War of 1812 was unpopular in Connecticut.
As a region, New England was fiercely opposed to the War of 1812, which the Yankees collectively viewed as a frivolous and economically disastrous war waged by President James Madison against the British Empire. But Connecticut took its opposition to a new level — one that almost provoked a constitutional crisis for the still-young United States of America.
In the spring of 1812, Connecticut’s Governor Roger Griswold — just re-elected to a second term because of his staunch opposition to “Mr. Madison’s War” — received a request from Major General Henry Dearborn to commandeer five companies of Connecticut militiamen for federal service. On July 2, Governor Griswold delivered his reply: a flat-out refusal to release Connecticut’s militia companies to fight in the war. Citing the U.S. Constitution, Griswold noted that militias were supposed to be summoned by the federal government “to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, or repel invasions,” and since the United States did not appear to be in any “imminent danger” of invasion, he would not cede control of the militia to General Dearborn.
Griswold continued to resist the federal order to turn Connecticut’s troops over to federal control for months, instigating court proceedings that ultimately ended up in the Supreme Court. That body ruled against the recalcitrant governor and ordered the Connecticut militia to join the war effort. Roger Griswold, however, never learned that he had lost the case. He died suddenly in October 1812, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Roger Griswold: A Governor Not Afraid to Challenge Authority,” connecticuthistory.org