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On December 15, 1814, delegates from the five New England states (Maine was still part of Massachusetts at that time) gathered at the Hartford Convention to discuss New England's possible secession from the United States.During the early 19th century, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity, and the most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers.The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and had to determine how it was to be governed.Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document ratified January 14, 1639 which invested the people with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State." The original settlement area contained the site of the Charter Oak, an old white oak tree in which colonists hid Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general.

His daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin; her brother Henry Ward Beecher was a noted clergyman who vehemently opposed slavery and supported the temperance movement and women's suffrage.

Throughout the 19th century, Hartford's residential population, economic productivity, cultural influence, and concentration of political power continued to grow.

The advance of the Industrial Revolution in Hartford in the mid-1800s made this city by late century one of the wealthiest per capita in United States.

The first Europeans known to have explored the area were the Dutch under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614.

Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the area for the Dutch West India Company.

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Census Bureau estimates since then have indicated Hartford's fall to fourth place statewide, as a result of sustained population growth in the coastal city of Stamford.