12. In New England, milder weather in mid-summer offered false hope of a good harvest
Despite the problems inflicted by the weather in the late winter and spring, and the wild daily fluctuations of temperature which persisted throughout the summer, by early August hope in New England was that the harvests would be, if not bountiful, at least tolerable. The same was not true for Virginia and the middle states, Jefferson and Madison both lamented the loss of corn, wheat, and tobacco crops evident by the beginning of August. Besides being the year of no summer, 1816 was a presidential election year in the United States, and the populace, no matter how much it would have liked to, could not blame the weather on the President of the United States. It could however blame an inadequate government response to a national crisis on Congress, and it did so, using the recent raise Congress had voted itself as the focus of it anger.
James Monroe, yet another Virginia planter, veteran of the Revolution, and a rationalist who did not publicly proclaim his religious views, was the leading candidate for the office of President, which he won. His election ushered in what became known to historians as the Era of Good Feelings, though few such sentiments existed at the time of his election, especially regarding his reticence to pronounce his faith. He was also awarded an almost entirely new Congress. By late summer of 1816, with the presidential election underway, an emotional religious wave had struck the United States, fueled in many cases by preachers denouncing the less than religious behavior of America’s government and the divine retribution it had brought upon the nation from a perturbed Almighty. Churches in American cities (and British and French) began to offer prayers directed towards a change in the weather. The American Second Great Awakening began to expand rapidly.