Although James Madison won the presidency, his party lost seats in the 1808 election cycle. Jefferson's embargo left the economy in taters, but his Democratic-Republican Party proved too strong to topple from power. Two years later, the economy improved and the Federalist Party's march to oblivion renewed. In 1810, President Madison's faction won seats in both houses of congress strengthening their majority.
The congress repealed the Embargo Act in 1809. They passed Macon's Bill Number 2 in 1810 to encourage neutrality on the high seas. England and France both attacked American shipping leading Jefferson to launch the failed embargo. Macon's Bill lifted all embargoes for three months and promised to make the status permanent if Britain or France agreed to recognize American rights. The British ignored the Americans. On the other hand, France agreed to comply and the U.S. lifted the act on Napoleon. The embargo on Britain remained. Eventually, this led to a second war with England.
The repeal of the Embargo Act alleviated many fears and improved the economy. Macon's Bill hoped to end the problems with Europe and bring peace. As a result, people that voted for the Federalists in 1808 returned to Madison in 1810. The Democrats gained a seat in the U.S. Senate. They captured Timothy Pickering's old seat when the senator opposed the annexation of West Florida. In 1812, Pickering won election to the House of Representatives. That same year, Louisiana entered the Union and elected two Democratic senators. By the time Madison ran for re-election, his party held a 30-6 edge in the upper chamber.
While the Democrats held a 5-1 edge in the Senate, they returned to the super majority in the House of Representatives. The majority party gained 14 seats on the strength of the economy and party organization. The Federalists lost four seats in New Hampshire, three in New York, two in Massachusetts and Vermont, and one each in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. When Louisiana entered the Union, the Democrats gained one additional seat for a 14 seat pickup. By 1812, the Madisonians held a 71 seat advantage in the House of Representatives.
The new congress met for the first time in November 1811. The house elected Henry Clay as the new speaker. Clay had been elected for the first time in 1810. This marked the only time a representative was elected Speaker of the House on his first day. Clay went on to serve in congress and dominate American politics for the next four decades. He earned the moniker "the Great Compromiser" for his ability to work deals and keep the North and South at peace.
The Democrats wiped away Federalist gains in 1808. They wisely scrapped Jefferson's embargo to revive the economy. The improvement returned Madison's party to the super majority in both houses of congress. Meanwhile, the Federalists stood on the precipice. The new states carved out of the Louisiana Purchase would not doubt go to the majority party. The Federalist Party needed a miracle to maintain its very existence let alone relevance.