Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Republic of West Florida


Two hundred-years and some days ago it was established, and was to last seventy-four days — St. Tammany marks bicentennial of West Florida Republic. "The area that is now known as the Florida Parishes, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, and West Feliciana, is now part of Louisiana but for a brief period in history, this area was part of its own country, the Republic of West Florida." A brief history of the republic's brief history:
    In September 1810, settlers in the Spanish territory of West Florida, which includes what is now St. Tammany Parish, revolted against the Spanish government and proclaimed an independent republic.

    On Sept. 23, 1810, rebels stormed the Spanish fort near Baton Rouge, overwhelmed the Spanish and raised their own flag – the Bonnie Blue, a blue flag with one white star.

    The West Florida Assembly dispatched its own army, commanded by General Phiemon Thomas and forcibly annexed the territory from the Mississippi River to the Pearl River. Residents proclaimed St. Francisville as its capital and elected Fulwar Skipwirth as its president.

    However, its rule was short-lived.

    On Dec. 6, 1810, under the order of then President James Madison, West Florida was forcibly annexed by the United States and the republic ceased to exist, after a life of 74 days.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Another example of Jeffersonian hypocrisy. A fledgling republic snuffed out by the expansionist dreams of Empire that were nurtured by Jefferson and his heirs Madison, Monroe and Jackson.

7:10 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Indeed. The "Empire of Liberty" was one of Jefferson's more unfortunate ideas. Jefferson, as president, was far from Jeffersonian, as were those who followed him, whom you mentioned.

The crushing of the Republic of West Florida was carried out by arch-Federalist Madison. Had the Anti-Federalists (Jefferson was not one) won the day, the Dominion of British West Florida might still be a viable political entity today.

Your comments make me realize that while we might disagree about the events of 1787, we are much closer in our thinking than I had imagined. I think that when in earlier threads we discussed Jeffersonians and Federalists, I was referring to the political philosophies while you were referring to factions and parties.

9:12 AM  
OpenID danightman said...

Re: Western,

I had ancestors in Florida from around that time. I'll have to ask my parents if they lived during the time of that republic.

I'm also developing a greater appreciation for those ancestors of mine that lived here (all on my Mom's side) who fought in the War Between the States, aka the War of Northern Aggression. All of them fought for the Confederacy since they all lived in South, from Florida to the Carolinas.

Steven P. Cornett

9:35 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Indeed. We disagree about the Constitution and its merit. I do not think that we disagree (much) about other topics. The Federalist Party held very much to an American First position on economic and foreign policy issues. Hamilton, it should be remember, wrote at least part of the warning about foreign entanglements in Washington's Farewell Address, for example. President Adams worked very hard to prevent the United States from going to war with either Britain or France. And it was the Federalists who protested the Jeffersonian War of 1812 (disastrously presided over by Madison).

While Madison was a federalist (with a small "f"), he was no Federalist (referring to the party). He was an empire builder, a war-hawk against England, and a devotee of his master, Jefferson, in all things including the repugnant practice of slavery.

And as we are counting up the Empire-building of the Jeffersonians, don't forget Cherokee expulsion under Jackson, a policy that destroyed existing native American nations in their traditional and historic territories. That policy would lead directly the genocidal campaign against the Plains Indians later in the 19th century.

Virtually all of the American empire-building of the 19th century was the result of Jeffersonian ideology. It's one of the reasons why progressives were so quick to hitch a ride on the empire bandwagon in the 1890's -- leading us into foreign adventures in Cuba, central America, Hawaii and the Philippines.

It was the Federalist position originally to oppose such expansionist dreams. This is why the successors to the Federalist Party -- the Whigs -- opposed American wars in the 1830's and 40's, both wars against native Americans and the Mexican War. It is what motivated a young Whig congressman, Abraham Lincoln, to denounce the Mexican War so vociferously that he ended up losing his bid for reelection.

Cheers!

1:51 PM  
OpenID danightman said...

Re: Mark,

And as we are counting up the Empire-building of the Jeffersonians, don't forget Cherokee expulsion under Jackson, a policy that destroyed existing native American nations in their traditional and historic territories. That policy would lead directly the genocidal campaign against the Plains Indians later in the 19th century.

That bit of Empire-building really got started under Washington with the campaign against the Western Confederation carried out by General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, a veteran of the War of Independence. The decisive victory in the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795) ended with Wayne's victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers near present day Maumee Ohio.

After the Treaty of Greenville, the Indian tribes that were in Northwest Territory were forces to cede their lands, that they allowed to live on by an act of the Congress under the Articles of Confederation, to the settlers.

So as you can see, it started even under the Federalists.

Steven P. Cornett

7:21 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

And regarding "the repugnant practice of slavery," unlike the Articles, the Constitution is forever stained by enshrining it, as the Northern Anti-Federalists noted.

9:27 AM  

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