Border Law: The First Seminole War and American Nationhood by Deborah A. Rosen

By Deborah A. Rosen

The First Seminole struggle of 1816–1818 performed a severe position in shaping how the us demarcated its spatial and felony barriers in the course of the early years of the republic. Rooted in notions of yank exceptionalism, show up future, and racism, the criminal framework that emerged from the conflict laid the basis for the Monroe Doctrine, the Dred Scott choice, and U.S. westward enlargement over the process the 19th century, as Deborah Rosen explains in Border Law.

When basic Andrew Jackson’s troops invaded Spanish-ruled Florida within the past due 1810s, they seized forts, destroyed cities, and captured or killed Spaniards, Britons, Creeks, Seminoles, and African-descended humans. As Rosen indicates, americans vigorously debated those competitive activities and raised urgent questions about the rights of wartime prisoners, using army tribunals, the character of sovereignty, the principles for working throughout territorial borders, the validity of preemptive moves, and the position of race in settling on criminal rights. Proponents of Jackson’s Florida campaigns claimed a spot for the us as a member of the eu diplomatic neighborhood whereas whilst saying a neighborhood sphere of impact and new ideas in regards to the software of foreign law.

American justifications for the incursions, which allotted rights alongside racial strains and allowed vast leeway for extraterritorial motion, solid a extra unified nationwide id and set a precedent for an assertive international policy.

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The two nations’ accusations significantly paralleled each other. Each felt mounting uneasiness about the other party’s perceived failure to maintain neutrality. S. ports. S. officials denied that Americans were providing material support to anti-Â�Spanish revolutionaries and claimed the United States was doing everything possible to prevent military enterprises against Mexico or other Spanish colonies. American complaints focused on Florida. Diplomatic and military leaders continued to complain that local Spanish officers—╉especially José Masot (governor of West Florida, 1816–1818) and Francisco Caso y Luengo, the commandant at Fort St.

Finally, Adams concluded by noting that the United States could not “permit that the adjoining territories of Spain should be misused by others for purposes of annoyance” to the United States. On the domestic front, there was little challenge to the military occupation of Amelia Island. Congress did not dispute the appropriateness of the military operation, convinced that it was both necessary and legal. A January 1818 House committee report concluded that military action was necessary to thwart a hostile occupation of Florida by foreign adventurers who interfered with commercial shipping and illegally imported slaves and other goods into the United States through Amelia Island.

Spain’s recent provisioning and sheltering of antiÂ�American Creeks, along with its inability to prevent Florida-Â�based Indians from committing depredations in Georgia and Alabama, had prepared Jackson to dislodge the Spanish from the territory. On December 16, 1817, before he was sent to Georgia—╉and before American troops received permission to cross the border—╉he had written the War Department that he did not believe the frontier would be safe unless American troops struck the Seminoles in Florida.

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