When General Andrew Jackson’s troops invaded Spanish-ruled Florida in the late 1810s, they seized forts, destroyed towns, and captured or killed Spaniards, Britons, Creeks, Seminoles, and African-descended people. As Rosen shows, Americans vigorously debated these aggressive actions and raised pressing questions about the rights of wartime prisoners, the use of military tribunals, the nature of sovereignty, the rules for operating across territorial borders, the validity of preemptive strikes, and the role of race in determining legal rights. Proponents of Jackson’s Florida campaigns claimed a place for the United States as a member of the European diplomatic community while at the same time asserting a regional sphere of influence and new rules regarding the application of international law.
American justifications for the incursions, which allocated rights along racial lines and allowed broad leeway for extraterritorial action, forged a more unified national identity and set a precedent for an assertive foreign policy.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
List of Maps ix
1 U.S.-Spanish Relations and the Florida Campaigns 11
2 Rules of War and American Nation-Building 40
3 Challenges and Conflicts 72
4 Creeks, Seminoles, and Indian Wars 102
5 Civilization and Nationhood 123
6 Race and Territoriality 158
7 Military Tribunals and Rule of Law 185