Late in October of 1810, as citizens and statesmen throughout the United States focused almost entirely on an imminent conflict with Great Britain and apprehensively monitored Napoleon's armies in Europe, the president of the United States, James Madison, quickly convened an emergency session of his cabinet members. Great Britain and Napoleon were not, however, the reason for calling the secret cabinet meeting. What occupied the attention of the executive branch was a little recognized rebellion in a sparsely populated region south of the Mississippi Territory. Two days after secretly conferring with his cabinet, on October 27, Madison issued a pivotal presidential proclamation authorizing the U. S. occupation of the territory below the official U. S. border with Spanish Florida-the 31st parallel-and extending from the Mississippi River eastward to the Perdido River. Just weeks earlier, in late September of 1810, rebellious citizens, mostly recent American immigrants to the Baton Rouge area, declared their independence from Spain and dubbed themselves the West Florida Republic-the original Lone Star Republic. Within days of their precipitous declaration, the rebels requested the protection of and annexation by the United States. President Madison, motivated by a number of "weighty and urgent considerations," deemed it "right and requisite" that the United States accept that invitation, and, accordingly, the Virginian unilaterally ordered the governor of the Orleans Territory, William C. C. Claiborne, to mobilize the territorial militia and enter into and exercise over the newly acquired region the "authorities and functions legally pertaining to his office." Under the protection of the United States, the "good people" of the liberated Spanish territory were thus "invited and enjoined to pay due respect" to the new governor, and "to be obedient, to maintain order, to cherish harmony, and in every manner to conduct themselves as peaceable citizens, under full assurance that they will be protected in the enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion."
Belko, William S.
"The Origins of the Monroe Doctrine Revisited: The Madison Administration, the West Florida Revolt, and the No Transfer Policy,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 90:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol90/iss2/5