Cody Scallions


To many scholars, the West Florida Revolt of 1810 served merely as a transitional period in American history. Referenced as a time when a few social elites rose to challenge Spanish colonial authority in southeastern Louisiana, the West Florida Revolt has been viewed as a necessary step in the annexation of the territory by the United States. Recent research suggests this perspective should be qualified. Much like the Republic of Texas, the Republic of West Florida exhibited characteristics common to more successful independent states, including a functioning written constitution, a judicial system, a treasury, an army, and important elements of foreign policy. Rather than focus on the eventual annexation of the region, this article examines how a faction of the social elite of West Florida was able to stage a successful revolt, develop a government while still under Spanish control, and build an independent nation, despite the many obstacles faced by those involved. Understanding this process provides a different context for evaluating the eventual submission of the Republic to infant American imperialism and nation building in the Americas during the nineteenth century overall.