tv General Jackson President Monroe and the Florida Territory CSPAN September 1, 2022 11:14pm-12:26am EDT
well welcome. we're so glad to have all of you here tonight. i'm nancy stets and i manage education programs at james monroe's highland. we are delighted to be doing the program general jackson president monroe and the florida territory tonight in partnership with andrew jackson's the hermitage in nashville, tennessee. now a little bit about how this program came to be. we're delighted to have aaron adams with us tonight. who is the director of education at the hermitage and you'll be hearing a little bit more about her in just a moment.
highland was fortunate. to open new exhibits this past september and these exhibits you know for the first time in sight history interpreted the building that you see here in the photograph as a guest house built during monroe's presidency by two enslaved carpenters named peter and george prior to 2016. you know, we had thought this building to be part of the main house. so this is a really significant recuration to now have this building curated as it was as a guest house and one of our exhibit goals was to really anchor this building in place. you know, what was happening in highland and the world historically, you know as the enslaved carpenters peter and george were literally hammering nails into the wood to construct this building you're seeing and so luckily monroe left us a rich paper trail to clean details
from and so one of the rooms in our new exhibits, which you're seeing here does a bit of a deep dive into a letter monroe wrote while home at highland from dc one one september day september 6 of 1818 and you know, the the letter is very, you know critical for our site understanding because it actually details this construction of this building names the enslavement who built it but it tells us a lot about what's going on my current events and about three pages of this six-page letter are all basically monroe ringing his hands about andrew jackson's recent invasion of florida earlier in the summer of 1818 and so here with in the red box. you're seeing two panels we have devoted to that aspect of the letter and you know almost immediately as we're starting staffing the exhibits. we notice this is getting a lot
of visitor interest both in the situation in florida and also monroe and jackson's personal relationship. so this seemed you know, just really ripe topic for doing more programming on and so we were very excited that aaron was on board for delving into this topic with us tonight and so a little bit about my co-host erin erin adams has been the director of education at andrew jackson's hermitage in nashville since 2013. aaron believes her biggest priority is to advocate for each visitor both as a guest and as a learner. her department overseas k-12 learning youth leadership training and lifelong learning programs as well as all guest services functions. while at the hermitage aaron has focused on making learning and interpersonal adventure between staff and visitors her academic interests lie in jackson's native american policies and practices. aaron has been a really great collaborator to work with and
i've learned a lot from her in working on this program. so briefly before i turned over to aaron our goals tonight are you know to kind of set up the context leading to this 1818 invasion of florida by jackson wall monroe was president kind of peer into the eye of the hurricane of all this chaos and look at the actual, you know letters and words exchange between these two before jackson was sent you know, what was actually said what was implied what meaning was taken and then most importantly to look with pers? about the impacts of acquiring florida as united states territory with specific regard to indigenous tribes american slavery and more personally within slave residents at both highland and the hermitage and so with pleasure i am going to turn it over to aaron.
good evening everyone. it's such a pleasure to be with you. thank you again to nancy and to the folks at highland for inviting us to go along in this endeavor. it it i have to echo nancy's words. it really has been quite a learning opportunity for me as well, florida and jackson's actions in florida as well as his relationships surrounding florida are a big have been a great area of research for me here at just very recently. so all of that to say i am learning about jackson in florida and his relationship with monroe right alongside everybody else. so as we go through tonight, and there will be an opportunity to put questions in the q&a function and and those will get shared with us by our moderators our host tonight. so go easy on me because there is certainly many things for me still to learn. so when nancy first introduced
the the idea of the project she sent me the text of the panel that you're looking at here and the first thing that struck me was the use of the adjective volatile to describe andrew jackson, not that i objected to it. not that i felt it was inaccurate in any way. i just find that often people don't necessarily call it out so directly in that. it was it was quite humorous to me to see that because i don't think they're honestly is a better word that you could use to describe andrew jackson in fact later on in jackson's presidency. he tells james hamilton. he describes himself as born for a storm and calm does not suit and so if that doesn't express volatility, i don't know what does and so it's interesting to watch that that sort of demeanor here at play. so nancy if you are ready and i if we want to advance the slides i am i'm good.
all right. great, so they're a nancy had the wonderful idea to go ahead and lay out timeline and for kind of overlapping james monroe's life with andrew jackson's i think it's the perfect way to look at them we so often think at least from my perspective. we think of james monroe so neatly packaged in with the founding fathers generation, right? he's in the portrait with washington crossing the delaware. um, james monroe is is the fifth president, right? so he's followed this great stream of those founding father generation presidents. and it's not till after monroe right then we sort of switched to those post-revolution post-founding father presidents with adam with john quincy adams. and of course jackson coming very soon thereafter, but in an examining the overlap between the lives of james monroe and andrew jackson. i was really struck with a few
things one monroe in jackson. are are only nine years apart in their ages and then roe was 18 at the time that is represented. of course in the famous portrait here of washington crossing the delaware. it wasn't until the last year or so that i realized that the man holding the flag here behind washington is monroe. and so that was quite a quite a new thought for me. but jackson is 13 at this point at least by and excuse my 1780. jackson is 13 at this point. so madison at this point would have been just you know that nine years older than that. but while madison in most people's eyes would be of an average and acceptable age to serve as a combatant during the american revolution andrew jackson himself is serving as a combatant during the american revolution now, he's 13 when this begins and he joins the american army on the example of
his oldest brother hugh jackson who was killed at the battle of stone oak theory in 1779 often we get the question. what in the world is a 13 year old kids doing in in a military situation and an army what army would accept the services of the 13 or a 15 years old boy. jackson is serving the american army largely is a messenger. it seems a courier. this is a kid who's who is on his home tour right this frontier of the caroline? is this sort of backwater of british north america and so here is jackson. getting in a combat role also serving in support capacities jackson himself has taken a prisoner of war at the age of 14 shortly after the battle of hanging rock, which was an american which is an american victory, but he is taking prisoner by the british which you see represented here in this very famous image from a hundred
years later called the brave boy of the waxhawks. this is a portraying jackson about the age of 14 jackson in in the course of his arrest on is confronted by this british soldier and asked to clean the officers boots jackson. rejects that command he completely objects to this demand that the officer has made jackson's according to all the biographers says i am your prisoner. you cannot compel me to do this. the officer clearly isn't taking that so well goes to slash down at jackson with that saber jackson throws at his left hand to protect himself that saber comes down cuts his left hand nearly in half. so jackson is going to be left with very visible and very painful scars of the american revolution both both internal and external jackson. is that imprisoned as a 14 year old boy along with his brother robert? and so this makes jackson the
only president out of all 46 of our our 45 of our presidents rather who had served as a prisoner of war. it's a very unique experience in jackson's life. and of course that happens at the age of 14. but age of 15 then at the end of the revolution jackson is completely worth it his mother his father his two older brothers have all been lost and other members of his family as well. so emerging from the american revolution. you see these two young men going in with a great deal of idealism a great deal of patriotic fervor a great sense of hotness or rightness in the way things ought to be for the united states that it should be its own endeavor and because in my mind they represent that that bridge if you will between the revolutionary generation and the war of 1812 generation that that passion for the nation the nation's future the nation's
security is almost unmatched in in another pairing that i can think of from from there saying sort of age range. so then as we watch the move on from the revolution, we begin to watch the establishment of the nation, then you have jackson and monroe, who are then? both young enough to still heavily engage with the war of 1812 and old enough to come at it with a great deal more of strategy with a great deal more of life experience behind them shaping this but madison of course starts out of secretary ordering that yeah monroe, excuse me, monroe starts out as secretary of state during that period moves into the secretary for position. jackson is the major general of the us seven inventory during this point. so the communication between the two of these men is prominent and as you can see here on the timeline, then they'll move they the the war of 1812 for jackson and monroe both is going to just sort of continue on in a way
into the first seminal war into the acquisition of florida and now they're they're serving in their original capacity. so to speak monroe went through the war of 1812 as a politician as a as a federal servant jackson went into it as a military commander. that is going that relationship. there's sort of understandings they have with one another has a result of this or just simply going to spill over into the seminal war and so we're gonna see a lot of comparison a lot of very similar and kind of expected results between what's going to happen between the two two of them go through here. and then of course monroe is operating as president right after the war of 1812 his term in office ends. just as jackson is running for his second season of candidacy in the election of 1828 and then of course dies within the first few years of jackson's presidency himself, so we'll see as we go through over all of this tonight how these two men
are gonna line up some fascinating ways. nancy if you want to go on board with us so as i mentioned there's a an old association between these two men i try to to do a little research on the point at which jackson first encounters monroe at what point do they actually first begin to know each other and i couldn't pinpoint it exactly but my guess is they begin to gather some familiarity with one another during jackson's first term in congress. andrew jackson was tennessee's first congressman first congressional representative when tennessee achieve statehood in 1796 now madison monroe, i've got to stop doing this see i know exactly who i'm talking about a promise but james monroe is serving as an ambassador to europe at this point, so they are familiar with one another i feel during this period but of course as we discussed it's going to be that war of 1812 period that will bring them
together quite strongly so the two men are going to have a pretty frequent conversation. pretty much a running conversation between the two of them over the course of the war of 1812 naturally the concern for james madison who is president at this point is is the british and the british strategy the british strategy and certainly relies heavily on the involvement of native nations on developing alliances with native nations and trying to essentially encircle american expansion, right? we want to try the british rather want to try to sort of press in on the united states and be very clear about the expansion that the united states can expect. canada is a key point in this the united states has ambitions for expansion not only is the war of 1812 for the united states about defending what it is already achieved in the revolution, but it's now also
about making a statement the united states goal is to become an equal play. on on the world seeing just as great britain is just as france is just as spain is the united states is now asserting that it isn't just going to accept independence it is going to strive for competitiveness on the world scene and take its place amongst the great powers of the world. and so well the attention from madison and monroe first is on canada and the desire of the united states to acquire canadian territory. they also have to consider this southern territories as well. largely they're looking at disruptions and threats to the front here that are posed by the shawnee people led by tecumseh and his brother the prophet ten sportsawa and the threat of the muscogee nation or the creek as the british referred to them in, alabama and georgia and florida. so the war of 1812 is presenting
a phenomenal opportunity for the growth of the united states if we can defeat not only the british but these native nations in the way as well. so madison monroe particularly monroe in jackson are going to come to a pretty mutual understanding about what should be done how it should be done and what the expected outcomes are. and so there will be many instances throughout the war of 1812. we'll talk about a few in which jackson seems to constantly exceed whatever orders he has specifically been given by the commander in chief or by that monroe is the secretary of war. but in each of these cases jackson's jackson's justification in his own mind if you will is that he simply fulfilling this spirit of what is intended so even without direct instructions to do things
like invade, pensacola. jackson is interpreting what he feels or monroe's in madison's. intentions and so we're going to see a great deal of that play out as we go through here today. and so just a few items a few images i decided to stick in here and so we can review just a few a few facts about both of these men and their roles during the war of 1812 again monroe and some of you may have a different thought and again, this is a learning opportunity for me, but one of the things i think about with monroe is the monroe's the politician right? he's the office holder. he is the logistics man. he's the man that's got to justify the actions of the government to the congress. he's got to seek funding for these sorts of things. his job is to support the decisions of the president and the commander in chief and jackson is the man on the field, right jackson is the man out watching the play out of this he
is well aware of the sort of the the lay of the land both in terms of the support of americans the divisions. loyalties across the frontier as well as the proceed threats and where strategically they may come to really play against the united states. it was a surprise to me. to learn that jackson was initially more interested in canada and acquiring territories in canada as far as the saint lawrence river are the saint lawrence gulf and the idea that somehow the united states would go as far as the saint lawrence include the great lakes region just as handing the united states this great bounty of natural resources. that would make it almost unconquerable if you will that is going to go so far in advancing with economic abilities as well as it's national strength and profile. it's military presence in the world. so it was a surprise to me that jackson was so focused on canada
as he was and so jackson begins to let madison monroe and others william henry harrison. no, hey, i'm here send me i am sitting here on top of the us on top of the tennessee militia. he is commissioned into the us seventh infantry at this point. me i'm here and madison at least. sort of says, thank you. and then does nothing to call on jackson's services, right? he's sort of keeps passing jackson over. for people that madison feels like he can deal with a little more effectively people like william henry harrison, for example when jackson sees this sort of almost pacification that he feels like he's receiving from james madison. jackson then begins to stop trying to reach out to madison and instead he reaches out directly to these other generals william henry harrison, for example, and he notifies harrison to let him know. hey, i'm here the tennessee.
militia is here. we are here to fight on behalf of the nation. send us we want us. and finally james monroe. for jackson represents this this link now right that jackson begins to cultivate this conversation with james monroe in such a way that it begins to influence madison's own thinking about jackson at this point. and so really, it's james monroe in many ways who gets jackson pulled into the thick of things in the war of 1812 now madison is not going to direct jackson's move towards canada or to move to the right lakes region or the ohio valley instead he is going to point himself against the muscogee people and ultimately to, florida to alabama to new orleans where the war is going to end at that point. i love the two portraits of these men here at this point because again, it's showing them roughly the same age the same
position and so it really it kind of creates. i think this wonderful visual reference point between the mover the politician and the mover the general in the military. course nancy do you want to move us on just one more step? thank you. so the war of 1812 of course comes to this smashing conclusion. as jackson moves against the muscogee people of alabama he is going to defeat them roundly and in addition to the military defeat of the muscogee nation. he also forces them to seed 23 million acres of land to the united states and while madison and monroe had been watching this unfold they've been hearing reports. jackson is sending reports back to washington of his progress across across creek nation. they're a little staggered by how jackson is going at this the
brutality with which jackson is taking to these native nations. the fact that jackson is provoking a very intense civil war between the creek members of the creek nation between the white stick faction and the red stick faction or the upper faction and the lower faction. so jackson is pulling on the cherokee the choctaw many who are going to later support jackson at new orleans. they are also fighting with him against the creek and the end result is the defeat of the creek this session of 23 million acres of land which is about two-thirds of the entire state of, alabama. um, it's also going to cost the creek though to sort of withdraw and pull back from alabama. they're largely going to flee towards the coast and kind of around the areas of mobile and pensacola. they're going to pull into western georgia, and they're going to pull back into florida which of course remains spanish territory at this point and you can see that on the map here.
so at the conclusion of the war of 1812 this great defeat of great britain in 1812. the way i always explain this when i'm working with fourth graders is that this becomes the exclamation point to the end of the war of 1812 that jackson that jackson is seeking to provide that the nation is so eagerly wanting and anticipating. but here's what that is going to do ultimately. thomas jefferson had already purchased louisiana territory by 1803 right? we're very familiar with this story that it's essentially from baton rouge north right that that parallel that runs here and i'm gonna annotate this on our screen so we can see see just a little more. closely at the chance to do that. all right, great. so right here what today would form the northern. it's part of the state of mississippi today. but what would what ultimately
did provides the northern boundary of the state of florida today? and i'm just going to extend that red line just a little bit straight line. they're looking at it as a straight line friends. that this is a problem. okay, this boundary is a problem. so 1803 the boundary of louisiana is sort of laid out here at baton rouge. okay, it goes along the mississippi and it's sort of this what we think of as this sort of edge right here is the river curves. because because florida has such a unique relationship with the european nations that have long been fighting over it. they're walking into florida by 1817. everything has turned into this very swampy sort of jungle of entanglement, right? there's a great deal of international intrigue and a great deal of international maneuvering for how florida gets
divided and what it's it what its future holds for it. okay, so to go back to the louisiana purchase and one of the issues that nancy and i discussed in our earlier conversation was the fact that so few people realize i think and it's been my observation that florida was not part of the 13 colonies. the 13 colonies extend from maine all the way down the coast of the atlantic until you get to the southern boundary of georgia. why isn't florida part of those 13, right? i think it's a natural assumption that people make they were it was all the states on the atlantic was on this colonies on the atlantic essentially the atlantic edge of the nation. were the 13 colonies and yet people are often surprised that florida was not amongst those. so by the revolution there's already a great deal of conflict in florida the british the spanish the french and then of course the seminole and then certainly british north america and then eventually the united states.
all of that is just going to continue to unroll until 1803 jefferson purchases, louisiana. they're still debate in conversation over where the boundaries of louisiana territory are that are going to continue to provide these flash points of tension between foreign countries. and of course this this northern line that goes right here along the top of right where baton rouge is kind of intersecting that that image there is going to be one of the largest pieces of this argument, but 1812 by the by 1812, louisiana is added as a state 1815 jackson is victorious the battle of new orleans, and now we have trying to trying to remove my annotation so i can move on from here. all right, so so by 1815 by the victory at new orleans the map here is a wonderful way of
seeing what those tensions provide. okay, so you can see sort of by your by your key here on your map the gradual annexation of these various sections of florida territory. so part of it begins to get annexed in 1810, but that annexation is still pretty literally argued between france in the united states. this is going to really begin a period of great tension between the united states and france with which it is formerly had a very successful relationship and so from that point forward, it's it's going to continue to be more problematic. uh as the united states continues to push into this region gradually, it's going to start pushing back and back this boundary of florida at one point. it only goes as far as the pearl river the next point it's going to go as far as the perdido river and then it's going to go as far as the appalachicola and so by phases all of this is going to continue to advance. so on the eve of the first
seminole war, which is got quite a range of dates associated with it. this is what we're the territory that we're looking at in florida. so in each of these areas. each area comes into the us with a great deal of conflict detached to it and they don't bother to solve sort of the status of one part of this territory before they simply move along to the next one. so again, the issue here is getting more and more complicated as we go. nancy i think i'm ready for you to move on. thank you. okay. okay. all right. thank you aaron. so as aaron, you know really quickly showed. it's very complicated and when monroe is president, there has been a lot of disgruntlement by us citizens that the seminoles
in florida have been doing these raids on the, you know people living in georgia and on georgian plantations, and it's that's kind of what necessitates monroe asking jackson to go to florida. and as aaron's shown, you know, they they've been down this road before monroe knows he's sydney someone down there who's prone to exceed his orders. he certainly knows jackson's personality. he's worked with him before and so i thought it would be really interesting to kind of look at what was jackson told? you know, what is the actual correspondence and then what actually happens and we'll analyze that a little bit. it so and again all this is happening kind of at the time for with relevance to highland that we have our expand building and so it's very meaningful to our site interpretation. so john c. calhoun was monroe secretary of war. so this is the the first quotation you're seeing is
monroe's water department essentially giving jackson orders to go to florida and calhoun's wording is that you may be prepared to concentrate your forces into adopt the necessary measures bolding mine to terminate a conflict which it has ever been the desire of the president from considerations of humanity to avoid but which is now made necessary by their settled hostilities there being the seminal indians. and so this is this can be distilled into please go and basically take care of the situation with the seminoles. as aaron pointed out from further, you know older associ. nations with wanting to acquire and grow you at the united states territory, you know, there's there's been a lot of previous conversations where monroe doesn't necessarily have to spell things out. so then monroe sent jackson a follow-up letter two days later. who telling him you know, this is not a time for you to think
of repose great interests are an issue and until our course is carried through triumphantly, you ought not to withdraw your active support from it. so as the story john meacham put it this is diplomatically oblique. it's a little different from just the terminated conflict message from john c calhoun in the war department. and so what we're gets continues to get interesting is jackson's response. jackson will write on january 6th of 1818 two monroe. this is the most pertinent section of the letter. essentially saying he kind of had his own ideas for this mission and said this can be done without implicating the government let it be signified to me through any channel say jay ray and he's mentioning this john ray who was a congressman from tennessee. you see at the bottom of the screen that the possession of the florida's would be desirable
to the united states and in 60 days. it will be accomplished. so here we have yet another angle of meaning here. jackson kind of saying here. here's my offer. just say the word and some of you may notice that in jackson's letter here in some writing going the opposite direction from the original letter is a note which reads mr. j. ray's letter in answer is burnt this 12th of april 18 18 aj. which would imply that somehow john ray gave him the tip off to go to florida and not only suppress the situation with the seminoles but to actually seize the entire area from the spanish. this letter has never been found the writing is not jackson's is not really there's a lot of mystery to be said to this
communication, which we're not the first to delve into nor will we be the last? so just take a moment to ponder. what word jackson's instructions exactly because when you what he'll end up doing is, you know taking his militia to florida. he will not only you know, make the very strident warfare on the seminoles. he will see spanish post. this is essentially declaring or could be conceived as an active war against spain. he will end up executing some british subjects who we thought were inciting the inside. seminoles and aaron did you want to jump in? i did i wondered if we could go back very quickly to the map that we were just looking at with the kind of gradual advancements of florida with what is really fascinating. is that when you look at if when you look at the map of the united states like call it the map the united states in your mind. okay, like what it looks like today the lower 48 so you're gonna take essentially the
entire state of florida. okay, you're going to extend the panhandle of florida and then think about how it begins to make this curve to the northwest. okay, so that curve is gonna follow the south and southwestern boundaries of the louisiana territory, right? so it's going to look like what you know, it's gonna look like you're starting sort of the texas state line and then it's gonna go a little further north perhaps up into colorado, wyoming and then it's gonna hit a straight line almost all the way to california right to almost all the way to oregon territory, okay? so if you're following that line. florida eventually picks up a nickname. all right. it is referred to and it's referred to by. jackson what's by one of jackson's biographers who uses this expression and it's wonderful. it's he said he describes florida as a pistol aimed at the heart of the united states.
that if we can't settle this this little strip along the bottom, right? how can we possibly expect to make any advances further west? right? so we've there's this pistol as he says that's just aimed at the heart of the united states and when you think about it, you know, we often put so much emphasis on the strategic importance of new orleans at the end, you know in in the war of 1812 that it's where unites the mississippi with the gulf of mexico the economic implications of the importance of holding warlins. but the truth is is that there's so many competing goals for florida so many competing mass international interests in florida, but if we can't resolve florida, how can we possibly expect to move forward with any confidence as a nation that we can then do what needs to be done further west? so in many ways and florida is already seen as sort of approving ground right the war of 1812 gives the united states the mandate in many ways that it
needs to move forward with florida, but then of course is ready to fight the seminole now the issue and we're gonna talk about this just a little bit more as we go and the issue is also going to turn to slavery as as so many issues do in american history because it is also part of the identity of florida and what message the status of florida begins to send to the world around it. so we'll hit that a moment in a moment, but i just remembered i had come across that quote nancy and i wanted to share still aimed at the heart of the united states and i just think that is incredibly evocative. so yeah that i had not heard that and i definitely right encapsulates the feeling so what is also really interesting is that this letter where jackson says i can take florida in 60 days monroe never responds and
then later claims. he never read it till after jackson invaded florida this letter from monroe to john c calhoun, you know, this is nearly a decade later monroe's retired. it's on the eve of you know, jackson's wanting to run for president in 1818. so this as politics do this is resurfaced monroe says, i never read that letter until after the affair was concluded nor did i ever think of it until you recalled it to my recollection by an intimation of its contents. so it's definitely it puts a whole other kink in the gears for monroe decline. he never saw that letter having already worked with jackson and probably having some ability to anticipate what jackson would say or do and another aspect in this letter monroe writes to calhoun. that he did ask john ray as was mentioned in the previous letter who was supposed to give jackson a tip off and general
conversation whether he had ever intimated to general jackson his opinion that the administration, you know had no objection to his making an attack on pensacola and ray, you know declared the heat never said that to jackson in monroe kind of his tiptoying around saying i did not know if the general had written him to the same effect as he had to me as i had not read my letter he digs his heels in again, but that he might have led me innocently into a conversation in which wishing to obtain florida. i might have expressed a sentiment from which he might have drawn and inference. so this is a bit of a tango here that amused me and researching these they're their correspondence. yeah, and it's nancy. it's a tango that they have danced before right so during the war of 1812 right? no october of 1814 jackson and david's, pensacola. deciding that the spanish in florida as now i've great britain are funneling
intelligence about american military force and and movements into the british which is accurate. so jackson had had drawn that and then you know, so here goes jackson marching into pensacola madison in monroe have given him no orders to do this right in fact later. jackson sins a letter in what she said or he writes the letter, excuse me before he does this in 1814, he writes to madison and monroe vote and he acknowledges. i am acting without the orders of the government in this case and when that letter makes it to washington madison is a little more put off by this event and this letter than monroe. is monroe as this language and this letter to calhoun would suggest he's willing to put this in the realm of hypotheticals right? lots of my babies and and he could have drawn it's right, but madison in monroe know exactly jackson's nature, and so it's in
a way, it's almost the issue of like asking permission versus forgiveness, right? and so they're they're kind of willing to let him go there is another by way of comparison. there's this really wonderful. story or account is called the patriot war of west florida, right or east florida. i'm sorry in which general matthews marches in a force of just militiamen kind of kind of local men within georgia and the carolinas right that he gets sort of fired up that we are patriots our futurist florida the fate of florida means the fate of the united states. we must be ready to protect and assert the dominance of the united states of security military forces and so off he marches them into into florida and madison is horrified at what he has done, right? he has the man immediately replaced as a commander with general edmond gaines.
what's the distinction between what matthew's marches into florida and what jackson is marching in florida, very little very little. it's just that. they already sort of know how to work with jackson and they know what to expect out of jackson and the outcomes. and so i think that's gonna go a long way in many ways for madison to be able to show discipline when you have military officers that are acting outside of the realm of commands, but then jackson gives them the result that allows them to say. well, you know, sometimes it is worth it to us. and so, you know, this is not an unprecedented moment, but i think it shows the power if you will that jackson represents and kind of the abilities and just again the nature of the relationship between these men particular would particularly between monroe and jackson because monroe is going to go to bat for jackson with madison. so there's a range of you know
assessments on this communication situation that happened but i really liked the kind of synopsis from daniel feller who is at the papers of andrew jackson who summed it up saying the real issue. is that jackson thought he could and when road did not correct him when road did not give the tip off, but neither, did he rebuke jackson or relieve him on the spot instead. he either foolishly or cleverly misplaced his letter. so kind of a political maneuver potentially. well, maybe we'll never know. but there's a range of reactions to jackson seizing, florida when he was gonna, you know, someone exceeding his or certainly exceeding his bounds and i wanted to kind of foil together two different perspectives here on this the left side you see an article from the genius of liberty, which is a leesburg virginia paper where we can see that while some people are horrified jackson has done this eventually it kind of comes
around that it was just necessary general major general andrew jackson has found it necessary to take possession of pensacola. he has not been prompted to this measure from a wish to extend the territorial limits of the united states or for many unfriendly feeling on the part of the american republic to the spanish government here. we get to the heart of it in the red square. basically the this was the seminals that made this necessary the seminal indians inhabiting the territories of spain have for more than two years past visited our frontier settlers with all the horrors of savage massacre help us women have been butchered and the cradle stained with blood of innocence these atrocities. it was expected would have easily attracted the attention of the spanish government and faithful existing treaties that for speeding measures that would have been adopted for their suppression. so kind of this wasn't just trying to add an extra star to the flag. this was this was just it just happened which is an interesting. way of seeing this foil that
against you know the history from the seminal tribe on their own website, there are description of these events. is that us officials angry that the spaniards could not ask the english or control the indians were particularly incensed by the protection and shelter the seminoles offered to african slaves, which doesn't even come up in the newspaper article. these freedom seekers had been finding refuge in spanish, florida for over a century, but the new us government was determined to stop this practice in the late 1700s and early 1800s conflicts skirmishes and ambushes erupted in rachel hatred flared into violence more and more frequently on the new frontier. and so kind of moving into longer term impacts, you know on the seminals. it was just decimating what these this invasion started and then continued with indian removal act on the seminole tribe of florida website, you know, they mentioned the 12,000 years that their people had been in the southeastern united
states today. the population is less than 3,000 in a state of florida which exceeds 14 million residents and you know, the that is a credit to the almost 3000 which the sentence next refers to the struggled to survive in florida to despite heavy odds, so we certainly see with the events of the seminole war in jackson's invasion. you know, what is coming in the coming decades for the seminoles and other indigenous tribes? um i'm going to turn it back to aaron now who will talk a little more about slavery into florida. once it becomes a us acquisition and just a little bit of an overview here. sure, and i had intended to start this section with a different math image and and then on misplaced the image what? there's another thing happening here too jackson. jackson's actions have not just been about florida right? it's it's not only about florida
with jackson is sent to accomplish in florida. is is part for the course when it comes to slavery when it comes to land acquisition when it comes to negative peoples. so jackson as i mentioned earlier at the end of the creek war and forces the muskogee the seed 23 million acres of land. it's basically two thirds of the state of alabama. jackson is also heavily involved in forcing land sessions from the chickasaw the choctaw the cherokee at this point. the seminole are going to be kind of the end of this process and when you map all of that out, florida becomes sort of the last piece of the southern what today is the southern united states? that is still dominated by native peoples unclaimed by the united states and and clearly fitting into this established example of the south as an agricultural region. okay, so florida for jackson in
many ways is representing kind of the end of a process and all of these land acquisitions and land sessions are happening concurrently with the seminal war while jackson himself is in florida and yet still very much involved in all the match nations that it takes to get this land seated to the united states when you add up all of the land sessions that jackson is responsible for during this period i mean you're talking about tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of acres of land in what today is the southern united states now often and again when i do this with children one of the most natural questions for them is what are we going to do with all this land? why is jackson working so hard to get all of this land? what's the point of it? the point of it is that the land is viewed as the future. united states the agricultural potential of this territory is critical in advancing the nation's economy and growing our
economic profile and in the eyes of the world in order to do that agriculture is going is going to take the largest share of the endeavors here and agriculture is it is a company by slavery and enslavement this language that that jackson is going to use during the seminal war certainly during his presidency and when it comes to the writing of the indian removal act is that the duty of the united states is is an unpair phrasing but the duty of the united states is essentially to take advantage of every resource to advance its own cause and to have this land in the south and that includes, florida to have it occupied by who are not in in acting in the interests of the united states advancement they simply need to move they need to go now jackson's gonna find ways along with monroe and others to couch this and a lot of national defense language, right? the monroe doctrine is is going to come out very strongly if we
don't want european involvement in the affairs of the americas. we have to be ready to dominate the americas and that means that full control of the land. let's talk about how this applies with slavery means in this particular case because the state of florida what today is the state of florida and and certainly the territory of florida. it is a very unique. i think arrangement compared to what a lot of the early history of slavery and enslavement in other parts of the united states. first of all slavery. i'm sorry, florida is where slavery first enters british north america right where it enters north america. i should say that. that the first african slaves brought to north america happens under spanish rule in 1526 about 1526 and estevancio was the man's name. it was a member of the denarvaez expedition. i'm very sorry. he speaks spanish. i'm just butchered that. i'm sure but the catholic church in spain the spanish government
had agreed that enslavement was a proper response to those people who have not been converted to the catholic faith. estevancio is kidnapped from his home in morocco by the portuguese sold to the spanish and then brought to north america as part of this exploration expedition under narvaez, and he actually dies in new mexico hernando de soto who so many of us are familiar with and i grew up in memphis tennessee memphis is where hernando de soto dies that's always been part of the sort of the mythology of the city of memphis. is it right? this is where hernando desoto dies desoto is bringing a sizable number of african descent slaves as well as indigenous people. it is the site of the first emancipation of enslaved people in in north america. it happens in florida. it's where the first settlement of free blacks in north america. it's happening. so there's many layers of this relationship between enslaved people of african descent
indigenous people in florida and then european powers and then certainly one of the single largest drivers of the seminole warren conflict in florida is the presence of escaped american slaves seeking refuge amongst the seminole. you may be familiar with the term. black seminole. that was a term that began to get applied to people of african descent who had left the plantations in georgia in the carolinas primarily but alabama, mississippi and other areas as well are represented and so they're adopted in his black seminole is often what they were called today. there are still descendant communities across florida that that link themselves to this black seminole identity. jackson partly is in florida to break up this practice right to prevent the loss of enslaved workers in the united states by them fleeing into florida to return this property as he sees
it to their owners in the states and then certainly from 1821 at statehood and further once the territory is acquired by the united states. then slavery is simply going to continue all the way through its identity with the confederate states of america as well. but up until the point at which the united states has possession of florida. there are significant differences in the way that slavery is going to be practiced between the european powers and the united states and great britain and i'm gonna lump great britain in the united states together for the the purposes of this discussion. um for the spanish, they certainly do practice slavery in a chattel type situation with the us and great britain do but as i mentioned the predominance of the catholic religion also put some barriers around the practice of enslavement of indigenous and african descent peoples that if somebody had been enslaved brought to north
america converted to catholicism, then there was to be a change or it was assumed there was to be a change of some sort in the relationship between the slave owner and the enslaved person. amongst the seminal slavery is practice, but often as a condition of warfare it's the situation. it's the way to handle captives and warfare. it's the way for people to settle debts or obligations amongst themselves. it is not intended to be a channel form of slavery. it is not intended to be a race-based condition necessarily and it is not intended to be an inherited condition. it is not meant to be a multi-generational system of bondage and that is a complete 180 if you will from the way the united states and great britain are going to look at slavery in the region, too. i love the image that is on here this photograph shows a slate market. it's the last it's the oldest slave market in florida. this photo was taken about 1937
and it was still standing at that point and it's estimated build date was 1573 actually constructed by the royal decree of king philip the second change so slavery in florida is a combination or let me say it differently, florida. is a combination of many views about the enslavement of people. everything from slaves should be enslaved until they make a religious conversion, or they should only be enslaved if their own personal actions have warranted their their ownership by others as in like debts crimes committed that sort of thing and maybe it should have a race contingency to it. maybe it should have a channel contingency to it. so almost every way of looking at the application of the concepts of slavery as their practice around the world all find this intersection right here in florida in florida
territory that's going to cause it's going to fuel the fires. it's going to continue to feel these very arguments right because the united states of course is going to start arguing the end of the of the practice of enslavement at the end of the international importation great britain and europe are starting to lead the way towards the abolishment of slavery and the emancipation the universal information of slave so all of those thoughts and ideas all of that's going to into these arguments as well. so nancy if you'll go one more. and i'm seeing a few. sorry, okay. no, so i think well, i was just looking at our time. i think well, we'll conclude with our two examples about how this directly impacts the residents of residents of both the highland and i'm the hermitage. so once florida becomes, you know united states territory and we start seeing more plantations established there. this becomes an end to a means
for monroe. he finds himself in significant debt when he leaves office and we see a retired monroe writing to retired madison that he has sold his slaves and that county meaning albemarle or highland to colonel light of florida who will take them in families to that territory, and this is paying off a debt monroe to john jacob astor the dated back to the war of 1812. and so we have an image, you know of casa bianca plantation colonel the colonel white establishes. it was primarily a cotton plantation where enslaved family from highland will be sold in 1828 and one of our you know long-term questions have been what who were the names of the ensley people sold there and fortunately for us we had to independent researchers really a rule their sleeves up a tackle this question and there is now an entire website called take them in families referencing that letter that goes through
these 17 people that we have identified that were sold there as well as them their descendants all the way into the 21st century and here we see another panel from our exhibits where we play off that quote against one, but i'm harriet jacobs but at the bottom you see a photograph from our council of descendant advisors and to our, you know, just enormous delight. now i'm a member on that castle that is a direct descendant from the enslaved one of the ensley family soul to florida. so, you know at we're really pleased to see you know, these events of the 19th century making a full circle in the 21st century. and aaron has an example from the hermitage that she's going to share. sure. yeah, so i wanted to make sure that we had a chance to mention a man by the name of fernando. fernando has a really fascinating story the document that you see there to the right side of your screen was a letter
addressed to andrew jackson as you can see from a woman named catalina mir. satorius who lived in st. augustine and during before jackson enters the picture catalina sartorius and her family owned slaves in saint augustine. they lived in the saint augustine area. and over time catalina's children began to immigrate to the united states so they left florida behind and they moved to charleston, south carolina. there was an enslaved man owned by the satorius family that goes to charleston to live with john sartorius. who's the son of catalina? fernando despises his life in charleston, and i'm sure it's for all the reasons right? it's enslavement. he does not want to be enslaved. he finds an opportunity to escape and he does so he goes back to florida but instead of going back to his original owner to catalina satorios instead. he ends up fernando ends up
falling in with this band of british provocateurs and nancy referenced earlier arm brister and are both our booth notes. i think i'm saying that correctly and these british agents that are at work across the florida frontier essentially provoking the people of the region right? it's a lot of sort of gorilla activity that's happening fernando bowls in with this game. he is involved in the disrupt destruction of property. he is there's murders and and physical violence that are caused. it's unclear whether fernando himself is a murderer, but nevertheless and associate of this group of men when jackson comes into saint mark's, florida and ends up arresting armbruster and are both not and their colleagues and executing them without trial jackson doesn't even bother to put them on trial. he just executes them. this happens in bow legs town is it was called and when you look at the map of florida this you
can see where i've marked it in a blue star, but this is where i'm bow legs town as it was called. it was located and today it has been a lot. allocua, i think is the name of the community today. i can double check that all of a sudden it's gone out of my head, but it's the lq and you can see it's in the region of florida called the big bend, right? so it's where the panhandle begins to then curve into the peninsula. so you have the big bend area of florida here the image of the seminole man that you see is not fernando. this is billy bowlegs himself who for whom this town is named his family had been a multi-generational leadership of this community. okay, so this is bolex town jackson arrives in saint marks, he arrest them wrister and are with not executes them execute some of their associates. as he continues he spawning more these gangs. they just happen to be for the
most prominent example that people seem to remember throughout history. fernando was a member of one of these gangs. when jackson realizes that fernando is an enslaved man owned by the sartorius family of saint augustine jackson does not have fernando executed now, he doesn't do that because the sartorius is jackson. there's nothing about stories, but fernando is enslaved and jackson needs his services and fernanda was a blacksmith. he had worked as a carter and had a number of skills that were in demand by this army at this point and as the commanding officer of the us infantry in this region jackson has the power to common deer in slate to support the workings of the military. so fernanda was common here to us seven infantry. this is an 1818 in the early part of 18. win jackson's time in florida comes to an end in 1819 jackson returns to nashville comes home to the hermitage fernando is still with jackson and it's not
clear what it's unclear why he either doesn't go back to the sartorius's why jackson doesn't turn him over to this sartorius's but in any case he comes back to nashville. fernando is assigned a task to perform here at the hermitage plantation. he marries another jackson enslaved woman named sally they begin to have children. they have several children over the course of their life four years later. 1823 jackson has already completed his his brief term is territorial governor of florida. jackson is now turning his sights a little more back towards national office. he's gonna run for the senate. he's looking ahead towards the the presidential election of 1824. all of a sudden there is a crisis over fernando. where does he belong does he belong in florida? is he owned by jackson is he is he still owned by the sartorius's does the us army have a claim on fernando.
so there's this this sort of legal entanglement about where fernando belongs. so jackson in order to just sort of cut through all of that entanglement jackson just purchases fernando directly from catalina sartorius and in the letter that you see and sartorius in this sartorius is responding to jackson and they're laying out they're discussing the terms of the arrangement over this purchase. and catalina satorius is also providing jackson with a message to pass on to fernando in which she's basically scolding fernando for running away and just reminding him that his new owner. jackson is going to rule with a little bit more of an iron fist than she herself and her family has done and so fernando needs to remember this he needs to remember his place he needs to remember who his master isn't to serve him in an honorable way, right? so it's all this speech to fernando. so here's fernando living at the
hermitage married to sally fernando and sally begin to have children jackson purchases fernando so that his legal ownership is no longer in question and then the first thing jackson does is change fernando's name. he changes it to polidor. this is a question. we often post to our visitors and it's a question. we pose in a walking tour that we do about the enslaved here of the plantation and that is why would jackson change fernando's name? the man is a father and a husband. he is not a puppy from the pound right? you don't get to change somebody's name because you don't like the one they came with right? that's the naming of somebody is a very personal, you know affair and here's jackson just changing it seemingly. willy-nilly the word polydore is brief. and it means multi-talented you see the word polyure or
polyureth used a lot throughout greek and roman literature. you see it in european naming customs. this is also a course a period in which enslaved men are often given by their owners these classical sounding names right? you see lots of pompeii's and catos show up in inventories of enslaved men during the period so why is jackson changing polydor's name? and why does he change it to polidor? the best that we have been able to determine from the research available, is that what fernando is doing in florida is equal to what jackson has executed other men over right murder property destruction, gorilla violence intelligence gathering and passing. what jackson needs is a little plausible deniability? if somebody is to come back later if there is to be some sort of in international, you know, fewer or later that jackson is harboring a fugitive
right a man who has wreaked havoc on the people of spanish territory. it now gives jackson that plausible deniability. i don't know who this fernando is. my guy's name is polly door, right? it gives jackson away to provide just enough margin of space between himself and fernando's actions in florida that it cannot come back to be a political albatross for jackson and so going into the 1824 election here is fernando with a new name a new identity at a new life essentially. um, so for fernando representing kind of the status of enslaved people across florida, they are going to be used as ponds. we know this we know this from just the study of slavery in general that enslaved people are often that it is not uncommon for men of power to use slaves
in these pond like roles in these moments and for fernando jackson has the right pawn when it comes later to defending his actions in florida. so for jackson all of this is other peace of international acquisition of international territory that the defense of the united states the expansion of its economy the enshrinement and the practice that continuation of the institution of slavery which jackson never wants is going to ever question in any way fernando becomes this sort of one man's bird's eye look if you will one sort of one man's microcosm about what all of these issues kind of come to a head for there is a biography of fernando. that's currently in progress. it's being written by jane landers who's a professor at vanderbilt university here in nashville. she is approaching retirement. so i'm very hopeful that book is
nearing its completion. but as soon as it is complete better believe i will leave i will be the first one on the amazon pre-order list. nancy oh nancy, you're still on mute. parties. thank you so much aaron. that was i love learning that story when you were always received together and talking about this. i see that we have we have run over so apologies to everyone in the audience and we're gonna end just on this page. these were some sources erin and i found really helpful on this topic. she particularly consulted andrew jackson in florida in my case the seminole controversy revisited in the florida historical quarterly as well as tim mcgrath james monroe a life. he did a really fantastic job delving into this situation and really giving it life. so we we highly recommend either these three if you're interested
in more reading and if you are interested also in stop sharing if you i think we probably need to stop for the program tonight in terms of questions. but if you would like to have your questions answered if you do feel free to email us. i will put my email in the chat aaron if you would as well. thank you some sometimes i get started talking and i find it hard to stop so i do apologize for everybody. we're all i'm gonna put my email in do you feel free to just any person anything you yes. by three days we are so glad you came tonight. thank you for delving into this topic with us, and we hope we'll see you again at the