The Rogue Republic

How Would-Be Patriots Waged the Shortest Revolution in American History
The Rogue Republic: How Would-Be Patriots Waged the Shortest Revolution in American History. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2011. c.416p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780151009251. $28. HIST
Davis (history, Virginia Tech) tells the compelling story of a series of early 19th-century rebellions over sovereignty and the short-lived West Florida Republic of 1810. After the American Revolution, England ceded its Florida territories to Spain, which retained sovereignty even as massive adjacent lands became American after the Louisiana Purchase. Rabble-rousers such as Samuel and Reuben Kemper took advantage of the uncertain political, economic, and cultural climate that resulted from competing and multiple territorial transfers to lead violent but unsuccessful rebellions with questionable aims. Then a more organized and politically motivated, almost bloodless rebellion led to the establishment of an independent West Florida Republic that lasted fewer than three months, with President Madison stepping in and absorbing the region into America.
VERDICT Well written and deeply researched as this is, further exploration into the intentions and actions of Presidents Jefferson and Madison and the larger context of American expansionism would have made for an even more comprehensive and important book. A dense and detailed work of scholarship, not for lay readers, but for students of the region's history.

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