Monday, August 12, 2013

secret war discovered

For several years now, I have prided myself on my list of 20 authorizations of force passed by Congress, only five of which were declarations of war. Another five were what I called contingent authorizations of force, which included the two conflicts with Iraq.

Now as part of my summer reading, I've been reading more on early 19th century disputes, and I discover, in an interesting book about that period, that in January, 1811 Congress specifically authorized President Madison to seize East Florida from Spain.

From an online source:
On January 15, 1811, Congress gave its approval for an act to “enable the president of the United States, under certain contingencies, to take possession of the country lying east of the river Perdido, and south of the State of Georgia and the Mississippi Territory, and for other purposes.”
The President was given several powers in accordance with the bill: 1) To employ the military for the purpose of controlling the province if it became necessary 2) To appropriate 100,000 dollars for the necessary expenses of coveting the territory 3) To establish a temporary government over the territory in the process. 
To my chagrin, I had missed this. Nor is included in the Library of Congress' wonderful database of debates, laws, and state papers from the Continental Congress through 1876. So I dashed to the library and found a reference to a 1918 publication by the State Department with all the declassified material.

I missed this, I think, because the military operation was later called off. It's a war that didn't take place. But in 1818 Andrew Jackson invaded Florida in a reprisal raid authorized by President Monroe ostensibly to protect U.S. citizens from Seminole Indians, and Spain agreed a year later to cede Florida to the United States.

Sorry about that....  I hope there aren't any others I missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment