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Warring for AmericaCultural Contests in the Era of 1812$
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Nicole Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631516

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.001.0001

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The Radicalism of the First Seminole War and Its Consequences

The Radicalism of the First Seminole War and Its Consequences

Chapter:
(p.164) The Radicalism of the First Seminole War and Its Consequences
Source:
Warring for America
Author(s):

Nathaniel Millett

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.003.0005

“Re-thinking the First Seminole War” provides a major reconsideration of the First Seminole War from a number of vantage points. The essay argues that the conflict’s origins and course were shaped greatly by the actions of radical anti-slavery British officers (namely Edward Nicolls of the Royal Marines), freedom-seeking blacks, and their Indian allies. More specifically, the case is made that the key anti-American combatants in the conflict were hundreds of former slaves who had been recruited and radicalized by the British during the War of 1812 before being granted the status of full British subjects. Combining pre-existing notions of freedom and understanding of geopolitics, the former slaves embraced their British status while living at the so-called “Negro Fort” and then across the Florida peninsula after 1816. In turn, the racialized fears that were triggered within white Americans and their Creek allies by the First Seminole War were the final event that convinced the United States that it had to acquire Spanish Florida to protect the expanding slave frontier. In the process of making these arguments, the essay carefully considers: the anti-slavery thought of Edward Nicolls and its reception by the former slaves, questions of identity, race, and inclusion, the shadow of the Haitian Revolution, and the nature of American territorial expansion.

Keywords:   First Seminole War, Seminoles, Red Sticks, Edward Nicolls, antislavery radicalism, Negro Fort, Creek, Prospect Bluff

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