The little-known story of the West Florida Revolt: “One rollicking good book.” —Jay Winik
When Britain ceded the territory of West Florida—what is now Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida—to Spain in 1783, America was still too young to confidently fight in one of Europe’s endless territorial contests. So it was left to the settlers, bristling at Spanish misrule, to establish a foothold in the area.
Enter the Kemper brothers, whose vigilante justice culminated in a small band of American residents drafting a constitution and establishing a new government. By the time President Madison sent troops to occupy the territory, assert US authority under the Louisiana Purchase, and restore order, West Florida’s settlers had already announced their independence, becoming our country’s shortest-lived rogue “republic.”
Meticulously researched and populated with some of American history’s most colorful and little-known characters, this is the story of a young country testing its power on the global stage, as well as an examination of how the frontier spirit came to define the nation’s character. The Rogue Republic
shows how hardscrabble frontiersmen and gentleman farmers planted the seeds of civil war, marked the dawn of Manifest Destiny, and laid the groundwork for the American empire.
“A significant study of an obscure but highly revealing moment in American history . . . Not only does Davis cast a bright light into these murky corners of our national past, he does so with a grace and clarity equal to the best historical writing today.” —Kirkus Reviews,
“A well-documented account of ‘America’s second and smallest rebellion,’ led by a simple storekeeper named Reuben Kemper . . . Davis tells this story with nuance and panache.” —Publishers Weekly