The Patriot Constitution of 1812
In March 1812, a group of Georgia settlers known as the Patriot Army invaded Spanish East Florida with de facto support from the United States Government. They had hoped to convince the Spanish colonists to join them and declare Florida’s independence from Spain. The attempt ultimately failed, but during the Patriot Army’s temporary control of Fernandina, the group’s leaders drew up this constitution and formed a government for what they called the Republic of East Florida.
The people of East Florida took up arms against a government whose Territories in both Hemispheres could no longer afford that protection, without which allegiance cannot be claimed without enumerating the many impolitic and oppressive laws and acts of the Spanish Government, which the unhappy man living under it, only can be familiar with, and which in tyrants, the one in the character of Governor with brutal violence and the other in that of Judge with the most shocking corruption, latterly enforced upon us, we have discovered in order that our degradation might be complete, that we have been offered with our Country for sale, to both the Great Beligerents