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.
Of Europe, patience and submission yielded to the duties we owed ourselves and on posterity, we declared ourselves free and independent and we have driven on oppressors with their mercenaries within the walls of the Theatre of their vile acts and over the dungeons of their wretched victims. We acknowledge with grateful hearts the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe for the mercies already afforded us, and we hope through his providence shortly to become a territory and a component part of the Government of the United States, but until it can become in pride and boast to feel