James Monroe's Presidency Questions and Answers

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What did President Monroe order Andrew Jackson to do in 1818?

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In 1818, President James Monroe ordered General Andrew Jackson to pursue the Seminole Indians deeper into the territory of Florida in what came to be known as the First Seminole War. In autumn of the previous year, Jackson began his attempt to subdue the Seminoles, but this resulted in devastating counterattacks in which the Seminoles destroyed several American settlements.

In March of 1818, President Monroe instructed Jackson to enter Spanish territory to stamp out the Seminole opposition once and for all. Jackson took about 4,000 soldiers, including many allied Native warriors, with him and marched as far as Anhaica (Tallahassee), which he burned to the ground. He then continued on to Micosukee, a native village, which he also thoroughly destroyed.

Monroe argued that taking the fight against the Seminoles into Spanish territory was justified since the Spanish had effectively lost control of the Native inhabitants there. Monroe saw the inability or unwillingness of the Spanish colonial authorities to reign in the Seminoles as a direct threat to American interests. Consequently, he ordered General Jackson to also take the Spanish fort in what later became St. Marks and to occupy the town of Pensacola. These actions helped persuade Spain to cede the territory of Florida to the United States the following year.

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