Seminole Wars Foreshadowing The American Civil War

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2nd Lieutenant
Apr 30, 2012
Jupiter, FL
The Seminole Wars (1812-1858) in Florida can be considered one of the prologues to the American Civil War. One of the driving forces behind Seminole removal was the Southern desire to ensure they would not be around to harbor fugitive slaves. Numerous future Union and Confederate officers served in Florida during the Second and Third Seminole Wars.

Today while reading James Covington's The Seminoles of Florida (UF Press, 1993) a quote from a newspaper caught my attention, for the sentence I have bolded:

Last fall, 1500 troops were sent [to Florida] against Indians to coax 130 assassins to give up 5 of [their] number and used 2 months to deliberate. Nine months time was wasted. Millions of dollars to bribe 70-80 old me, women, and children, and three murderers out of Florida. The murderers are set free in the west. We can expect nothing from a Federal goverment committed to peaceful removal and [look] only to our state legislature. Florida Indians should be outlawed and a rewarded of $1000 for a man dead or alive and $500 for a live woman and child. Thus, people could still hunt them... Soldiers are not worth $7 per month. We need thousands of...hunters.
-St. Augustine Ancient City newspaper (June 10, 1852) [quoted in Covington, 121-122]​

A few pages later (Covington, 127) something else caught my eye:

In August 1854 Secretary of War Jefferson Davis decided upon a program that forced Seminoles to make a show of resistance and bring about the final conflict. Features of the plan, which was detailed in a letter sent to Sen. Stephen Mallory [FL-D], stipulated the imposition of a trade embargo, the survey and sale of land in southern Florida, and increased military presence to protect the settlers. Davis concluded by stating that if the Seminoles did not present themselves for removal, the military would use force.​

This made me wonder if Jeff Davis' decisions as Secretary of War leading to the Third Seminole War foreshadow his decisions as CSA president leading up to Fort Sumter and the American Civil War.

Just a few tidbits I thought I'd share.
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