A Sovereign and Independent Nation
Florida, a territory acquired by the United States through an 1819 Treaty with Spain, began its move toward Statehood in the late 1830’s. The preamble to its 1838 Constitution agreed with the United States Congress of Florida being a free and independent State, and qualified to voluntarily become a State within the 1789 Constitution’s confederation of States. Florida’s legislature ratified the document and joined that confederation on March 3, 1845.
On January 10, 1861, the State of Florida withdrew from that confederation which it determined to be a threat to the peace and prosperity of the State. As the new Southern confederation of States did not yet exist, the legislature in Tallahassee declared Florida to be “a sovereign and independent and nation.”
In part, the withdrawal from the 1789 confederation is as follows:
“We, the people of the State of Florida in convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and declare that the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing government of the said States; and that all political connection between her and the government of said States ought to be and the same is hereby totally annulled, and the said Union of States dissolved, and the State of Florida hereby declared a sovereign and independent nation . . .”
(The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, William W. Watson, Columbia University, 1913, pg. 64)