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U.S.-Spanish relations were extremely strained because justifiably believed that the American support for the independence struggles of Spanish-American colonies was an overt attempt to seize Florida. The situation became even more critical when General Andrew Jackson thrust into Florida resulted in the seizure of the Spanish forts at Pensacola and St. Marks in his 1818. Additionally, he drove further into Florida when he sought to kill Seminoles and escaped slaves who he viewed as a threat to Georgia. Jackson even executed two British citizens on charges of inciting the Indians and runaways.
Monroe’s government seriously considered denouncing Jackson’s actions, but Adams defended the Jackson citing the necessity to restrain the Indians and escaped slaves since the Spanish failed to do so. Adams also sensed that Jackson’s Seminole campaign was popular with Americans and it strengthened his diplomatic hand with Spain. Adams used Jackson’s military action to present Spain with a demand to either control the inhabitants of East Florida or cede it to the United States.