In preparation for the Floridian bicentennial of the Constitution in October, 2012, FIU Law Professor M.C. Mirow has published Florida’s First Constitution: The Constitution of Cádiz (Carolina Academic Press, 2012). Along with an introductory essay describing the importance of the Constitution in Florida and the Spanish Empire, Mirow provides a fresh and authoritative translation of the text into English along with original version in Spanish.
Over thirty years before Florida became a state of the United States, the Spanish provinces of East and West Florida were subject to a remarkable document known as the Constitution of Cádiz, or the Spanish Constitution of 1812 which celebrates its bicentennial this year. This Constitution ruled cities such as St. Augustine, Pensacola, and Fernandina (now Fernandina Beach) from 1812 to 1815 and from 1820 until 1821 when Florida was turned over to the United States under the Adams-Onís Treaty. The Constitution provided for a limited monarchy in the Spanish crown and Roman Catholicism as the state religion. It also created a large system of representative government at the local levels and for electing deputies to the Spanish legislature, even from the Americas. It provided for the division of governmental power into three branches, ensured the freedom of the press, and protected civil liberty, property, and other rights. A truly transatlantic constitution, this document describes the Spanish Nation as composed of Spaniards of both hemispheres.
M.C. Mirow has been working on various aspects of the Constitution of Cádiz for years and was awarded a Fulbright as a Visiting Professor to Valparaíso, Chile, in 2009 where he undertook some of the work on this project. He has lectured or is scheduled to lecture on the Constitution of Cádiz in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Peru, and Spain. In August, Mirow will publish a detailed law review article dealing with the history of Constitution of Cádiz in Florida, its promulgation, and the surviving monument to the Constitution in St. Augustine as The Constitution of Cádiz in Florida, forthcoming in volume 24 of the Florida Journal of International Law.