Translating into Stone: The Monument to the Constitution of Cadiz in Saint Augustine, Florida
In Translations in Times of Disruption: An Interdisciplinary Study in Transnational Contexts 101-117 (David Hook and Graciela Iglesias-Rogers, eds., London: Palgrave Macmillan). DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-58334-5_5; ISBN 978-1-137-58334-5
Posted: 18 Oct 2017
Date Written: 2017
St. Augustine, Florida, most likely has the only surviving monument to the Constitution of Cádiz erected during the first promulgation of the Constitution in the Spanish Empire. Constructed in 1813 and 1814, the monument was the most expensive public work in the city, then the capital of the Spanish province of East Florida. The monument was highly successful attempt to translate the Constitution into stone as a way of marking this city’s constitutional and imperial compliance. The chapter addresses the monument’s construction, projection, and unusual survival through constitutional and absolutist periods. The origin of the Masonic square and compass on one tablet of the monument continues as a topic of debate. When the region became a territory of the United States in 1821, it is likely that the subject of the monument was easily shifted from the Constitution of Cádiz to the United States Constitution. This chapter addresses the monument's history and symbolism as well as the political conflicts that led to its construction. Minutes of the proceedings of the city council (cabildo constitucional) reveal that the monument was just one part of an attempt to establish an entrenched constitutional regime in the city and region. Leaders of the community worked swiftly to create required constitutional institutions, and a deputy was selected and sent to Cádiz in 1813 to represent the interests of St. Augustine.
Keywords: Constitution of Cadiz, Spanish Constitution of 1812, East Florida, St. Augustine, Monument, Freemasonry
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation