Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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FLORIDA, a state of American Union, formed from the Florida Purchase. (See ANNEXATIONS, II.) East and West Florida were united into the territory of Florida by act of March 30,1822. Several efforts were made by the people of the territory to induce congress to separate it again into East and West Florida, but without success. No enabling act was passed, but a convention of delegates, Jan.11, 1839, "having and claiming the right of admission to the Union" formed "a free and independent state, by the name of the state of Florida". No boundaries were assigned by the state constitution, or by the act of admission, both referring for particulars to the treaty of February 22, 1819; but that treaty merely described the ceded district as "the territories eastward of the Mississippi, known by the name of East and West Florida." and this vagueness of description gave rise to disputes with Georgia and Alabama as to the boundary line, which were not settled for some years.


—The constitution was in the usual form. The governor was to hold office for four years, and to be ineligible for four years thereafter. The capital was to be Tallahassee. The legislature was forbidden to emancipate slaves, or to prevent immigrants into the state from bringing slaves with them. Under this constitution the state was admitted by act of March 3, 1845, Iowa being admitted by the same act.


—In politics, national and state, Florida was whig by a small majority until 1852, when the democrats elected the governor and congressman by a close vote, 4,628 to 4,336 for governor. The remnant of the whig minority in 1856 took the name of the American party, but in 1858 this also disappeared, and but one party, the democratic, existed in the state. Jan.10,1861, a state convention passed an ordinance of secession by a vote of 62 to 7, and Feb.4 the delegates from Florida took part in the first meeting of the congress of the confederate states. After 1863 Florida was left to its own defense by the confederate government; at the close of the rebellion it came early under control of the federal authorities. July 13, 1865, President Johnson appointed a provisional governor, who called a state convention for October 25. This body "annulled" the ordinance of secession, Oct.28, and adopted a new constitution, Nov.7, which declared the abolition of slavery "by the government of the United States" limited the right of suffrage and the right to sit on juries to white persons, and defined the state boundaries as follows: "Beginning at the mouth of the river Perdido; thence up the middle of that river to the boundary of Alabama, in latitude 31° north; thence due east to the Chattahoochee river; thence down the middle of that river to the Flint river; thence straight to the head of the St. Mary's river; thence down the middle of that river to the Atlantic ocean; thence southwardly to the gulf of Florida and gulf of Mexico; thence northwardly and westwardly, including all islands within five leagues of the shore, to the beginning" The convention, by ordinance, repudiated the state debt incurred during the rebellion. Under this constitution an election for state officers and congressmen was held Nov. 29, a legislature was organized Dec. 18, and Jan. 16, 1866, the president relived the provisional governor. The state remained under its own authorities until the passage of the reconstruction act of March 2, 1867, when it became part of the third military district commanded by Maj. Gen. Pope, Col. Sprague having command of the sub-district of Florida. Under this régime a state convention adopted a constitution Feb. 25, 1868, which was ratified by popular vote, May 4-6, state officers being chosen at the same time to hold until January, 1873. As the new constitution conformed in all respects to the act of congress(See RECONSTRUCTION), and as the new legislature, in June, 1868 ratified the 14th amendment, Florida was recognized as a state by act of June 25, 1868. From this time the state remained under republican control until 1876, when the state government became democratic. This election was claimed "on the face of the returns" by both parties, a and the truth will probably never be known. Outside of Baker country the returns made both parties almost exactly equal. From Baker country two returns were received, one being 143 rep., 238 dem.(95 dem. maj.), and the other, in which some precincts were cast out, 130 rep., 89dem.(41 rep. maj.). The returning board finally took the latter, making 42 rep. maj. in the state. (For the electoral vote of the same year see ELECTORAL COMMISSION, I.). The state has since been democratic; though the majority is small and is liable to be reversed by immigration.


—Considerable desire has always been shown in West Florida for annexation to Alabama, and in 1869 Alabama offered Florida $1,000,000 as the price of her consent to the proposed annexation. A popular vote upon the question was ordered in West Florida by the governor in that year, and showed a majority in favour of such annexation, but no further steps were taken in the matter.


—The name of the state was first given to the entire territory by its discoverer, Ponce de Leon, in 1572, from the Spanish name of the day on which it was discovered, Pascua Florida.(Easter Sunday).


—GOVERNORS. Wm. D. Moseley(1845-9). Thos. Brown(1849-53). Jas E. Broome(1853-7), Madison S. Perry (1857-61), John Milton (1861-5), Wm . Marvin (provisional) 1865. David S. Walker (1866-8), Harrison Reed (1868-73), Ossian B. Hart(1873-7), Marcellus B. Stearns(acting-governor)1876, George F. Drew(1877-81), Wm. D. Bloxham(1881-3).


—See French's Historical Memoirs of Lousiana and Florida; Fairbanks' History of Florida; Adams' Florida; Lanier's Florida; Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia, 1861-80; Tribune Almanac. 1838-81. The act of March 3, 1845, admitting Florida, is in 5 Stat, at Large, 742.


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