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Tropic of HopesCalifornia, Florida, and the Selling of American Paradise, 1869-1929$
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Henry Knight

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044811

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044811.001.0001

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“New Edens of the Saxon Home-Seeker”

“New Edens of the Saxon Home-Seeker”

Los Angeles, Miami, and Semi-Tropical Urban Life

(p.155) 5 “New Edens of the Saxon Home-Seeker”
Tropic of Hopes

Henry Knight

University Press of Florida

This chapter focuses on how, into the twentieth century, cities and city life became increasingly prominent in the selling of Southern California and peninsular Florida, with Los Angeles and Miami emerging as iconic destinations within the semi-tropical states. The pair became the most widely promoted cities in Southern California and peninsular Florida with active chambers of commerce, employed semi-tropical metaphors throughout, and influenced one another in significant ways: in particular, the success of Los Angeles saw it become a model of inspiration for Miami boosters. While Los Angeles was a more spatially expansive city with a broader industrial base, both cities were imagined as near-tropical entities that were environmentally and socially different from and preferable to the industrial metropolises of the North and Midwest, replacing the latter's factory smoke, crowded streets, and fierce material struggle, with home-owning neighborhoods, pleasant avenues, and outdoor existences. Dependent on policies of racial exclusion and class stratification, from Mexican manual labor in Los Angeles to Jim Crow segregation in Miami, the selling of Los Angeles and Miami represented culminations in America's tropic of hopes: urban destinations were uplifting leisure and enterprising labor would together produce renewed Anglo-American communities.

Keywords:   Cities, Los Angeles, Miami, Anglo-Americans, Jim Crow, Urban Living

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