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From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State RepublicansFlorida and Its Politics since 1940$
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David R. Colburn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044859

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044859.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 14 July 2020

From Darkness to Sunshine

From Darkness to Sunshine

World War II, Race, and the Emergence of Modern Florida

(p.13) 1 From Darkness to Sunshine
From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans

David R. Colburn

University Press of Florida

This chapter describes the reasons for Florida's historic commitment to the Democratic Party and how that loyalty lasted up to World War II. The Civil War and the events of Reconstruction positioned Florida, like the South, solidly in the Democratic-fold. That relationship was strengthened further under the leadership of Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the programs of the New Deal. It was the New Deal that provided Floridians with their only relief from a crippling Depression that devastated the state for 14 long years. After World War II, Florida's leaders pursued tourism, population growth, and modernization in an effort to avoid a return to the crippling effects of the Great Depression. The postwar population and economic expansion brought prosperity to the state, but it also triggered a confrontation between natives and newcomers over whose political and cultural values would direct the state's modernization. That confrontation defined the 1950s and led to a political free-for-all in which natives blocked school desegregation, refused to reapportion the state, and blocked redistricting of the legislature. The outcome of this clash remained unresolved at the end of the decade of the 1950s and so did Florida's future.

Keywords:   Depression, FDR, New Deal, World War II, modernization, population growth, economic expansion, segregation, redistricting, reapportionment

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