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Growth and Development

Florida in a New Era
Florida Secedes
The Civil War
Battles in Florida
Reconstruction
Radical Reconstruction
A Changing Economy
Growth of Industry
The Citrus Industry
Other Industries Develop
Railroads and Economic Growth
Communities Develop and Grow
The Spanish-American War
Florida and World War I


Florida in a New Era
By 1860 Florida had a population of 140,000 and was growing, but only Delaware among the states had a smaller population. Florida's largest county, Leon, had only 12,343 people. The state's economy was based on crops and cattle. Most Floridians worked on farms. Half of those farms were small, with less than 20 acres. Almost half of all Floridians, about 62,000, were enslaved people.

Florida cotton plantations were located mostly in Middle Florida. The counties of Middle Florida—Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, and Madison—produced most of the 65,000 cotton bales Florida produced in 1860. Because of their economic power, the planters were an important political force. The planters had the most to lose if slavery were outlawed because most of Florida's enslaved people worked on plantations in this region. The planters led the opposition in the state to the Republican Party and its antislavery policies.


Florida Secedes
After Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Florida held a special convention to decide whether or not to secede, or withdraw, from the United States. On January 10, 1861, the delegates voted 62 to 7 to secede. Florida was the third state to leave the Union. A few weeks later, Florida joined the other Southern states to form the Confederate States of America. In April the Civil War began. Many Floridians enlisted to fight. An estimated 15,000 Floridians fought on the Confederate side, and about 2,500 men—both white Floridians and freed slaves—enlisted on the Union side.

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The Civil War

Battle of Olustee

When the Civil War began, neither the Union leaders nor the Confederate leaders regarded Florida as strategically important. Florida had a small population, little industry, and was isolated from the other states of the Confederacy. As the war progressed, Florida became one of the Confederacy's important suppliers. Florida supplied cattle for beef to the Confederate army. The Confederate Cow Cavalry drove perhaps as many as 15,000 head of cattle from south Florida to help feed the Confederate army. Florida's farms and plantations supplied cotton, pork, and vegetables. Salt work plants at Apalachee Bay and St. Andrews and at other sites along the coast produced much-needed salt. Salt was important because it was used to keep meat from spoiling in the days before refrigeration.

The Union controlled Jacksonville throughout the war and some coastal towns and several forts, including Fort Taylor in Key West, Fort Pickens in Pensacola, and Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. The interior of Florida, however, remained under Confederate control. The capital, Tallahassee, was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi River that did not fall into Union hands during the Civil War.

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Battles in Florida
In 1864, 5,500 Union soldiers advanced toward Tallahassee. Meanwhile, Confederate general Joseph Finegan positioned his 5,200 troops at Olustee Station, located about 13 miles east of Lake City. On February 20, the two armies fought a furious battle. Nearly 2,000 Union soldiers and 1,000 Confederate soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured. The Battle of Olustee, also known as Ocean Pond, stopped the Union advance. The Union army was forced to retreat to Jacksonville.

Confederate forces were also victorious at the Battle of Natural Bridge. In March 1865, Union army and naval forces landed near St. Mark's Lighthouse and prepared to move inland to take St. Marks, and then march on to Tallahassee. A messenger warned the citizens of Tallahassee about the dangers, and townspeople began constructing Fort Houston. Young and old men volunteered to defend the capitol. Meeting at Natural Bridge, the Confederate soldiers turned back the veteran Union forces.

A few weeks later, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate forces surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The Civil War was over.

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Reconstruction
The war for Southern independence had failed, and the cost had been great. Many people had died. The nation faced the challenge of Reconstruction—the reorganization and rebuilding of the Southern states.

President Lincoln's plans for Reconstruction called for leniency toward the South and a quick reconciliation. Radical Republicans in Congress, however, wanted more influence in rebuilding the South.

For newly freed African Americans and refugees, the Freedmen's Bureau offered federal assistance to help them adjust to their new lives. After Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, President Johnson introduced a restoration plan similar to Lincoln's moderate policy. Radical Republicans opposed the plan, however, when former Confederate leaders were elected to Congress. The new Southern legislatures also passed laws known as black codes limiting the rights of African Americans.

The codes of Florida limited many rights of African Americans. The laws also enforced separation of the races, or segregation. Penalties were set for

"any person of color … who shall intrude himself into any religious or other public assembly of white persons or into any railroad-car or other vehicle set apart for the accommodation of white persons."

Florida also required that all citizens registering to vote pay a poll tax of $3. Most poor African Americans could not vote because they could not afford to pay. A poll tax would remain part of Florida law until 1937.

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Radical Reconstruction
When Republicans gained control of the U.S. Congress, they divided the former Confederacy into military districts and broadened the rights of freed people. The Radical Republicans also passed laws to punish the former Confederates. They took away their citizenship and did not allow them to hold public office.

African Americans enjoyed a period when they were allowed to vote and take part in the political process. At the end of the Civil War, African Americans voted in the local election in Fernandina. In the 1870s, Josiah T. Walls was elected to Congress and Jonathan C. Gibbs supervised Florida's public school system. Legislators worked with Governor Ossian B. Hart to protect civil rights, improve opportunities for education, and reform state and local government.

Federal troops were still stationed in Florida in 1876. However, in 1877, Democrats struck a deal with Republicans in Congress to pull federal troops out of the South. The collapse of Reconstruction left Florida's African Americans with little voice in their government.

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A Changing Economy
The period of Reconstruction was a difficult time for the people of Florida. Plantation owners who had depended for so long on the free labor of enslaved people found themselves without workers. The newly freed enslaved people did not own land or have jobs. Many African Americans returned to the plantations to work as sharecroppers. Many poor white Floridians also worked as sharecroppers. Under sharecropping, the workers rented land from the plantation owner and gave the owner a share of the crops.

Growth of Industry
Because Florida had not suffered widespread damage, the state was able to ship supplies to other states for rebuilding. The port cities of Jacksonville and Pensacola prospered because of strong demand for lumber and forest products. The sap from Florida's abundant pine trees was used to make turpentine. Wood from cedar trees was used to build furniture and make pencils. The leading pencil manufacturer was the Faber Pencil Company located on the Gulf island of Cedar Key. The island supported thriving lumber and seafood harvesting industries. The industries declined when the cedar trees grew scarce and a hurricane in 1896 destroyed businesses and homes.

Cattle ranching remained an important industry in central Florida after the Civil War. Ranch hands drove the cattle to ports. Today, Florida still has many cattle ranches and there are nearly 2 million beef and dairy cattle in the state. Osceola County leads the state in beef production.

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The Citrus Industry

St. Augustine

Other industries flourished as well in the 1800s. Early Spanish settlers had planted the first orange trees around Saint Augustine. Cultivation of the first orange groves began in 1821. A few years later, French settlers planted the first grapefruit groves near Tampa. Florida's sandy soil and subtropical climate provided fertile ground for growing citrus.

Citrus production and sales grew tremendously. Annual production grew from 1 million boxes in the late 1860s to more than 5 million boxes by 1893. Improved transportation systems helped reach new markets in the northeastern United States.

Citrus production suffered setbacks, however. The Great Freeze of 1894–1895 ruined many of the groves in north and central Florida. As a result, many growers moved to locations farther south that were unaffected by the freeze.

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Other Industries Develop
Another important industry was the harvesting of sponges growing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Sponge businesses grew in Tarpon Springs. Soon, the sponge became the community's most important industry. For many years, the harvesting of sponges was one of Florida's most profitable industries.

In 1885, Don Vincente Martinez Ybor brought cigar making to Tampa. Cigar factories flourished in the part of Tampa called Ybor City. The booming industry attracted Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and German immigrants to work in the area's thriving factories. In 1880 Tampa was a small village of 720 people. By 1900 the city had grown to 15,839. Nearly 4,000 Cubans resided in Ybor City and the surrounding area, providing the workforce and the skill to build the city's cigar industry. The discovery of phosphate east of Tampa in 1886 also helped the area grow. Phosphate is an important ingredient in fertilizer, and was transported throughout the United States and Europe. Also fueling the economic growth was the construction of new railroad lines.

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Railroads and Economic Growth
Henry Plant created the first major transportation system in the Southeast. Henry Plant's rails pushed south from Jacksonville along the St. Johns River to Sanford, then southwest through Orlando to Tampa. He operated a chain of luxury hotels that transformed the west coast of Florida into a tourist center. The railways stimulated the movement of business and tourists into the region. The Jacksonville Times-Union noted in 1899 that

"The coming of Mr. Plant to the Southern states marked the opening of Florida-as a tourist resort."


Florida's Panhandle relied on river transportation, which only flowed south. To help its lumber and farming industries transport supplies to other areas, the Panhandle needed a railway system that ran east to west. In 1874, William Chipley received a charter to build the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad across west Florida to Apalachicola. By 1881 workers were extending the railroad farther east. Service from Pensacola to Jacksonville began in the spring of 1883.

New York-born Henry Flagler had gained great wealth through his partnership with John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil. Beginning in St. Augustine, Flagler built new hotels and railroads and purchased and upgraded existing ones. Every few years, Flagler extended his railroad farther south to Rockledge in 1893 and to Fort Pierce, Palm Beach, and West Palm Beach a year later.

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Communities Develop and Grow
Farther south along the east coast, small communities were growing along Biscayne Bay. Julia Tuttle moved to the area in 1892 from Cleveland, Ohio, and purchased land along the Miami River near a settlement called Coconut Grove. She was certain that this settlement would someday become a great city. She urged Flagler to extend his railroad south to the region. At first, Flagler was not interested. Then an act of nature changed his mind.

During the winter of 1894–1895, a series of terrible freezes wiped out Florida's citrus crops in north and central Florida. The freezes did not strike the area around Coconut Grove. Flagler decided to extend the railroad there. Flagler's railway to the settlement, now called Miami, opened in 1896, and the city was incorporated that same year. Many citrus growers from northern Florida moved to the area and began planting small orange groves.

The railroads helped the citrus industry grow. It was now possible to pick oranges in south Florida, ship them on a railway heading north, and place them in groceries in Northern cities in less than a week. By 1915, citrus production reached 10 million boxes.

Then in 1905, Flagler proposed to build a railroad 150 miles from Miami to Key West—much of it over open water. The line would allow tourists to travel to Key West and to Cuba quickly and easily. Flagler believed that Key West would become the nation's main port along the Atlantic seaboard. Florida's governor, Albert Gilchrist, said that

"The building of this great oversea railroad is of nationwide importance, second in importance only to the construction of the Panama Canal."

The project was hazardous. Hurricanes struck the area three times during construction. The worst hurricane struck the area in October 1906 and killed 125 workers.

The extension of the Florida East Coast Railway from Miami to Key West was completed in 1912. The new line opened up a new region, which by 1925, had become one of the chief citrus-growing areas of Florida.

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The Spanish-American War
Cuba was one of Spain's oldest colonies in the Americas. Its sugarcane plantations generated great wealth for Spain. Spanish rule in Cuba had become increasingly harsh, and the Cuban people tried to win their independence many times. Cuban rebel leader Jose Martí launched a new rebellion in 1895. Martí and many Cuban leaders traveled to Florida to gain support for their cause. They visited Cuban communities in Florida. Many Americans openly supported the rebels. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, who later served as governor of Florida, made many trips to Cuba on his ship to carry supplies to Cuban forces. Some U.S. citizens compared the Cubans' struggle to the American Revolution.

Then on February 15, 1898, the USS Maine, anchored in Havana harbor, exploded, killing 266 sailors. Many Americans blamed the explosion on Spain. Within a matter of weeks, Spain and the United States were at war.

When the war broke out, Florida became the center of military activity. The cities of Tampa, Jacksonville, Fernandina, Lakeland, Pensacola, Key West, and Miami were used as military training camps. Tampa served as the main port for American forces on their way to Cuba. By the war's end, more than 65,000 troops had passed through Tampa's ports. More than 12,000 railroad freight cars entered Tampa to deliver food, medical supplies, and ammunition for the expedition to Cuba.

William D. Bloxham was the governor of Florida during the war. He worked with military officials to organize transportation and help set up the camps.


Florida and World War I
The United States reluctantly entered World War I in 1917 after German submarines violated American neutrality. The war helped the state's economy. Florida farmers provided food to feed the nation. Jacksonville and Tampa were important shipbuilding centers. Florida provided training grounds for soldiers and sailors, and Florida's ports served as naval bases.

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McGraw-Hill/Glencoe
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