Restricted Debate Retrieved 25: The Ports of Secession: The Economics of Florida Ports in the Secession Crisis

USS ALASKA

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Rollins College
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Master of Liberal Studies Theses
2009

The Ports of Secession: The Economics of Florida Ports in the Secession Crisis
by Michael P. Robbins

This Open Access is brought to you for free and open access by Rollins Scholarship Online. It has been accepted for inclusion in Master of Liberal Studies Theses by an authorized administrator of Rollins Scholarship Online. For more information, please contact rwalton@rollins.edu.

From the moment of its admission to the Union in 1845, Florida's economy was structured around its numerous ports and the ability to ship resources to centers of production and commerce. The population of Florida reflected this reality. Most Floridians were part-timers, snowbirds who came south not for the enjoyable weather so much as the economic opportunities created by climate and peninsular
geography. During the peak season of December to April in the 1840s and 1850, the Gulf Coast's population swelled with the arrival of Northerners and foreigners seeking profit in Apalachicola, primarily in the cash crop industry of cotton. Down the coast in Tampa, the cattle industry was growing as local ranchers found markets in the Caribbean Sea. The ability to connect cotton and cattle with buyers was facilitated by Florida's approximately 1,800 mites of coastline and an expanding shipping industry.


Throughout its initial fifteen years of statehood, shipping defined the state's economy. During the winter months, non-southerners by birth far outnumbered the permanent or lifelong residents of the Florida Gulf-Coast. Though it was the southernmost state in the Union, it would have been a stretch to consider Florida truly a part of the South, either in demographics or culture. In the decades preceding the American Civil War, the state's centers of population were exclusively port cities inhabited by a regionally, nationally, and racially diverse lot. A lack of cohesive state identity made Florida less of an actor and more of an object in the conflict that was to come.

https://scholarship.rollins.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=mls
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WJC

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Interesting that even then Florida was a winter retreat for 'snowbirds'....
 



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