"David Colburn and Lance deHaven-Smith have long been two of Florida’s most respected and insightful political commentators, so it comes as no surprise that they have authored such an interesting and eminently readable analysis of the Sunshine State’s dynamic political history and culture. [They] powerfully demonstrate how Florida’s eclectic mix of people, ideas, economic activities, and environmental treasures gives us a preview of the challenges and opportunities that the United States will confront in the 21st century."--Bob Graham, U.S. Senator
From the foreword:
"I strongly encourage all citizens to read this important book so that they will understand how Florida’s history has shaped its current political environment and helped determine the issues that are crucial to the state’s development. . . . This wonderful book provides a starting point for Floridians to recommit themselves to the American experiment."—Governor Reubin O’D. Askew
"The general public will join Florida historians in welcoming this succinct and artfully told story of Florida’s state, county, and municipal governments since statehood in 1845. The authors, who are among the most accomplished scholars in their field, have taken a complex historical chronology and organized it into easy-to-grasp central themes. As a result, the reader readily understands that this is not a fact and date-ridden textbook but an attractive, fast-moving narrative garnished with pithy insights, unusual juxtapositions, and unexpected wit. The amount of information here is impressive, but political science in Florida has rarely been rendered so palatable. Savor it!"—Michael Gannon, author of Florida: A Short History
Whether new to Florida or a rare native, you probably find the state’s government confusing, if not downright mystifying—the role of southern politics in a state that seems so unsouthern bewilders more than a few newcomers. In this lively introduction to Florida's political history, David Colburn and Lance deHaven-Smith explain the evolution of Florida’s government, and the forces that affected that evolution, from 1845 to the present.
Florida’s heritage has been shaped by Native American and Spanish roots, colonial ties to Great Britain, a Deep South culture marked by racial strife and the Civil War, and, most recently, economic and immigration dynamics that link it to the Sunbelt States, the Caribbean, and South America. These richly diverse ethnic, racial, and regional influences combine to make Florida politics complex, contradictory, occasionally bizarre, but seldom dull.
Addressing how all this diversity has shaped government, and what it means for the 21st century, the authors offer a concise, readable history of Florida’s political development over the last 150 years and of the issues facing the state today--information essential to all Floridians, including new voters, new residents, and newly elected officials, as well as seasoned political observers.
David R. Colburn is professor of history and director of the Reubin O'D. Askew Institute on Politics and Society at the University of Florida. He is the coeditor of The African American Heritage of Florida (UPF, 1995), author of Racial Change and Community Crisis: St. Augustine, Florida, 1877-1980 (UPF, 1991), and coauthor of Florida's Gubernatorial Politics in the Twentieth Century (UPF, 1981). He writes regularly on state and national politics in the Orlando Sentinel.
Lance deHaven-Smith is professor of public administration and associate director of the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of ten books, including Environmental Concern in Florida and the Nation (UPF, 1991), The Florida Voter, and Almanac of Florida Politics. He and David Colburn coedited Amid Political, Cultural and Civic Diversity: Building a Sense of Statewide Community in Florida.
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"A lively introduction to Florida's political history from 1845 to the present." -- West Orange Times
--West Orange Times
"A highly readable primer that both longtime residents and newcomers will find enlightening." -- Tampa Tribune
"A must read for anyone who wants to understand Florida's 'colorful, complex, confusing, and occasionally bizarre' politics." -- Gainesville Sun
""Colburn and deHaven-Smith have produced a brisk, fast moving overview of Florida's government that packs a ton of useful information into its 167 pages. . . . An excellent book. Many Floridians -- teachers, journalists, political party officials, lobbyists and other opinion-shapers, civic leaders who deal with politicians, plus officeholders and government workers themselves -- should find this a valuable guide." -- Stuart News
"Residents of the state will find this a helpful starting point for understanding Florida's complex and chaotic political history and practices." -- Choice