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Workers of the Sunshine State unite!

University of Florida Institutional Repository
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PAGE 1

WORKERS OF THE SUNS HINE STATE UNITE!: THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY DURING THE PROGRESSIVE ERA, 1900-1920 By R. STEVEN GRIFFIN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

PAGE 2

Copyright 2006 by R. Steven Griffin

PAGE 3

iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my parents, R. V. and Rachel Griffin, for their encouragement of my academic pursuits. My father, a seventh generation Floridian, instilled in me at an early age a love and appreciation of the uni queness of Florida’s history. My mother, a native of the Mississippi Delta, fostered a re spect and devotion to the written word. I would also like to thank those teachers who have influenced and encouraged my efforts in this project. Professor Jack E. Davis, w ho supervised this thesis, has provided a gentle and guiding hand for my research and especia lly the written composition of this work. Professor Howard Louthan, with whom I have shared my affection for Florida’s scenic beauty, has taught me perhaps more than I wi ll ever need to know about Reformation Europe and imparted his great wisdom about historiography. Professor Sean Adams, whom I have met only recently, has been kind enough to read this work and offer his sage advice. Finally, I would like to thank the ma n who started me off in the direction of being a professional historian many years ago, Professor Justus Doenecke, late of New College in Sarasota, Florida. I have appr eciated his guidance, his patience, and will always be eternally grateful for the faith he demonstrated in my ability.

PAGE 4

PREFACE This thesis has its origins in the Senior Thesis I wrote at New College regarding the political career of Manatee County Socialist A. J. Pettigrew, who was the only Socialist to win election to the Florida legislature. That paper reflected my ongoing interests in Florida history and left-wing po litical organizations. Only th ree scholarly accounts of the history of the Florida Social ist Party exist. George N. Greens 1962 Masters Thesis, Florida Politics and Socialism at the Cro ssroads of the Progressive Era, 1912, broke new ground by being the first study to examine Fl orida socialism in th e context of Florida politics. Though pathbreaking, Greens study fo cuses exclusively on one election cycle, that of 1912, includes nearly as much inform ation on parties other than the Socialists, and, by focusing solely on the Socialist presid ential candidacy of Eugene Debs, ignores the state and county level political activism of the Florida Socialist Party. Ray Robbinss 1971 Masters Thesis, The Socialist Party in Florida, 1900-1916, sought to correct the flaws of Greens work by covering a broade r time period, paying more attention to local activities, and using more primary source ma terial, particularly local newspapers. Nevertheless, Robbins largely ignores such cente rs of local socialist strength as Manatee County, Lee County, Polk County, Gulfport, and lo cal electoral activity in general. Brad Alan Pauls 1999 dissertation, Rebels of the Ne w South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920, places Florida socialism in a regional context and digs deeper into the local experience of the Party even than Robbins did. As a regional study, however, Pauls work could not examine Florida socialism at a detailed level from the bottom up. iv

PAGE 5

v Probably the most significant obs tacle to researching the history of Florida socialism is the dearth of sources. The Florida Socialis t Party left no records behind, and the records of the Socialist Party of America contain only passing references to sunshine state socialism. Hence, the primary source mate rials for this study are largely limited to contemporary newspaper accounts and govern ment documents. Though these sources have significant limitations, the hope is that by mining them deeply a full picture of Florida socialism will emerge.

PAGE 6

vi TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii PREFACE........................................................................................................................ ..iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 ROOTS OF A FAMILY TREE: THE oRIGINS OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM...........1 2 UTOPIAN SUNRISE: THE BI RTH AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY...............................................................................24 3 ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: AND REW JACKSON PETTIGREW AND THE RISE OF MANATEE COUNTY SOCIALISM.........................................................36 4 HIGH NOON OF FLORIDA SOCI ALISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1908 AND 1912........................................................................................................................... .60 5 SUNSET OF FLORIDA SOCIALISm: THE ELECTIONS OF 1916 and 1920.......77 6 CONCLUSION: AN AUTOPSY OF TH E FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY..........90 APPENDIX A FLORIDA COUNTIES FR OM 1900 THROUGH 1920...........................................95 B FLORIDA ELECTION RESULTS..........................................................................104 C OPEN LETTER OF A. J. PETTIGREW..................................................................118 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................121 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................127

PAGE 7

vii LIST OF TABLES Table page B-1, Manatee County State House Election, 1904..........................................................104 B-2, Manatee County State House Election, 1906..........................................................105 B-3, 1904 General Election Re sults, Governor’s Race....................................................105 B-4, 1904 General Election Results, Cabinet Results......................................................106 B-5, 1908 General Election Re sults, Governor’s Race....................................................107 B-6, 1908 General Election Results, Cabinet Races........................................................109 B-7, 1912 Florida General Electi on Results, Governor’s Race.......................................110 B-8, 1912 General Election Results, Cabinet Races........................................................111 B-9, 1916 General Election Re sults, Governor’s Race....................................................113 B-10, 1916 General Election Results, Other Statewide Races........................................114 B-11, 1920 General Election Results, Governor’s Race..................................................115 B-12, 1920 General Election Results, U.S. Senate Race.................................................117

PAGE 8

viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page B-1: Florida Counties in 1899............................................................................................95 B-2: Florida Counties in 1905............................................................................................96 B-3: Florida Counties in 1909............................................................................................97 B-4: Florida Counties in 1910............................................................................................98 B-5: Florida Counties in 1911............................................................................................99 B-6: Florida Counties in 1913..........................................................................................100 B-7: Florida Counties in 1914..........................................................................................101 B-8: Florida Counties in 1916..........................................................................................102 B-9: Florida Counties in 1917..........................................................................................103

PAGE 9

ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts WORKERS OF THE SUNS HINE STATE UNITE!: THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY DURING THE PROGRESSIVE ERA, 1900-1920 By R. Steven Griffin May 2006 Chair: Jack Davis Major Department: History The Socialist Party of Florida was a more significant political movement than many historians have previously suggested. The Party was comprised of a coalition that included foreign born workers in Florida’s gr owing cities such as Tampa, Jacksonville, and Pensacola, farmers who had voted Popu list in the 1890s and had not reconciled themselves to the Democratic Party, an obscu re religious sect in Lee County, and others. Despite the many obstacles it encountered, the Socialist Party of Fl orida earned greater electoral success than any other socialist pa rty in the southeast. The party in Manatee County elected a state represen tative, Andrew Jackson Pettigr ew, to a single term in 1906, and in Hillsborough County elected and re-e lected the mayor and majority of the city council of Gulfport (since 1911 a part of Pinellas County) Despite its successes, the decline of th e party began in re action to its strong opposition to American participation in the Fi rst World War, and it faced significant state repression beginning by 1917. The success of th e Russian Revolution, and the Red Scare

PAGE 10

x in the United States thereafter, hammered the final nails into the partys coffin, and after 1916 it did not mount any serious political campaigns.

PAGE 11

1 CHAPTER 1 ROOTS OF A FAMILY TREE: THE ORIGINS OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM Florida, whether under Democratic or Repub lican auspices, has often appeared to most outside observers as a haven for poli tical conservatism. Outward appearances, however, can prove to be quite deceptive. Florida politics during the Progressive Era may be such a case. In 1912, the Socialist presidential candidate, Eugene Debs, garnered more votes in Florida than Theodore Roosev elt or William Howard Taft, and Florida was the only state of the former Confederacy in which this third party finished as high as second place. A canvass of Progressive Era voting results reveals the steady growth of Socialist electoral strength in Florida from 1900 to 1912, then a tapering off from 1912 to 1920. From 1904 to 1920 Florida was the only sout hern state registering more than 2,000 radical votes in every presiden tial election. Florida recorded the highest percentage of left-wing votes for any ex-Confederate stat e in four presiden tial elections: 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. Only Arkansas, in 1916, interrupted this string. In his seminal study of the Socialist Pa rty of America, David Shannon has argued that “the socialists had no centers of signifi cant strength in the S outh other than Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and these st ates were as much western as southern.”1 While Shannon’s argument may hold some credence for the South as a whole, it fails to recognize the existence of a viable Socialist movement in Florida during the first two 1 David Shannon, The Socialist Party of America (New York: Macmillan, 1955), 36.

PAGE 12

2 decades of the twentieth century, and th e notable successes it achieved. Shannon’s contention does not explain the 1906 elec tion of Manatee County Socialist Andrew Jackson Pettigrew to the Florida House of Re presentatives. It i gnores the 1908 Socialist origins of Ruskin, a cooperative-Socialist college town located in southern Hillsborough County. Likewise, it overlooks the 1908 Social ist candidacy of Mrs. S. F. J. Linn for Florida superintendent of schools. Linn’s cam paign, occurring more than a decade before women obtained the franchise, marked the fi rst appearance of her sex on a statewide ballot. Similarly, it discounts the 1910 elec tion of Gulfport Socialist Mayor E. E. Wintersgill and the final composition of that municipality’s town council at four Socialists to one Democrat. Nor does it ta ke into account the 1912 electoral success of Socialist gubernatorial and stat e cabinet candidates. Thomas Cox, W. C. Edwards, A. J. Pettigrew, and Fred Lincoln Pattison all be sted their Republican opponents and finished second behind the eventual Democratic winners. Arising out of the turmoil of Florida’s industrialization during the fi rst two decades of the twen tieth century, the Florida Socialist Party, at its height not only influenced public po licy in a more progressive direction, but also showed th e potential to displace the Republican Party and become Florida’s second major party. The golden age of the Social ist Party of America coincided with the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century, but socialism had arrived in America a generation earlier. Though it often seemed shaped by foreign influences, especially German radicals who flocked to the United St ates after the unsuccessful uprisings of

PAGE 13

3 1848, the American socialist movement owed mo re to its own country than to Europe.2 Almost from the time industrialism first be gan in the United States, a few Americans advocated some kind of anticapitalistic scheme for soci ety that, they hoped, would eliminate industrial oppression and bring to those who labored the full fruits of their toils. There was Thomas Skidmore, who in the late 1820s advocated a periodic redistribution of property.3 There were the followers of the benevolent Welshman Robert Owen and the noted French Utopian Charles Fourier who tried to create semisocialist communities as models for the reform of industrial capitalism.4 To trace the origins of the Socialist Party to these early nineteenth-century utopian societies, however, would be a risky and not particularly fruitful endeavor. Yet the two should not necessarily be sharply divided one from the other, since th e utopian spirit and in particular its ethical ideals were to permeate the American reform, labor, and radical movements for many years to come. The party's real origins lay in the revolt against the social and economic conditions created by th e mushrooming industr ialism of America after the Civil War.5 It is axiomatic that a society that pr oduced a Carnegie, a Rockefeller, and a Vanderbilt would also give rise to social discontent and to political protest movements. 2 Ira Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952), 6-7; Howard Quint, The Forging of American Socialism (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1953), 3-36; Shannon, The Socialist Party of America, 43-50. 3 For a detailed account of Skidmore’s thinking see Matthew S. Bewig, “The Roots of American Labor Radicalism: Political Economy and the Intellectual F oundations of the Ameri can Labor Movement, 18151830” (Master’s thesis, University of North Carolina, 1986), 48-62. 4 Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1903), 48-108; John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialism (New York: Hillary House, 1870), 21-92, 193-250. 5 Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement 3.; Quint, The Forging of American Socialism 12; Shannon, The Socialist Party of America 2.

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4 There was an abundance of these movements. Grangers, Greenbackers, Populists, Anarchists, and Socialists all had burning criticisms of the status quo. Most were clearly anti-capitalist in their nature; yet most w ould not have abolished capitalism as such. They would have only removed those aspects of capitalism that caused them harm. From the 1860s on there was some kind of organize d Socialist movement in the United States that looked forward to the establishm ent of some variety of socialism. In the year that Ulysses S. Grant was reelected, Karl Marx m oved the headquarters of the International Workingmen's Association, the First International, from London to New York, where a few sections of the Interna tional already were establishe d among German immigrants. The Socialist Labor Party (S LP) was built upon this foundation.6 The SLP was the first formidable Socialist organization in America. Daniel DeLeon, who was cut in the classic pattern of a Socialist theorize r, founded the SLP in 1890. He was Dutch and Jewish in origin and in the late 1880s ta ught international law and philosophy at Columbia University. A ti reless worker and patient organizer, he believed it was his life's mission to spread Marx ism in America. Unhappily for him, the country he chose to convert generally disliked the theor y. Though dogmatic and narrow minded in many of his ideas, DeLeon possesse d conviction and a certain magnetism that made him the SLP's patron saint, an icon stat us that continues long after his death. DeLeon was vitally interested in labor organization and Socialist agitation. Convinced that workers directed by Socialists could bring down cap italism, he attacked conservative craft labor unionist s and hoped to organize a ne w socialist labor movement. He made many enemies and little headway. He thought sectarian purity was the key to 6 Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, 177-192; Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 7; Quint, The Forging of American Socialism, 9-12.

PAGE 15

5 his kingdom and that the American workingman would welcome his doctrinal logic. He was sadly mistaken, and after 1900 his party declined into a ri gid sect while the majority of American Socialists migrated to the Social ist Party of America. In his heavy emphasis on doctrine and his fascination with the dial ectical process of socialism's triumph over capitalism, “The New York Pope,” as his enemies called him, managed to be both belligerent and dull. However important the history of his party and ideas, he stands outside the main development of American socialism.7 DeLeon's dictatorial dominance of the Soci alist Labor Party had a double effect of repelling many old-time workers in the move ment, who withdrew in large numbers, and causing the organization to become unpopular with the majority of newly converted Socialists. While DeLeon purified his own th ought and followers, other groups won the great majority of those inclin ed to socialism. Thus, in the middle 1890s, a new Socialist Party gradually sprang up outside the ranks of the Socialist Labor Party. The aims and views of the new party, the Social Democracy of America, were originally somewhat crude and indefinite. Its decl aration of principles was s ubstantially socialistic, but, echoing earlier activists like Owen and Fourier, its main program was the promotion of a fantastic plan to colonize in some wester n state, capture the state government, and introduce a socialist regime. But the era of utopian communities had long since past, and the colonization plan was dropped.8 7 L. Glenn Seretan, Daniel DeLeon: The Odyssey of an American Marxist (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979). 8 See Bernard Brommel, “Debs’s Cooper ative Commonwealth Plan for Workers,” Labor History 12 (Fall 1972): 560-69.

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6 The Social Democracy merged by 1898 with the Social Democratic Party. The Social Democratic Party, do minated by Victor L. Berger believed in the promise embodied in its name, social democracy. Though decidedly socialist in its aim, the party taught democratic action, representative govern ment, and a slow, patient fight toward its socialist utopia. Its followers shunned revol utionary violence and talk of uprisings among the workers. Education was its key to success, and its doctr ines better fitted American possibilities than did DeLeon's. Milwaukee was the laboratory of Berger's experiment. He and his lieutenants made it the most Socialist city in America. By patiently building, they created a Socialist machine that was the envy of Democratic and Republican opponents. Berger was a powerfu l force in the Socialist movement and became a national spokesman. He was the first party member to sit in the United States Congress, serving as a representative from his Milwaukee district from 1911 to 1913, and from 1923 to 1929.9 The Social Democrats were builders, but th ey often lacked flair and charisma. The most famous American Socialist, Eugene Victor Debs, brought bot h to the party. A product of rural Indiana, a youthful veteran of hard railroad life, and a dynamic labor organizer, Debs combined qualities of leader ship with a great respect for his fellow man to become a formidable political camp aigner and Socialist evangelist. In 1893, challenging the narrow craft unionism then dominating the railroad industry, Debs formed the American Railway Union along i ndustrial lines. The following year he reluctantly entered the famous Pullman strike and served a jail term when the strike was crushed. He emerged from prison leaning to wards socialism, and rapidly became the 9 Sally M. Miller, Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism, 1910-1920 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1973).

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7 party's chief national figure. He was a Social ist candidate for president five times, served two jail sentences for his beliefs, and becam e one of the great figures in American radicalism.10 Socialist parties engaged in politics and labor agitati on from the 1890s onward. The SLP ran candidates for national office in the 1890s with meager results. The Social Democrats worked on the local level in the late 1890s, showi ng their greatest strength in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New York. By 1900, when Debs ran for president on a Social Democratic ticket with support fr om an SLP splinter group, American socialism was ripe for unity. In 1901 the Socialist Party of America emer ged from the confusion and for the rest of the century was home to most of Amer ica's Socialists. It was a coalition with conflicting interests, whose le ft and right wings were neve r entirely reconciled. The SPA basically consisted of three gr oups. On the right stood Victor Berger and his step-by-step Socialists, committed to education and the de mocratic process. In the center, led by Morris Hillquit, stood the moderates. The m oderates were also committed to education and the ballot, but inclined to sympathize with a stronger radi cal tone in their program. On the left were the revolutionaries, led by many rather than one man. They claimed Debs as their idol, although he flirted with the conservatives, and despite his lurid oratory and biting pen, he more often sided with the moderates than the radicals. The revolutionaries were militant in their desire for party recognition of radical labor unions. 10 Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982); Paul Buhle, “The Meaning of Debsian Socialism,” Radical America 2 (January/February 1968): 44-59.

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8 They distrusted the "Slowcia lists," as they dubbed the right wing, who looked like mere reformers to men who talked of worker's revolts and social revolution.11 So varied a group invited dissension, and th e history of American socialism is in one measure a story of intra-party strife. Socialism involved doctrinal interpretation, attracted a variety of people, and fed a shar ed belief in the coming utopia. Dispute was inevitable. Every Socialist tended to be hi s own party. Because it was a coalition, the party did not enforce the rigid discipline co mmon to European socialism. Americans, even Socialists, were too strongly infected with individualism and free speech to accept such discipline. The party's loose structur e and the semi-independence of its component parts only heightened the tende ncy to factionalism. The intr a-party disputes at least had the merit of inviting opinion on th e great issues of the day. American socialism faced most of the issu es confronting the old political parties, and in taking its stands said much of itsel f and its society. In the two decades before 1920, it was a vital and positive organizati on, waging political campaigns, running a vocal press, and raising up influential and e ffective leaders. In 1908, the party mounted a spectacular national tour for Debs’s presidenti al campaign that warned older parties of its growing strength. Between 1910 and 1912 it elected more than a thousand of its members to public office across the country and had a membership of more than 100,000. In 1910, the party successfully ran Emil Seid el for mayor of Milwaukee and Victor Berger for United States Congress. By 1912, at a time when the party had locals and newspapers in almost every state of the union, Debs garnered nearly six percent of the national vote in the face of such formidable liberals as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore 11 Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 80-136; Quint, The Forging of American Socialism, 350-388; Shannon, The Socialist Party of America, 1-42.

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9 Roosevelt. Socialist ideas were welcomed in the homes of worker s, intellectuals, and even farmers. It seemed to all Socialists, a nd even to some conservatives, that socialism was the wave of the future.12 Yet, the party was at the mercy of even ts. Even as it prospered, its internal weaknesses magnified and its external en emies multiplied. World War I and its complications ended the Socialist Party’s re markable run of success, whatever actual potential it might ever have had. The party suffered serious internal dissension over the war. Many Socialists were pacifists and suffered official and unofficial persecution during and after the war. Negative American reaction to the Russian Revolution of 1917 further weakened the party. In 1919 the party splintered into its component parts, ending its golden age in a welter of confusion and quarreling. Unlike the national party, which had its origins in the SLP and other socialist factions, Florida socialism had its beginnings in the Populist movement of the 1880s and 1890s. Southern populism, the principal condui t through which agrarian rebels below the Mason – Dixon line channeled their discontent in the 1890s, resulted from a multitude of factors, such as plunging commodity pri ces, manipulated railro ad freight rates, unscientific farming methods, and the ceas eless economic bondage wrought by the croplien system. Both Populists and Socialists alike protested against a business plutocracy; both believed that only the federal governme nt possessed the means to harness the banks and giant corporations for th e public good. The Populists, howe ver, sought to eliminate monopolies and save competitive capitalism by organizing small, independent, selfreliant producers into farming cooperatives. Socialists, by contrast, hoped to destroy 12 Hillquit, History of Socialism in America, 352-3; Kipnis, The American So cialist Movement, 335–369; Shannon, The Socialist Party of America, 81-149.

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10 competitive capitalism by redistributi ng all land and all means of production, transportation, and distributi on. The two movements, though, had similar economic and emotional appeal.13 Yet, the extent of the debt Florida social ism owes to populism is a difficult question to answer. In Florida, like many of its fe llow states in the Midw est and Southwest, the prelude to populism was the Farmers’ Alli ance. In the fall of 1887, sixty-five suballiances, with a membership approachi ng 2,000 met at Marianna and organized the Florida Farmers’ Alliance. Counties repr esented included Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, Duval, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Levy, Libe rty, Madison, Walton, and Washington. Citrus County, situated in th e central portion of the state, was the only county present that did not hail from Florida’s northern tier. The uneven distributi on of sub-alliances reflected the divergent agricultural interests of north and south Florida. North Florida, which since the antebellum period had been a great cotton raising ce nter, had concerns similar to those of the cotton producing states of the Deep S outh – concerns arising from the altered economic position of agarian laborers and from the shortage of hard specie. South Florida, where the agri cultural position was economically more tenable, focused on the marketing of citrus crops, perishable produc e, winter vegetables, and the attraction of more settlers.14 This internal division would threat en the unity of the Florida Alliance throughout its existence and later plague Florida populism as well. 13 George N. Green, “Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912” (Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 92. 14 Walter Lord Cory, “The Florida Farmers’ Allia nce, 1887-1892” (Master’ s thesis, Florida State University, 1963): 20-21.

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11 By the spring of 1890 there existed sub-al liances in every county except Franklin, Dade, Lee, and Monroe. Within these count ies, whose local economies were centered on maritime pursuits rather than agrarian ones, the Alliance made little headway.15 A decade and a half later, all the southern c ounties – Dade, Lee, and Monroe – would house articulate and vocal Socialist locals. Fra nklin County, located in the Big Bend area of north Florida and today the heart of Florida’ s oyster industry, proved to be the lone exception to future Socialist development. Moreover, 1890 would view the Florida Alliance controlling almost half the voting population of the state.16 The Florida Democratic convention of that same year wa s so dominated by Alliance members that its “platform was as much a declaration of Alliance views as Democratic doctrine.”17 While the year 1890 would witness the highwatermark of the Florida Alliance, it also signaled the beginning of its decline. When Florida played host to the National Farmers’ Alliance convention in Ocala in December, sunshine state farmers had never before, nor would they ever again, command such political unity. Disheartened by the radical flavor of the Ocala Demands that emerged from the convention, Florida Alliancemen soon split into conservative and ra dical factions. The geographical divisions that had dominated Alliance relations sin ce its inception were highlighted by this factionalization. Conservativ e Alliancemen tended to come from south Florida, while north Floridians predominated among the ra dical Alliancemen. The actions of the supposedly pro-Alliance 1891 Florida legi slature would demonstrate that the 15 Cory, “The Florida Farmers’ Alliance,” 23. 16 Kathryn T. Abbey, “Florida Versus the Principles of Populism,” Journal of Southern History 4 (November 1938): 462-463; Cory, “The Florida Farmers’ Alliance,” 78-79. 17 James O. Knauss, “The Fa rmers’ Alliance in Florida,” South Atlantic Quarterly 25 (1926): 301.

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12 organization’s internal strife was unresolva ble. Conservative south Florida Alliance legislators, seeking to expand their access to northern markets a nd to increase their region’s population, abandoned attempts at agra rian reform and entered into a coalition with railroad politicians. Th eir support of the repeal of the railroad commission, an action that cost Florida farmers thousands of dollars, signaled their return to the Democratic fold. It also intensified the desi re of the radical member s of the Alliance to abandon the Democratic Party and form a third party.18 By 1892, when the Florida Populist Party was organized with Alliance s upport, conservative defections had reduced the Alliance membership rolls by 75 percent.19 Florida Populists entered into the 1892 campaign under the assumption that they could supplant the Democrats as the state’s dominant political party. To their dismay, Florida Populists discovered that not only we re they no threat to statewide Democratic dominance, but that their elec toral strength was regional in nature. With south Florida firmly entrenched in the Democratic camp, the Populist gubernatorial candidate, Allianceman Albert P. Baskin, managed to secure the support of only 21 percent of the Florida electorate. Baskin was triumphant onl y in the five rural nor th Florida counties of Baker, Calhoun, Taylor, Walton, and Washington.20 Historian Edward Williamson characterizes Baskin’s performance as “the worst defeat of a ny major gubernatorial candidate thus far in th e history of the state.”21 Williamson’s assessment would ring true 18 Edward C. Williamson, Florida Politics in the Gilded Age, 1877-1893 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1976): 163-178. 19 Abbey, “Florida Versus the Principles of Populism,” 464. 20 Williamson, Florida Politics in the Gilded Age, 185. 21 Williamson, Florida Politics in the Gilded Age, 185.

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13 for only four years. In the 1896 governo r’s race, William Weeks, another former Allianceman, was able to attract slightly le ss than 13 percent of the electorate to the Populist cause. Weeks carried only Calhoun and Taylor counties.22 Following the 1896 election, the Populist Party in Florida, as in the rest of the country, gradually disintegrated. All except the most extreme radicals, including so me who would later gravitate to the Florida Social ist Party, drifted back to the Democratic Party and played an important role in helpi ng the liberal wing gain control of that institution. James Mead III, in his 1971 study of the Fl orida Populist Party, concludes that “the Populists in Florida achieved fewer successes than their counterparts in almost every other southern state.”23 In Mead’s view, there were two principle reasons behind the overwhelming defeat of Florida’s Populists. First, much like the Florida Alliance, the Populists were never able to entice the count ies of southern Florida into their camp. Despite opposition to high railroad rates a nd Bourbon land policy, the citrus and truck farmers of the region remained in the Demo cratic Party. The farm population in south Florida was financially more st able than their brethren in north Florida. Populist Party support in most of the South and West was an outgrowth of agrarian discontent and only when the farmers felt threatened did they seek to abandon the security of their old parties. In south Florida no such feeling developed. Within north Florida, the farmers’ economic position was more shaky. While not burdene d by high debt rate s and the crop-lien system as the farmers in other southern stat es, they still were negatively impacted by the economic depressions of the second half of th e nineteenth century. Second, and perhaps 22 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1896 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1896). 23 James Andrew Mead, III, “The Populist Party in Fl orida” (Master’s thesis, Fl orida Atlantic University, 1971): 81.

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14 foremost, was the issue of white supremacy. Many white Floridians still envisioned the Democratic Party as the redemptive force th at had liberated them from the perceived shackles of black Republican-induced Rec onstruction. Throughout their campaigns against the Populists, Florida Democrats and the conservative Florida press incessantly drove this perception home. Labeling the Popul ists as the “nigger” party or as nothing more than Republicans in disguise, Democr ats never missed an opportunity to remind voters of their role in restoring white Floridians to their rightf ul place in the state’s social and economic hierarchy. As a consequence, the overwhelming majority of white farmers refused to abandon the Democratic Party a nd risk a return to African American domination.24 Florida Socialists would face a similar campaign when they challenged Democratic hegemony during the Progressive Era. Still, despite the abject failure of the Florida Populist Party, vestiges of populism lingered on within Florida socialism. Se ven Florida counties – Calhoun, Clay, Madison, Polk, Suwannee, Volusia and Washington – provided Populist pres idential candidate General James Weaver a nearly identical pe rcentage of votes in 1892 as Eugene Debs received in 1912. These results appear to o ffer some evidence of radical continuity, especially considering the twenty-year time span. Thereafter, the poll tax and multiple ballot laws, passed in 1889, shar ply curtailed voter participation and hastened the demise of populism in Florida. In addition, Florida Republicans who realized that their candidate had virtually no chance of carrying the stat e openly supported the P opulist presidential ticket, which might have helped to cloa k the appearance of Populist strength.25 24 Mead, “The Populist Party in Florida,” 81-83. 25 Green, “Florida Politics and Socialism,” 96.

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15 The Populist vote of 1908, perhaps, offers a clearer relationship with socialism. The Debs – Watson totals of 1908 were almost equal to the Debs vot e in eleven counties in 1912, including four of Debs’s best eigh t counties. The eleven counties included Alachua, Clay, Desoto, Duval, Holmes, Lee, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, St. Lucie, and Washington. The platforms of Tom Watson in 1908 and Debs in 1912 both appealed to “white supremacy” agrarian radicals, whereas Weaver in 1892, with his pledge to support liberal pensions for Union veterans lacked th e same appeal to former Confederates and their sons. Also, ballot rest rictions may have been more ardently pursued in 1892 to derail the Populist threat th an in 1912, when a Democratic triumph was all but assured.26 While Populist strength was cl ustered in the rural white counties of north Florida, which were more concerned with reformi ng corporate railroad abuses than with radicalism, Socialist strength emanated from coastal population-boom counties that lacked any great railroad issues fueling political discontent. From 1900 to 1910, the state’s population increased 42 pe rcent, twice the national ra te. During the same time period, Florida’s urban population expanded at a 74 percent clip. By 1910 the state harbored four cities containing more than 10,000 inhabitants: Jacksonville, Tampa, Pensacola, and Key West. J acksonville, located in Duva l County on Florida’s north Atlantic coast, was the largest with a populat ion of 57,699. Tampa, situated on the state’s central Gulf coast, was second with 37,782 resi dents. Pensacola, straddling Escambia Bay in the far western panhandle, sheltere d 22,982 inhabitants. Key West, anchoring Monroe County’s and the peninsula’s sout hern tip, had a population of 19,945. During the opening decade of the twenti eth century all these cities, with the notable exception of 26 Green, “Florida Politics and Socialism,” 98.

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16 Key West, endured population growth rates th at exceeded the national average. Tampa witnessed a 138.5 percent increase, Jack sonville saw a 103.1 percent uptick, and Pensacola experienced a 29.5 percent jump in population. Key West, which was limited by the constraints of its island topography, grew at a rate of 16.5 percent. Hillsborough County, with Tampa serving as its economic hub, led Florida counties with a rate of increase of 117.6 percent.27 Besides rapid population expans ion, all of these cities and their surrounding counties were linked by anot her salient characteri stic. During the two decades of the Progressive Era, these four metropolitan areas housed Florida’s most ardent cadres of Socialist adherents. In part, Florida’s massive population explos ion was fueled by an influx of foreign nationals. By 1910, 9.3 percent of the state’s population was of fore ign birth or foreign parentage. Of Florida’s fo reign-born population, persons bo rn in Cuba represented 26.3 percent; Italy 13.4 percent; Spain 12.4 pe rcent; and Germany 7.2 percent. Among Floridians having one or both parents bor n abroad, Cuba cont ributed 22.3 percent; Germany 10.7 percent; Italy 10.6 percent; and Spain 7.9 percent. Monroe, Hillsborough, Escambia, and Duval counties all entertaine d immigrant populations that exceeded the state average. Monroe County’s migr populace was an astonishing 55.9 percent, Hillsborough’s 28.0 percent, Escambia’s 10.5 pe rcent, and Duval’s 9.4 percent. The proportions of foreign-born whites in the state’s urban populati on was 11.7 percent compared to just 1.7 percent in the rural enclaves. Key West ’s foreign-born and foreign parentage residents comprised 56.1 percen t of its population; Tampa’s 44.3 percent; 27 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914): 567-581.

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17 Pensacola’s 14.3 percent; a nd Jacksonville’s 9.9 percent.28 Cuban, Italian, Spanish, and German immigrants all brought to Florida trad itions of Socialist m ilitancy and political organization. Radicals among them, tempered by the fires of nativis t hostility, were to imprint their distinctive stamp on the Florida Socialist Party. The major factor stimulating Florida’s immigrant infusion was the state’s burgeoning industrial sector. In 1909, Flor ida had 2,159 manufacturing establishments, which paid out $27,937.000 in salaries and wages to 64,810 people, 57,473 of whom (88.7%) were wage earners. As Table 1-1 show s, Florida industry was concentrated in four leading fields of production, tobacco, lumber, naval stores, and phosphate, which employed 55,183 wage earners, or 96 percent of all industrial wage earners in the state.29 Table 1-1: Leading Industries in Florida, 1909 INDUSTRY PERSONS EMPLOYED VALUE OF PRODUCT / % STATE MANUF. Tobacco 12,280 $21,575,000 / 29.6% Timber / Lumber 19,277 $20,863,000 / 28.6% Naval Stores 18,143 $11,938,000 / 16.4% Phosphate Mining 5,483 $8,488,801 / (not manuf.) Not only were these industries important to the Florida economy, they were significant to the national economy as well. Florida produced 78.7 percent of the nation’s output of phosphate, while the state naval st ores industry accounted for 41.4 percent of the total value of turpentine and rosin pr oduced in the United States in 1904 and 47.2 percent in 1909, leading the nation in producti on for both years. Finally, Florida was third in cigar producti on nationwide. 28 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 583-603. 29 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 639-643, 660-661.

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18 Like the residency of Florida’s immi grant population, the st ate’s manufacturing industries tended to have an urban flavor. In 1909, with only 18.4 percent of the total population of the state, Tampa, Key West, Jacksonville, and Pensacola, recorded 41.6 percent of the total value of manufactured products and 25 percent of the wage earners engaged in manufacturing. Tampa, alt hough ranking second in population, was easily first when measured either by the value of products or number of wage earners. The city’s leading indus try in 1909 was cigar production, th e value of which amounted to $14,557,329 or 82.7 percent of Tampa’s total ma nufacturing output. Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants constituted the core of wage earners in Tampa’s smoky yet smokestackless cigar factories. In Key West, like Tampa, the manufacture of cigars was the leading industry with a value of produc ts of $3,716,740 or 93.7 percent of the city’s total industrial production. The city’s labor force was composed of the same immigrant groups that predominated in Tampa’s cigar i ndustry. In Jacksonville the leading industry was the manufacture of phosphate rock into fert ilizer. The fertilizer industry, valued at $2,511,356, represented 37.4 percent of Jacksonville’ s total value of pr oducts. Displaced agricultural workers and immigrants formed th e core of Jacksonville’s industrial wage earners. Pensacola’s leading industry, lu mber and timber manufactures, provided 25.4 percent of that city’s total value of products. The city ’s wage earners were comprised primarily of African Americans, immi grants, and former agrarian laborers.30 But all was not well within Florida’s manufacturing sector Between 1904 and 1909 the average number of wage earners pe r establishment decr eased 10 percent; the average value of products 5.2 percent; and the average value adde d by manufacture by 30 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 643, 646.

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19 9.4 percent. During the same fi ve-year span, Key West showed decreases in the value of its products and in the number of wage earne rs, while Jacksonville and Pensacola showed decreases in the number of wage earners. Only Tampa demonstrated an increase in both categories. In 1904 the average annual salary of Florida manufacturing wage earners was $374.59 compared to $399.87 in 1909. This amounted to a paltry annual pay increase of 1.2 percent. Not only were the state’ s industrial workers enduring growing unemployment and lagging wages, they were also working longer hours. Of the total number of manufacturing wager earners 53.5 percent were employed in establishments where the prevailing work hours ranged from 54 to 60 per week. Among employees laboring in the state’s top four industries the rate was much higher. Nearly all phosphate miners, 95.4 percent to be exact, worked 60 hours or more, as did 86.9 percent of lumber and timber wage earners. Nearly two-thirds of tobacco workers labored more than 54 hours weekly and 55.4 percent of turpentine and rosin wage earners did the same.31 But Florida’s industrial labor ers did not willingly acquies ce to their place in the state’s economic order. At the beginning of the twentieth century Florida labor unions were well organized in the state’s urban ar eas, particularly Tampa, Pensacola, and Jacksonville. They sometimes savored succe ss in mobilizing public opinion behind their cause, and when they encountered defeat, ma ny frustrated unionists protested by voting for the Florida Socialist Party. Hillsborough County, with Tampa’s cigar makers at the forefront, maintained the largest union rolls in the state. Labor problems in the city’s cigar industry began almost simultaneously with its conception in 1885. Older Tampa 31 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 645-646, 648.

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20 residents often measure their family historie s by the benchmarks of the tumultuous strikes of 1899, 1901, 1910, and 1920. The 1899 weight strike, brought on by management’s decision to weigh a specific amount of tob acco for each cigar maker as a cost control measure, marked the first and last major strike won by the workers. In 1901, La Resistencia, the union of Spanish-spea king laborers, demanded a union shop. La Resistencia, suffering a lack of strike funds, and facing a determined coalition of the Cigar Manufactures Association and prominen t businessmen, lost the strike. Following La Resistencia’s defeat, the Cigar Makers In ternational became the dominant union in the Tampa industry. Its 1910 demands for a union shop heralded a strike that lasted seven months and whose associated lynchings and murders attracted inte rnational attention. The demand for a union shop was again defeat ed, as it would be in 1920. It would not return again until insured by federa l legislation during the New Deal.32 Pensacola’s union history stre tched back to the 1880s when the Knights of Labor organized. By 1908, the city had 22 labor un ions, a remarkable total for a southern community harboring a population of less th an 20,000. The first labor dispute of 1908 began when members of the Street and Elect ric Railway Employees Union failed to reach a contract agreement with the Pensacola Electric Company. The union was demanding a two-cents-per-hour pay increase (to twenty cents an hour) an d a closed shop. When the 32 For an overview of Tampa’s immigrant labor cultu re see, Gary R. Mormino and George E. Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987): 97-141; for detailed accounts of the individual strikes of 1899, 1901, 1910, and 1920, see Gary R. Mormino, “Tampa and the New Urban South: The Weight Strike of 1899,” Florida Historical Quarterly 60 (January 1982): 337-356; Durward Long, “La Resistencia: Tampa’s Immigrant Labor Union,” Labor History 6 (Fall 1965): 193-214; George E. Pozzetta, “Alerta Tabaqueros! Tampa’s Striking Cigar Workers,” Tampa Bay History 3 (Fall/Winter 1981): 19-29; Durward Long, “The Open-Closed Shop Battle in Tampa’s Cigar Industry, 1919-1921,” Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (October 1968): 101-121.

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21 company pleaded an inability to meet the union’s demands, the employees voted to strike. The electric company responded by firi ng all of the strikers. The ensuing walkout was marred by violence on both sides. The local police were unable to subdue the surging emotions and Governor Napoleon B. Broward was forced to deploy the National Guard to restore order. Faced with ri sing public opposition, and the adamant position of the company, the six-week strike collapsed. Only sixteen unionists who had crossed the picket lines retained their jobs The electric car strike was the worst but not the sole labor – management confrontation in Pensacola during 1908. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s machinists union also struck th eir employers. The eight-month strike, which ended with the same result as the electric car strike, reportedly cost the company over $2,000,000 in lost revenue. Defeated in the stre ets, their unions dism antled, their families hungry, Pensacola laborers turned to the political arena. In the 1908 elections seven of the nine labor candidates for the county ex ecutive committee were victorious. Of the eleven city precincts, labor candidates triumphed by large majorities in five.33 Florida’s phosphate miners during the Pr ogressive Era endured a combination of long hours, strenuous labor, and swampy, malaria-infested work sites. The industry itself, with its mines in central Florida’s Polk County and its fertilizer plants in Jacksonville, suffered through a series of boom and bust business cycles. During the boom times the miners sought to unionize and during the bust periods management countered the miner’s efforts. The most eff ective practices used by the operators to keep the workers subservient were the commissary system and company townships. The 33 Wayne Flynt, “Pensacola Labor Problems and Political Radicalism, 1908,” Florida Historical Quarterly 43 (April 1965): 315-332.

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22 company-owned stores were designed in part for convenience and in part to make the miners more dependent on the company. Mana gement claimed that they were benevolent concerns, which aided the laborers during ha rd times, but in actuality the system was nothing more than a means to degrade the miners They were forced to barter their labor for life’s necessities since the companies rarely paid in hard cash. Instead, they were extended credit at the company store and coul d be terminated if they insisted on cash payment or refused to trade at the commissa ry. While the system may have had some economic justification, it was cl ear that the miners detested it. In 1919 both sides decided to settle the issue of uni onization once and for all. The Mineral Workers Union threatened to call a strike if its demands fo r an eight-hour day and a minimum wage of 37 cents per hour were not met. When ma nagement ignored their demands, 4800 miners walked out. The ensuing seven-and-one-hal f month strike was ma rred by countless acts of violence and five deaths. To quell the vi olence, Governor Sidney J. Catts was forced to call out both the National Guard and the Polk County Home Guards. The strike had far reaching consequences. Due to the s hutdown in phosphate production, the Seaboard Coastline Railroad laid off several hundred workers and the fertilizer plants in Jacksonville were also forced to furlough hundr eds of laborers. In the end, however, the industry’s tremendous advantages in wealt h, legal resources, and influence with the government resulted in a complete victor y for the producers. The miner’s union was broken, and the workers gained little or nothing for all their hardships.34 Public health was a crucial concern for all Floridians, both native and immigrant alike. Throughout the late nineteenth a nd early twentieth cen turies, the recurring 34 Arch Fredric Blakey, The Florida Phosphate Industry: A Histor y of the Development and Use of a Vital Mineral (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973): 36-75.

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23 epidemics of yellow fever, typhoid fever, a nd cholera and the almost endemic nature of malaria, tuberculosis, and diphtheria threat ened the physical and economic well being of the South. In Florida the diseases and health conditions common to the rest of the South were worsened by the semitropical climate and housing problems. Also, measures and methods of public health were slow in ar riving. The state’s wet, mosquito-infested neighborhoods menaced the health of all who lived there, but the threats were most severe to the life and comfort of the labor ing immigrant. Disease and death were commonplace, while medical services for the immigrant laborers were practically nonexistent. In 1905 Florida’s death rate from disease was 6.6 percent per 1,000 people. Monroe County led all Florida counties with a rate of 21.2 percent, followed by Duval at 16.1 percent, Hillsborough with 10.8 percent, and Escambia at 10.4 percent. These four counties reported 75 percent of the state’ s diphtheria deaths 60.8 percent of its tuberculosis deaths, 48.8 percent of its me ningitis deaths, 43.8 percent of its cholera deaths, 25.8 percent of its t yphoid deaths, and 19.5 percen t of its malaria deaths.35 With an understanding of Florida, the state’s populist heritage, problems in immigration, wages, labor relations, housing, and health care, it is not difficu lt to comprehend that socialism could develop into an influentia l political movement within the state. 35 The Third Census of the State of Florida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1906): 140-153, 164-165, 170-171, 176-181.

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24 CHAPTER 2 UTOPIAN SUNRISE: THE BIRTH AN D ORGANIZATION OF THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY On February 6, 1900, a crowd of four t housand people filled the Hillsborough County Courthouse Square to hear Eugene Debs speak about organized labor, the competitive system, the Industrial Revoluti on, and the cooperative commonwealth. The Tampa Tribune reported that the crowd “was an enthusiastic audience, cheering the telling points of the speech, and remaining st eadfastly through the incipient shower that fell spasmodically during the two hours of orator y.” Debs discussed th e trusts at length, arguing that “the trust, in itsel f, is a blessing; the private ow nership of the trust is where the evil lies.” He hailed the trusts as the natural forbearer s of the cooperative commonwealth, the era when men would beco me both political and economic equals. Debs, appealing perhaps to Populist sentiments also addressed the great railroad systems of the day and the manner in which they were controlled. He accused J. P. Morgan of monopolizing the control of nearly all the nation’s railroads. To Debs, Morgan had “accomplished this by what is known as manipulation, which is but a polite term for stealing.” Speaking on the subject of the c ountry’s on-going war in the Philippines, Debs contended that “modern wars are declared at banquet-tables, where the firing-line is a row of champagne bottles. The men who make the war, as a rule, do not go to war. In these wars the workingmen of one nation slay the workingmen of another nation in order to save their country, and when they have saved it, how much of it belongs to them?”1 1 Tampa Tribune February 7, 1900.

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25 Debs’s Tampa visit served as the impetus that fostered the birth of the Florida Socialist Party. Eighteen months later, in la te July 1901, the various di ssenting American Socialist groups that had fought one another for decades submerged their differences and formed the Socialist Party of America (SPA). The Unity Convention, as the initial gathering of the SPA was dubbed, also created the framework fo r the organization of a Socialist local. In Florida, Socialist locals closely mirrored the national model. In forming a Socialist local, the SPA’s national office suggested that at least five people be present and sign a pledge “recognizing the class st ruggle between the capitalist class and the working class and the necessity of the working class const ituting itself into a political party distinct from and opposed to all parties formed by th e capitalist class.” New members were also asked to sever all ties to othe r political parties an d endorse the platform of the Socialist Party, including the principle of political action. There existe d no secret ritual in joining the Socialist Party and all meetings were ope n to the public. The signing of the pledge was the only affirmative action required for party initiation.2 Party rules specified much of how a local wa s to be organized. At the first meeting of a local, a recording secretar y, a financial secretary, a treasur er, a literature agent, and an organizer were elected for terms that last ed three months. A new chairman was to be elected each meeting. The purpos e of this restriction was to keep power within the local from being concentrated in one individual. It was suggested that the local meet weekly, and it was urged that the meetings not be he ld in anyone’s home, as this would obligate the local to the individual homeowner. The na tional organization also suggested that the 2 Socialist Party National Office, “How to Organize a Socialist Local or Branch ” (Chicago: no date, not numbered).

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26 local not rent space behind or adjacent to a saloon because most women resist attending meetings in such an atmosphere. National leaders also noted that it was important to have women in the local because they tended to be the best procurers of money. Most locals followed a similar order of business. Th e meeting was initially called to order by the organizer who presided over the first order of business, the electi on of a chairman for the meeting. This election was followed by th e reading of the minutes of the previous meeting, reports of the officers and committ ees, and the undertaking of unfinished and new business. Then the applications of ne w members were reviewed. An intermission was allotted for the payment of dues, and befo re adjournment, there was a discussion or study period.3 In addition to the regular debates of the loca l, street meetings were held whenever a speaker was available. The newspaper accounts of these street meetings provide virtually the only written record of Socialist meetings in Florida. They were evidently quite successful and very popular. At these street meetings, party members solicited financial donations and sold Socialist propaganda in the forms of pamphlets and newspapers. These outdoor gatherings also proved highly conducive for the recruitment of new party members. The street meeting model that a ll Florida Socialists sought to emulate was Debs’s 1900 Tampa speaking engagement. The first SPA local in Florida was formed in Jacksonville on July 4, 1902.4 By 1904 more than fifty chapters of the SPA do tted the Florida landscape from Pensacola to Key West. Although the party’s strength rest ed in Jacksonville and Tampa, members included oppressed tenant farmers in north Fl orida’s cotton and tobacco growing regions, 3 Socialist Party National Office, “How to Organize a Socialist Local or Branch.” 4 Florida Times-Union September 6, 1908.

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27 isolated timber workers in the piney woods of the Panhandle, physicians in Bradenton, lawyers in Longwood, pineapple growers in Fort Pierce, cabinet makers in Bonifay, and struggling small businessmen along the de veloping Atlantic and Gulf coasts.5 The majority of Florida Socialists, to use James Weinstein terms, appear to have belonged to the “right” or “constructive” wi ng of the Socialist continuum.6 They believed that the cooperative commonwealth could be achieved through the ballot. To facilitate that goal, Florida Socialists re alized that they had to be able to mount substantial statewide political challenges to the dominant Democratic Party. Beginning with the 1904 election, the Fl orida Socialist Party sought to offer to their fellow Floridians a full slate of candidates for state, county, and city offices. In January the Saint Petersburg local held a meeting, attend ed by only seven members, to endorse the municipal candidates who pledge d to enact their initiatives.7 In May, the Tampa Socialist local nominated a complete slate of participants to contest that city’s municipal elections.8 In July and August, locals in Manatee, Hillsborough, and Duval counties nominated candidates for every county office.9 While victory eluded all of the socialist candidates for local offices, their efforts served notice to the majority Democratic establishment that socialism was a force that could not be ignored. 5 Brad Alan Paul, “Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920” (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 73-74. 6 James Weinstein, The Decline of Socialism in America, 1912-25 (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967): 5-8 7 St. Petersburg Times January 23, 1904. 8 Tampa Tribune May 18, 1904. 9 Florida Times-Union August 3, 1904 and August 11, 1904; St. Petersburg Times August 6, 1904.

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28 Despite their electoral defeats in local ra ces, the persistent political activity of Florida’s Socialist locals continued with renewed zeal. Though often belittled by the state’s pro-Democratic Party ne wspapers, the Florida Socialist Party’s public profile and influence were expanding. During the first week of July 1904, the party’s first state convention was held in Orlando. The conven tion proved to be an entirely harmonious and businesslike assemblage. On the Fourth of July, the party adopted a platform and new constitution. The new constitution em powered the state committee to fill any vacancies on the ticket that might occur due to excessive filing fees attached to some political offices. Resolutions supporting Co lorado’s striking miners and commending various Florida Socialists were also adopt ed. Special recognition was afforded to Jacksonville’s John Wilford and Oscar Edgar, publishers of the party’s official newspaper, the Florida Socialist. W. R. Healy, a Longwood attorney, was chosen as the party’s nominee for governor. As their st andard-bearers for th e state cabinet, the Socialists nominated J. D. Parrot, an Orange Park physician, for secretary of state; W. C. Green, an Orlando lawyer, for attorney general; Emil Broberg, a Manatee County surveyor, for comptroller; and S. A. Pettigre w, a Lee County nurseryman, for secretary of agriculture. M. C. Dwight of Gulfport was the convention’s choice for state treasurer and West Palm Beach’s R. E. Resler the pick for superintendent of schools. For unknown reasons, neither of these two nominees appe ared on the November ballot. Ed Wetzel replaced Dwight on the ballot and Re sler’s slot was left vacant.10 Florida Socialists emerged from their convention with an increased sense of purpose. W. R. Healy, the party’s gubernat orial candidate, typified the Socialist’s newfound vigor. Embarking on a statewide campaign swing, Healy spoke in Saint 10 Florida Times-Union July 6, 1904.

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29 Petersburg on August 23 and August 24. An enthusiastic audience of 200 intently followed both speeches. Healy’s first speech deal t with the Socialist plan for bridging the gulf between capitalists and laborers. His s econd speech was an outline of the evolution of civilization and government. Healy quoted from the Declaration of Independence and contrasted it with the curren t condition of the Am erican government to show the worker’s changed – and degraded – position within industrial society.11 In challenging the economic and social underpinnings of Florida’s southern heritage, the state’s Socialis t Party confronted not only issues of class but also, unavoidably, issues of race, or “the Negro question.” Although the 1901 Unity Convention had given greater priority to the organization of African Americans, “white supremacy” subjected both black and white Soci alists in Florida to the same racist and nativist appeals that had pla gued the state’s Populists a decade earlier. Despite Democratic charges of race-mixing, Florida so cialism was tainted with nearly as much Jim Crowism as the Democracy itself. Florid a locals, like the locals in South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi, were rigidly segregated. In cases where there were insufficient numbers of African American members to form a black local, they were enrolled as members-at-large in the state organization.12 W. R. Healy’s 1903 recruitment efforts among the state’s African American population were typical of the Socialist Party’s approach in Florida. Healy, who was then se rving as the state part y secretary, reported to The Worker that he had organized a colored branch in Orlando with 22 members and had 11 Tampa Tribune August 26, 1904; unfortunately, all that rema ins of Healy’s speech is a very brief notice in the Tampa Tribune, so that it is impossible to explore further the connections Healy drew between the Declaration and the contemporaneous status of the working class. 12 Sally M. Miller, ed., Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Twentieth-Century American Socialism (New York: Garland Press, 1996): 38.

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30 urged all locals in Florida to take up the “w ork of organizing the Negroes” into similar segregated branches.13 Throughout the fall the Socialists persisted in their campaign against capitalism. C. C. Allen, a future Socialist gubernatorial candi date, spoke to the party faithful in Saint Petersburg on October 31. Noting that it was Halloween, Allen warned Democrats that the Socialists were not a “ghost of a party” but rather a viable alternative to the misrule of the incumbent party.14 By November, Florida Socialists were readily anticipating the end of the campaign and expected to receive a large percentage of the state vote. As the campaign progressed, not only Social ists but loyal Democrats as well began to believe in the potential of the party. In the case of Democrats, however, this belief took the form of fear. As the staunchly Democratic Tampa Tribune opined in a late October editorial, “throughout th e rural districts of this se ction, the Social ist party is much stronger than the Republican party and a much more formidable foe of the Democratic party – for Socialism seeks its support from disgruntled Democrats and draws its forces directly from the Democratic ranks. The Soci alist party . is waging a determined war on Democratic nominees.” Calling Socialism “far more menacing to Democracy than Republicanism,” the Tribune went on to criticize its Tampa competitor, the Tampa Times, for printing notices and news about the Socialists at all.15 Reverting to the tactics that served them so well against the Populists a decade earlier, Democrats began to link the specter of increased African American political 13 Philip S. Foner, American Socialism and Black Americans (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977): 131. 14 St. Petersburg Times November 1, 1904. 15 Tampa Tribune, October 27, 1904.

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31 power to any Socialist victory. Their concer n was intensified because Socialists refused to participate in the white primaries, prefer ring instead to oppose the Democratic Party in the general election. The Tampa Tribune warned city residents th at the Socialists were planning to attract to their ra nks “the Negro who were denied participation in the white primaries” in order to win. The newspaper concluded that “no greater calamity could befall the city than the electi on of a Socialist administration, or even a partly Socialist administration.”16 The 1904 election results in Fl orida showed that Eugene Debs received 2,337 votes (5.9 percent) for president. Tom Watson of the Populist Party received 1,605 (4.1 percent) votes. In the race for governor, W. R. Healy garn ered 1,270 votes or 3.4 percent of the votes cast. In the cabinet races, W. C. Green tallied 1,604 votes (5.2 percent) for attorney general, Emil Broberg secured 1,499 vot es (4.9 percent) for comptroller, S. A. Pettigrew attracted 1,432 votes (4.9 percent) fo r agricultural commissioner, J. D. Parrot received 1,279 votes (3.8 percent) for secret ary of state, and Ed Wetzel garnered 1,013 votes (3.4 percent) for state treasurer. The five counties supplying the highest socialist vote in the gubernatorial contest includ ed Hillsborough with 200 votes, Lee 119 votes, Duval 79 votes, St. Johns 79 votes, and Ma natee 73 votes. Counties affording the Socialist nominee more than 5 percent of their total vote included Lee with 25.3 percent, Manatee 9.3 percent, St. Johns 8.8 percent, and Hillsborough 6.8 percent.17 The most surprising result that emerged from the 1904 election returns was the high percentage of Socialist votes obtained in Lee County. Located approximately 125 miles 16 Tampa Tribune October 15, 1904. 17 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1904 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1904).

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32 south of Tampa on the state’s southwest Gulf coast, Lee County recorded vote percentages that rivaled th e Socialist totals reported by Garin Burbank among the southern cotton counties of Oklahoma between 1910 and 1916.18 Lee County’s principal agricultural staple, however, wa s not cotton, but rather wint er vegetables and citrus fruits.19 The county’s farm tenancy rate of 5.5 percent was only a small fraction of the rates described by Burbank in the Oklahoma countryside.20 But the county did possess several of the demographic traits that ch aracterized Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, and Monroe counties. First, like these four counties, Lee’s ec onomic lifeline to the outside world was the sea. Second, Lee had experien ced a population explosio n during the initial decade of the Progressive Era. From 1900 to 1910 the county’s population expanded at a rate of 104.9 percent, five times the nati onal average. But unlike its fellow coastal counties, Lee County’s popul ation growth was only tentatively governed by foreign immigration. With a foreign-born populati on of only 3.7 percent in 1910, the county’s growth was steered more by domestic im migration from the North and Midwest.21 Included among these domestic immigrants wa s a Socialist cooperative religious sect from Chicago known as the Koreshan Unity. Led by Cyrus Reed Teed, their arrival in 1894 would constitute the foundation from wh ich socialism would arise within Lee County. 18 Garin Burbank, When Farmers Voted Red: The Gospel of Socialism in the Oklahoma Countryside, 19101924 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1976): 3-13, 190-208. 19 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914): 634. 20 Third Census of the State of Florida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1906): 191. 21 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 594.

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33 Teed, known as Koresh to his followers was born in 1839 in western New York state. Following service in the Union Arm y, he completed his education at Eclectic Medical College of New York, an institution specializing in herbal medical cures. Unsatisfied with saving lives alone, Teed s oon developed a religious philosophy to save souls as well. His central thesis, cellu lar cosmogony, contended the Earth is a hollow sphere sheltering the entire un iverse. Mankind resided on the in side of the sphere, rather than on the surface of the Earth. The Sun, a gigantic electro-magnet dominating the center of the universe, created daylight by sending positive energy into the walls of the Earth. Night was the result of the Sun drawi ng negative energy back to itself. The Sun, source of all life, was self-perpetuating. God, the source of all spiritual life, followed the same natural laws. Just as the Sun radiated energy earthward, God sent prophets to the Earth. The first six prophets were each succes sively more perfect manifestations of the Son of God. When the seventh prophet appear ed, he would unite with God into one and usher in the millennium. Few of Teed’s flock needed to ask the identity of the seventh prophet. Teed’s search for adherents took him acr oss the “Burned-over District” of New York, westward to Chicago, and finally sout h to Lee County. Settling along the Estero River, Teed actively sought clos e ties with the citizens of Fo rt Myers, eighteen miles to the Koreshan community’s north. For ten ye ars his quest for harmony was fulfilled. Lee County residents simply did not feel threatened by the small band of religious zealots or their unconventional beliefs. As long as the Koreshan membership remained small and Teed refrained from involvement in count y politics, no one rais ed objection to the unorthodox religion. In 1904, following a decade of sustained growth, Teed sought to

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34 incorporate his utopian community and these e fforts led to the Koreshans’ initial conflict with secular Lee County society. Non-Koresh ans in the area bitterly resented being included in a city that was to be based on co llective socialism and they voiced their anger by pouring letters into the Fort Myers New-Press. In the end, the county’s Democratic political establishment sided with the non-Ko reshans and Teed’s incorporation bid was rejected. The Koreshans responded by creating their own newspaper, the American Eagle, and their own political organizati on, the Progressive Liberty Party.22 More than likely, the county’s large So cialist showing in the 1904 gubernatorial election was the result of disgruntled Koresh ans voicing their disp leasure by voting en masse for W. R. Healy. Apparently Koreshan s in Lee County were still in a vindictive mood during the 1908 elections when the Socialis t share of the electo rate grew to 26.7 percent.23 The future of Lee County socialism a nd the Koreshan Unity appeared bright, but that equation was altered with the pa ssing of Cyrus Teed in December 1908. The Koreshan Unity did not collapse immediately following the death of its leader, but its numbers began to dwindle. Likewise, So cialist electoral strength seems to have paralleled the slow demise of the Koreshan s. In 1912 the Socialist percentage of the county’s vote fell to 15.4 percent, in 1916 it was 3.3 percent, and in 1920 a miniscule 1.4 percent.24 22 R. Lyn Rainard, “Conflict Inside the Earth: The Koreshan Unity in Lee County,” Tampa Bay History 2 (Spring/Summer 1981): 5-16; Elliott Mackle, “Cyr us Teed and the Lee County Elections of 1906,” Florida Historical Quarterly 57 (July 1978): 1-18. 23 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1908 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1908). 24 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1912); Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1916 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1916); Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1920 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1920).

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35 The Socialist vote in Florida in 1904 cons isted of party members, dissatisfied industrial workers who would cr oss party lines, and immigrants who held the franchise. The Socialists realized that if they hoped to continue to grow they would have to work, and work they did. Almost as soon as the returns were final, the Socialists began organizing for the 1906 off-year elections. The determination of Florida Socialists would be rewarded in this watershed year with th eir first state-level electoral success. The locale of this newfound success would not be in the industrial and Socialist hotbeds of Hillsborough or Duval counties. Rather, rural and isolated Manatee County would be the electoral port from which the Socialist ship would embark on its voyage across Florida.

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36 CHAPTER 3 ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: ANDREW JACKSON PETTIGREW AND THE RISE OF MANATEE COUNTY SOCIALISM It is almost impossible to imagine th at Manatee County, today a conservative Republican stronghold, ever harbored any Socialists at all. At the turn of the twentieth century, the county remained a bastion of the Confederacy, dominated by its antebellum homes, the Democratic Part y, and a strong white supremacist sentiment. The cigar factories of neighboring Tampa and the timber industries of northern Florida lay a world away from Manatee County, where commercial fishing, cattle herding, and citrus groves breathed economic life into the towns of Brad entown (renamed Bradenton after the First World War) and Sarasota. Still, the citi zens of Manatee County offered a dramatic episode for Socialist advance in Florid a, where from 1906 to 1908 Andrew Jackson Pettigrew represented the county in the Florida House of Representatives as a member of the Socialist Party of America. On June 17, 1904, the Manatee River Journal announced the beginnings of Manatee County socialism in a short notice stating that a So cialist Party organizational meeting would be held at th e county courthouse in Bradento wn, at which a full slate of candidates for county offices would be nominated.1 The meeting turned out to be a “large and enthusiastic conference.” Although it did not nominate candidates as advertised, the meeting chose delegates to a ttend the July 4 state convention in Orlando, 1 Manatee River Journal June 17, 1904.

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37 elected nurseryman Andrew Jackson Pettigre w county chairman and E. D. Barker secretary, made plans to form other locals at Palmetto, Parri sh, and Sarasota, scheduled a county convention for July 28, and passed a reso lution in support of striking miners in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Among those who made short speeches were party activists and future Socialist candidates William Drumwright, Dr. Furman Whitaker, Reverend J. A. Griffes, and J. H. Kinsman. 2 At the state convention, two Manatee County Socialists were selected for statewide duties: Manatee village surveyor Emil Broberg was nominated to run for state comptroller, and E. D. Barker was selected as a presidential elector. At the July 28 county convention, which Socialist gubernator ial candidate W. R. Healy addressed, the local party nominated A. J. Pettigrew for state representative, farmer and apiarist William Drumwright for clerk of circuit court, Palm etto blacksmith J. H. Kinsmsan for county treasurer, cigar maker William Kretschmar for tax assessor, cabinet maker James Felts for school board, clergyman J. A. Griffess fo r school superintendent and John Pettigrew (A. J.’s son) for sheriff.3 A. J. Pettigrew also prepared the party platform, which was read and adopted. The platform pledged “adhere nce to the principles of international Socialism,” including aboliti on of “the present capitalistic and wage system,” national health insurance, old age pensions, aboliti on of child labor, free education, and demanded that “no militia shall be hired to private parties”, i.e., no “Pinkerton” strike breakers.4 2 Manatee River Journal July 1, 1904 3 For a detailed discussion of the backgrounds of Manatee County’s Socialists see Pamela Gibson, “The Practical Dreamers: The Founders of the Socialist Party in Manatee County, Florida, 1904,” (unpublished typescript at the Manatee County Public Library, 1989). 4 Manatee River Journal August 5, 1904.

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38 Manatee County Socialists operated in an environment seemingly hostile to Socialist political activity. The county, w ith a population of 8,830 in 1905, had virtually no manufacturing base, and independent farmers, not tenants, tilled the soil. In addition, the county housed no significant immigran t population and African Americans were largely disfranchised.5 Simply put, Manatee County’s social structure lacked the elements usually thought necessary for Socia list electoral success: an industrial proletariat, displaced agrarian workers, or immigrants guided by radicalism. Yet Pettigrew’s 1906 election victory over John Gr aham, a well-respected Bradentown land speculator, indicates that the party managed to appeal to a much broader constituency than the standard historical profile of intellectua l or industrial worker. National party leaders pinned their aspirations largely on an industrial worki ng-class, but Manatee County’s SPA membership seems to have come primarily from the ranks of skilled craftsman, farmers, professionals, and sma ll businessmen like A. J. Pettigrew. While none of the founding fathers of Manatee County socialism was a large capitalist, neither were any of them known to have a history of i nvolvement in organized labor. Emil Broberg and Dr. Whitaker were bo th well educated professionals. J. A. Felts, John Pettigrew, and William Kretschmar were skilled artisans who owned their own shops. Neither in political background nor in the skill of organizing groups for political action do they resemble the party’s national leaders. Collective ownership of property among them went no further than le nding a helping hand among their extended families. None of these men was known to be in financial straits; they possessed boats, craft shops, farms, a nd professional training. 5 Third Census of the State of Florida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1906): 40, 100, 189, 191, 230-231, 258-260.

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39 Though the Socialists did not gain contro l of Manatee county government in 1904, they did put up a respectable showing. For ex ample, presidential elector E. D. Barker beat the Republican candidate by 33 votes, but trailed the Democratic elector by 468 votes. Most of the other Socialist candidates lost their races by four or five hundred votes. A. J. Pettigrew, however, lost by only 287 votes to incumbent Democrat A. T. Cornwell. Pettigrew secured 31.3 percent of the vote and carried three outlying, rural precincts: Terra Ceia, Sandy, and Venice.6 Born in 1845 in Illinois, Pettigrew was the product of a South Carolinian father and a Kentuckian mother. Shortly before the Civil War, Pettigrew’s family migrated to Kansas and in 1883 he arrived in Manatee Count y. He is not known to have served in the Civil War on either side. Once in Florida at age 38, Pettigrew found employment as a common laborer in an orange grove and us ed his schooner “Cecilia” to operate a small freight-hauling business. He eventually ac cumulated enough wealth to purchase forty acres on Warner’s Bayou, where he built a home, “Carmel,” and engineered the creation of a prosperous citrus nursery.7 Later he would serve lengthy stints on the boards of the Manatee County Orange Growers Association an d the Florida Horticulture Society. In 1889 he was elected president of th e Manatee County Board of Trade.8 But if A. J. Pettigrew won respect by working hard and living in much the same fashion as his Manatee County neighbors, he certainly embraced a far different political philosophy that rejected their unquestioned a llegiance to the Democratic Party. The 6 Manatee River Journal November 18, 1904. 7 Manatee River Journal December 20, 1917; Joe Warner, The Singing River: A History of the People, Places and Events Along the Manatee River (Bradenton: Self-Published, 1986): 10. 8 Manatee River Journal June 27, 1889, August 25, 1889, September 6, 1889, and May 1, 1903.

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40 origins of Pettigrew’s political apostasy and independence are shrouded in mystery. Perhaps his family’s migration to Illinois a nd then Kansas loosened the bonds of the Democratic Party on Pettigrew. Perhaps his apparent lack of invol vement in the Civil War rendered him less susceptible to the blan dishments of the “Lost Cause.” Perhaps, too, his return to the South well after the e nd of Reconstruction rendered him less hostile to African Americans and less defensive of white supremacy. In any event, Pettigrew, who otherwise would have been remembered simply as one of the county’s most successful nurserymen, joined the Socialist Part y and left a far more complex legacy both of accomplishment and failure. Pettigrew’s greatest contribution to Florid a socialism was his upset victory in a state house race in 1906. On March 9, 1906, th e announcements of two-term incumbent state representative A. T. Cornwell and challenger John A. Graham that they would each seek the Democratic nomination for the stat e house seat in Manatee County began the 1906 election season in earnest.9 Soon thereafter, the Social ist Party nominated its 1904 standard-bearer, A. J. Pettigrew, to run for the seat yet again. The outcome, however, was very different than it had been in 1904 and signaled, at least for that season, broad dissatisfaction with the politic s of business as usual. By 1906, Cornwell had lived in Manatee County for over twenty years, having come there in 1885 with his wife and son for h ealth reasons. His h ealth apparently soon restored, in the spring of 1886 Cornwell built a large gothic home in Bradentown. By 1906, two-term incumbent Cornwell was an experienced Manatee County politico, having previously been elected Bradentown’s first mayor, and serving stints as county 9 Manatee River Journal, March 9, 1906.

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41 judge and county school board member. To ear n a living, Cornwell dabbl ed in real estate and insurance. For a short time he even owned and operated the Manatee River Journal .10 In his matter-of-fact announcement, Co rnwell pronounced his first legislative term “satisfactory,” and promised to “devote [his] energies to all that is for the best interests of my people, my motto being ‘equa l rights to all and special favors to none.’”11 John A. Graham was the son of Judge E dgar Malcome Graham, a noted judge for many years in south Florida. Graham, who grew up in Manatee C ounty, moved away to seek his fortune not long after he graduated from high school. For a number of years, he resided in the northern part of the state, where he obtained considerable experience in varied business lines. He later became a fi nancier, obtaining options on timber land throughout Florida. He created a wide intere st among wealthy Chicagoans and others to make investments in Florida.12 Graham’s greatest contri bution to Manatee County was probably his introduction of electric power to the county, for he opened an electric generating plant during the Christmas holid ays of 1903. Announcing his candidacy with greater enthusiasm than Cornwell, Graham emphasized that he was “a birthright Democrat, having consistently supported the straight Democr atic ticket at all elections ever since I was twenty-one years of age” and that he had “extensive property interests in the community.”13 Two weeks following his announcement, Graham conducted his first campaign rally at the Central Hotel in Manate e village. In his prepared statement, 10 Joseph Herman Simpson, “A History of Manatee County, Florida” (unpublished typescript at the Manatee County Library, 1915). 11 Manatee River Journal March 9, 1906. 12 Lillie B. McDuffie, The Lures of Manatee (Bradenton: B. McDuffie Fletcher, 1961): 307. 13 Manatee River Journal March 9, 1906.

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42 Graham again stressed his business acumen and numerous contacts within state government. Even though the women of Flor ida had not yet attain ed the franchise, Graham made a special appeal fo r the support of the women present.14 Cornwell, in a circular letter to the voters of the county, laid out his claims for reelection, relying heavily on his incumbency. Cornwell argued that an incumbent was necessarily more “competent” than a new member, and specifically took credit for introducing laws that enlarg ed the county commission’s pow ers to make contracts to build public drainage, and that cured certain informalities in the execution of deeds, mortgages, and other conveyances.15 Graham, at speaking engagements throughout the county, began to hammer away at Cornwell's claims for re-election. Graham attacked Cornwell’s claim of “competency” by contrasting Cornwell, a mere member of the State House, with Cornwell Gibbons and future Governor Park Trammell, members who had managed to attain the highest positions in the legislature during their first terms. Graham also attacked Cornwell's alleged legislative accomplishments, contendi ng that the drainage construction law was passed and amended by others in 1899 and 1901, and that the conveyances law was a financial windfall for Cornwell and his business associates and of little benefit to the poor of Manatee County.16 Cornwell, who repeatedly refused to debate Graham, did little to refute Graham's charges. Finally, on April 20, less than a month before the primary election, Cornwell published a letter in the Manatee River Journal defending his legislative record but 14 Manatee River Journal March 23, 1906. 15 Manatee River Journal April 20, 1906. 16 Manatee River Journal April 27, 1906.

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43 offering little that was new.17 Graham responded a week later by publishing an open letter addressed to Cornwell in the same publi cation. In his letter, Graham issued fifteen challenges or "business proposit ions," to Cornwell, mainly regarding Graham’s earlier attacks on Cornwell’s accomplishments. Fo remost among Graham's challenges was the “demand that you meet me face-to-face before the people and make a full and explicit answer to these questions.”18 Cornwell's response to Graham's ultimatum was to do nothing. May 15, the day of the Democratic primar y, dawned clear and warm in Manatee County. The polls were open from 8:30 a.m. to sunset. No problems were reported and the election process went off without a hitch. In an upset victory, Graham carried eight of the fourteen precincts and defeated Cornwell 410 to 357, or 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.19 Confident that victory in the Democrat ic Primary was tantamount to victory in November, on June 1, five months before the general election, Graham announced his intention to become a candidate for th e speakership of the State House of Representatives. Jumping on the bandwagon of the politics of business as usual, the Manatee River Journal’s enthusiastic endorsement of Graham's bid echoed the Democratic nominee’s campaign themes by emphasizing his business background, stating that “Mr. Graham is perhaps one of the best known businessmen in Florida, the past twenty years having been spent hand ling lands and large milling and manufacturing enterprises which have brought him prominently to the front as a businessman and in 17 Manatee River Journal April 20, 1906. 18 Manatee River Journal April 27, 1906. 19 Manatee River Journal May 18, 1906.

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44 contact with the business interests of the state, giving him a large acquaintance in every county, all of which will go to strengthe n him in his race [for house speaker].”20 Nevertheless, close analysis of Graham 's triumph in the Democratic primary reveals critical weaknesses in his support. Of the six precincts that Graham lost, four were in the outlying rural areas, where Graham lost by more than a two-to-one margin. In 1904, these same four precincts were the source of the Manatee Socialists’ greatest voting strength. Thus, Graham was weakes t precisely where the Socialists were strongest. Further, in 1904 Pettigrew had carri ed his home precinct of Manatee, so these five precincts gave A. J. Pettigrew an established electoral base upon which to draw in his impending electoral batt le against John Graham.21 The same week of March that Graham he ld his first rally, W. J. Drumwright, chairman of the Manatee County Socialist Pa rty, issued a call for a mass convention of the party for the purpose of nominating a full county ticket and a candidate for representative to the state le gislature. In his announcemen t, Drumwright argued that the voters of Manatee County could no longer depend on the old parties to enact and enforce just laws in the interest of the majority of the people. To Drumwright, it was clearly apparent that both the old parties were dom inated by capitalist politicians and the only alternative for Manatee County voters was to identify themselves with the one truly democratic party, the Socialist Party. The chai rman also contended that it was absolutely false to represent the Socialist Party as merely destructive, intending to overthrow society, and appealing to the brute passion of the masses. For Drumwright, just the 20 Manatee River Journal, June 1, 1906. 21 Manatee River Journal May 26, 1906.

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45 opposite was true, because “our Socialist Party wants to maintain our culture and civilization and bring it to a higher level. Our party want s to guard this nation from destruction. We appeal to the best in every man, to the public spirit of the citizen, to his love of wife and children. Therefore we agitate for the organization of the producers — the masses.”22 On April 21, at the courthouse in Braden town, the Socialist Party of Manatee County held its convention. A. J. Pettigrew, the party’s candidate for state house in 1904, was unanimously nominated to run yet again for the seat held by A. T. Cornwell. As for local offices, William Kretschmar was nomin ated by acclamation for the office of tax assessor, J. A. Felts and A. D. Cowart secured nods for county commissioner, and the convention chose Dr. Furman Whitaker and O. T. Lindsley for school board seats. Pettigrew then announced that the secretary, with the assistance of other comrades, had prepared a platform for the Socialist Pa rty of Manatee County. After being read, the platform was unanimously adopted. The pl atform contended that “monopolies and the private ownership of our indus tries and public utilities ha ve become unendurable and must be abolished. To continue the presen t system means the e nd of the Republic and death to our democracy. Neither of the two old parties propose a change. . The Socialist Party is the only part y that can and will and is pledged to make the necessary changes, therefore we ask all those who do the world's work with hands and brain, to read about and study socialism, learn its ai ms and purposes and vote its ticket.”23 22 Manatee River Journal March 23, 1906. 23 Manatee River Journal April 27, 1906.

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46 After the reading and adoption of the plat form, an earnest discussion ensued among the delegates concerning the "Colorado a nd Idaho outrage." The convention passed a resolution condemning the "unparalleled out rage perpetrated by the capitalist mine owners to railroad innocent officials of or ganized labor to death." Following several congratulatory speeches on the very rapid progres s of socialism and the anticipation of its early dominance everywhere, the convention adjourned.24 Pettigrew soon began to sense that the divisiveness of the Democratic primary might create an opening for himself and his party. Lacking the resources of their opponents, Pettigrew and the Socialists used th e public media to get their message out. On May 4, little more than a week before th e Democratic primary, and just three days after the internationa l socialist holiday of May Day, Pettigrew published an 800-word open letter to the voters of Manatee County in the Manatee River Journal .25 Acknowledging that little privation existed in Manatee County, Pettigrew argued that “the cause of our socialism is education, th e correct knowledge of existing facts, and a clear understanding of th e justice and righteousness of our cause.”26 To foster such knowledge and understanding, Pettigrew advanced a critique of class power in America based partly on republican ideology and partly on Marxian socialism, and proposed both immediate reforms and a long-term radical restructuring of the American political economy. 24 Manatee River Journal April 27, 1906. 25 The full text of Pettigrew’s letter is set forth at Appendix C. 26 Manatee River Journal May 4, 1906.

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47 Pettigrew’s letter echoed the language a nd tradition of republican ideology, especially its “anti-monopoly” criticism of privat e capture of government privileges.27 In this vein, Pettigrew contended that a “small minority have acquired most of the wealth, own the machinery of production and distri bution, own and contro l the government, make, interpret and administer the laws a nd powers in their own interests, and are necessarily largely against the interests of all others.” More striki ngly, he concluded the letter by predicting “that boodlers, grafters, a nd corporations seeki ng special privileges and unfair advantages through legi slation shall not be glad th at you voted for the Socialist candidates.” Finally, Pettigrew explicitly e quated the goal of socia list reorganization of society with the “co-operative commonwealt h,” a term used by nineteenth-century radicals, including the Populis ts of the 1890s, as well as contemporary socialists like Eugene Debs.28 Nevertheless, Pettigrew seemed equally at home in the language of Marxianinspired socialism. He explained that “under the capitalist system a majority of us must sell ourselves by the hour, day, month and year to the capitalist owne rs of the means of production and distribution in order to live, and often a very meagre sustenance under most miserable conditions.” The remedy fo r this, Pettigrew maintained, was not mere reform as advocated by the Democrats and Repu blicans; instead, “the present inequalities and injustices cannot be permanently abolishe d without removing the cause, which is the private ownership of the necessary means of lif e.” Reference to “capitalist owners of the 27 On the use of this tradition by the leadin g Socialist of the era see Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982): 151-156, 191-195. 28 Manatee River Journal May 4, 1906.

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48 means of production” and the necessity of a bolishing their “private ownership” placed Pettigrew outside the republican tradition and firmly within the intellectual heritage of socialist thought.29 In terms of policy, Pettigrew did not shy away from the im plications of his socialist beliefs, and explicitly advocated the “t he collective ownership and democratic management of all public utilities and all i ndustries now in the hands of the trust and combines.” More immediately, he set fort h a list of more limite d reforms, including shorter working hours, higher wages, public ed ucation to age eightee n, abolition of child labor, “equal political and civi l rights for men and women,” construction of public works and frugal management of Manatee County’s budget.30 Outside of Manatee County, muckraking journalist Claude L'Engle began to publicly question, to Pettigrew’s advantage, the ethics and legality of several of Graham's business dealings in north Florida. L'Engle wa s no newcomer to the political wars. Born and educated in Jacksonville, L'Engle worked first in the mercantile business, and, after living in the North, became interested in jour nalism. Upon his return to Jacksonville, he founded a weekly newspaper, the Florida Sun, which began publica tion in January 1903. In November 1903, the newspaper became a daily, but soon ceased publication because of financial difficulties. He started the Sun again in Tallahassee on June 23, 1906, and continued to publish it for two more years.31 29 Manatee River Journal May 4, 1906. 30 Manatee River Journal May 4, 1906. 31 Joel Weeb Eastman, "Claude L'Engle, Florida Muckraker," The Florida Historical Quarterly 45 (January 1967): 244.

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49 L'Engle was one of a galaxy of American journalists who wrote exposs of the corrupt alliance of business a nd politics during the Progressive Era. His first expos in December 1905 was an attack on the naval stores trust operating out of Savannah, Georgia, and the relations of a Jacksonvill e export company with it. He attacked legalized land-grabbing by buying up tax titles. Included among his vi ctims were trusts in beef, groceries, electricit y, and ice. He favored a progr essive income and inheritance tax, the direct primary, municipal ownership of public utilities, and conservation; he opposed child labor. Yet, he showed considerab le independence in his views, rather than following the national muckraker pattern. He supported organized labor and favored immigration, the latter reflecting the state's need for settlers. Unlike most muckrakers, he opposed Theodore Roosevelt. This may have been mere partisanship, but it may have sprung from his opposition to African American s with whom he felt Roosevelt was being too friendly.32 L'Engle was able to contract with sixty ne wspapers in the state to sell combination subscriptions, and when the Sun reappeared in 1906 in Tallahassee, it claimed the largest circulation in Florida, fifty percent more th an any other publication. L'Engle boasted that the Sun was “the state paper. It is more widely read, more carefully read, oftener quoted, and wields more influence than any other publication whatsoever, that is circulated among Floridians.”33 While the Sun did lead the state in paid subscribers and newsstand sales, the paper gradually became less a newspaper and more a magazine, although 32 Charlton W. Tebeau, A History of Florida (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1971): 338-339. 33 Joel Weeb Eastman, "Claude L'Engle, Florida Muckraker," 242.

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50 L'Engle continued to call it a newspaper. News was a minor part of the publication’s contents, and was generally limited to little mo re than a summary of the week's events. The bulk of the sixteen-page paper was devoted to articles, editorials, cartoons, serials, stories, and poems. There were also column s devoted to agriculture, women's interests, and editorial opinion from other Florida papers.34 Politics and government were major and cons istent areas of interest for Claude L'Engle. He advocated elect ing only "good men" to office to assure the successful operation of representative government. The Sun printed the names of the men L'Engle believed were not suited for public office and those he felt had allied themselves too closely with corporate wealth. Some politicians felt the sting of the Sun's criticism at election time, and others enj oyed its support. John Graham would become perhaps the most prominent victim of the Sun's withering heat. In the June 30, 1906, edition of the Tallahassee Sun, L'Engle charged that Graham had "swindled" Dr. J. C. L'Engle (Claude L’E ngle’s uncle) of Jacksonville "out of a large sum of money in past transactions," and that he still owed the money to Dr. L'Engle, who had been unable to secure its payment.35 In a July 7 cover stor y written by L'Engle, the Sun accused Graham of having "swindled" Jame s Gates of Milwaukee "out of a large sum of money in past land tr ansactions in Liberty County."36 L'Engle continued his relentless assault on Graham in the July 14 edition of the Sun, charging that Graham, 34 William T. Cash, History of the Democratic Party in Florida (Tallahassee: Florida Democratic Historical Foundation, 1936): 120. 35 Tallahassee Sun June 30, 1906. 36 Tallahassee Sun July 7, 1906.

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51 "while doing business out of St. Marks, Fl orida several years ago swindled George Register, W.K. Hines and W.F. Linten."37 In the July 21 edition of the Sun, L'Engle argued that Graham "swindled and defra uded" the people of Liberty County by conspiring not to pay land transaction fees.38 L'Engle closed out his July assault on Graham by accusing him of having "swindled" Judge W. B. Owen of Jacksonville by forging his endorsement to certain deeds and notes.39 On August 3, Graham vented his fury at L'Engle's accusations by filing suit in circuit court for libel, demanding $30,000 in da mages. Joe Humphries, editor of the Manatee River Journal made it clear where he stood on th e issue when he wrote that “It is a great pity that a gentleman of high sta nding and an honorable citi zen has to enter into a legal controversy to protect his reputation against such unwarranted and libelous attacks as have appeared in the Sun [whose] columns are filled with a class of matter that should be prohibited from passing through the United States mails.”40 L'Engle responded to Graham's libel suit by labeling the Democratic nominee as nothing more than a "crook." In August, L'Engle urged the voters of Mana tee County to reject Graham's candidacy, and he publicly endorsed A. J. Pettigrew for the House seat.41 Graham, perhaps sensing that his electi on bid was quickly unraveling, decided to submit the matter of his competency to be the Democratic nominee to the county 37 Tallahassee Sun July 14, 1906. 38 Tallahassee Sun July 21, 1906. 39 Tallahassee Sun July 28, 1906. 40 Manatee River Journal August 3, 1906. 41 Tallahassee Sun August 5, 1906.

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52 Democratic Executive Committee. On A ugust 8, the county Democratic Executive Committee met at the courthouse in Bradentown to resolve the issue. In addition to the committee, fifty or sixty Manatee County ci tizens were also in attendance. The committee, attempting to get to the heart of the matter, even re quested a communication from L'Engle stating his charges. The Sun's Editor replied by sending copies of all the charges he had published.42 After reading the L'Engle communication, Gr aham was given the floor to reply. As a prelude, Graham stated that he came gladly before the Democratic Executive Committee, and was more than pleased to see such a large number of Manatee citizens and Democrats present. He then reiterated that he had nothing to keep from anybody, but wanted everyone to know and hear what he ha d to say. Graham added that if he was unable to prove his innocence by facts and docum entary evidence, he would not stand in the way of the success of the party. Graham then challenged the committee to do with him as it saw fit following the presentation of his evidence. In closing, the embattled Democratic standard-bearer demanded that if the evidence proved his innocence, he expected the committee to say so in unmist akable language and to back him up as the party nominee. Graham then took up the charges that had been leveled against him by the Sun, first reading in full the several editorials as published. After each charge Graham submitted evidence to repudiate his alleged actions. As each document, letter and certified copy was read by Graham, he turned the pages over to the committee secretary and asked anyone present to come forward a nd read them for themselves. 42 Manatee River Journal August 10, 1906.

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53 Following Graham's presentation the co mmittee went into executive session. Within minutes the executive committee voted unanimously to exonerate Graham of all the charges and to condemn th e authenticity of th e articles that had appeared in the Sun. The executive committee then ordered the campaign committee to draft the necessary resolutions carrying out the will of the executive committee.43 While the Graham-L'Engle war of char ges and counter-charges raged, A. J. Pettigrew continued his low-profile and met hodical campaign. He spent most of the campaign speaking one -onone or to sma ll groups of Manatee County voters. On November 3, the Saturday before election day, Manatee County Socialists held their only major campaign rally at the courthouse in Bradentown in front of a crowd of one hundred. All the Socialist candidates spoke, with Pettigrew the last and featured speaker. Pettigrew's speech centered on his dream of a Socialist worker's Utopia. He stressed the unfairness of the present system that was dominated by the unethical alliance of large corporations and corr upt politicians. His solution was to elect good, ethical men to public office, especially if they carrie d the Socialist banner. He made no direct reference to John Graham's woes, but he di d acknowledge Claude L'Engle's endorsement of his candidacy.44 Meanwhile, Graham, either rejuvenated by th e vote of support from the Democratic Executive Committee or spurred on by fear for his political life, embarked on an 43 Manatee River Journal, August 17, 1906. The issue was finally settled on October 14, 1907, when Graham’s libel suit against L'Engle was heard. Following a day-long trial, the jury deliberated less than an hour and returned a verdict of not liable, exonerating Claude L'Engle of the libel charge. Manatee River Journal October 18, 1907. 44 Manatee River Journal November 9, 1906.

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54 ambitious campaign schedule covering much of the county. In the penultimate week of the campaign, Graham spoke twice in Myakka, in Dry Prairie, in Parrish, and at the school houses in Sandy, Albritton, Gillette, Terra Ceia, Ellenton, and Englewood. During the final week, Graham concentrated on engage ments held at Cortez, Palmetto, Manatee, Bradentown, Bee Ridge, and Sarasota.45 On November 2, the Manatee County Demo cratic Executive Committee, fearing a Socialist victory in the impe nding election, issued a plea for Democratic solidarity in the effort to “put to flight the enemy, who is stri ving at this time to so w discord in the party ranks.” The Committee further emphasized the risk of being represented by a third-party politician, arguing that, “Manatee County will ha ve important interests to be looked after during the session of the legi slature next year, and that body, being almost solidly Democratic, those interests can best be l ooked after by a Democratic representative.”46 Democrats apparently did not limit their opposition to the Socialists to verbal assaults. A week before the election, a “rock throwing mob attacked a socialist meeting at Terra Ceia,” a report confirmed by the Tampa Daily Times, but disputed by the Manatee River Journal, which admitted only that “some small boys peppered the house with acorns.”47 In either event, someone was throwing something at the Socialist meeting. The Monday before the election Manatee County was engulfed by the first cold front of the season. By Tuesday the skies were clear and the vot ers of Manatee County 45 Manatee River Journal October 12, 1906. 46 Manatee River Journal November 2, 1906. 47 Brad Alan Paul, “Rebels of th e New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920,” (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 125.

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55 journeying to the polls were greeted by cool and sunny weather. By mid-evening the election returns were tallied and it was appa rent that the Democratic-feared Socialist conquest of Manatee County had not materializ ed. In the race for county tax assessor, William Kretschmar was crushed by H. S. Dark by a margin of 650 to 81. The school board races witnessed the overwhelming def eats of Dr. Furman Whitaker and O. T. Lindsey. Whitaker was bested by his Demo cratic opponent by a margin of 368 to 187 and Lindsey fell by a count of 409 to 63.48 However, a ray of hope did filter down through the ruins of the Socialist defeat. The Manatee River Journal described the source of this hope when it wrote, "The re al contest, however, in Manatee County, was between Graham and Pettigrew for the legislature, in which Pettigrew has by the returns, a small but safe majority."49 Pettigrew had, in fact, defeated John Grah am by a margin of 395 to 363, or 52.1 to 47.9 percent. While Graham won narrow ma jorities in Bradentown, Manatee, and Sarasota, the county’s three largest communitie s, Pettigrew pieced together a victory by drawing votes largely from the outlying citrus -growing and cattle-ranching precincts of Terra Ceia, Ellenton, Palmetto, Mitchellsville, and Oak Hill.50 Included among the seven Pettigrew precincts were the four rural precin cts in which A. T. Cornwell had bested John Graham by large margins in the May Democratic primary. These precincts were also the same precincts that gave the Socialist candi dates their highest vote totals in 1904. In 48 Manatee River Journal December 7, 1906. 49 Manatee River Journal November 9, 1906. 50 Manatee River Journal November 9, 1906.

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56 Manatee County, socialist electoral strength was centered in the rural, outlying areas, while Democrat Graham carried the towns. This electoral analysis undermines the explanation of Pettigrew’s victory, advanced by such Florida historians as W. T. Cash, Jo el Eastman, and Charlton Tebeau, as merely a protest vote in response to the anti-Graha m campaign orchestrated by Claude L’Engle.51 Their interpretation cannot account for the ge ographical distribution of the Petitgrew vote. Historian Brad Alan Paul, however, co mes closer to the mark when he contends that “the notion that the Tallahassee Sun, a newspaper published some three-hundred miles to the north, could single handedly in fluence Manatee County’s voting behavior seems improbable.” Contending that L’Engl es’ own self-congratulatory writings on the subject influenced the assessments of Cash, Eastman, and Tebeau, Paul argues that “more important to Pettigrew’s success were the concerns of farmers, ranchers, and small businessmen that their livelihood may have been adversely affected by ‘progressive boosters’ and land specu lators such as John Graham.” To Paul, Manatee County’s craftsmen and citrus growers responded to the anti-monopoly strand of Pettigrew’s socialism as a means to safeguard their labor, land, and social status from the domination of large capital and outside interests.52 Another factor underlying Pettigrew's vict ory not sufficiently emphasized by Paul was the character and political savvy of the man himself. Other than Eugene Debs, Pettigrew was the only Socialist in Florida to appear on a state-wide ballot more than 51 William T. Cash, History of the Democratic Party in Florida, 121; Joel Weeb Eastman, “Claude L’Engle, Florida Muckraker, ” 248; Charlton Tebeau, A History of Florida, 340. 52 Brad Alan Paul, “Rebels of the New South” 126-128.

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57 once. Within Manatee County, Pettigrew was the only Socialist ever to win an election or ever to carry even a pr ecinct and he accomplished this feat in three out of four elections between 1904 and 1912. He narrowly lost his home precinct only once, in 1906 by a single vote. In his four electoral campaigns, Pettigrew's vote totals were always at least twice as much as any other Manatee C ounty Socialist. While this situation boded well for Pettigrew as a candidate, it did not bode well for the Manatee Socialist Party as a whole. Joe Humphries, editor of the Manatee River Journal explained the party's predicament when he wrote: The relative strength of the two parties is an interesti ng feature of the election, on account of the success of one of the Socialist candidates, but when the vote is sifted, it will be seen that it was not a question of party but one of candidates. Viewing the situation in this light, we can see nothing to encourage the Socialists of the county to ever hope to accomplish anythi ng politically, nor to ever claim more strength than they developed in the election two years ago.53 Unfortunately for Manatee County Social ists, Humphries prediction would ring true. In the 1908 elections they managed to field a candidate for every county race, but were unable to find candidates for the state House and Senate slots.54 The year 1912 would find the Manatee Socialists capable of fielding only three candidates for county offices. In neither of these elections did a Socialist candidate come close to winning. By the 1916 elections, the Manatee County Socialis t Party had ceased to exist at all. If Pettigrew’s election provided Manatee Soci alists with a faint hope of creating the cooperative commonwealth, his lone session in Tallahassee, despite some progressive achievements, revealed the limitations of el ectoral politics. In a session dominated by 53 Manatee River Journal December 7, 1906. 54 Manatee River Journal September 4, 1908.

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58 Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward’s plan to drain the Everglades and a corruption scandal involving the Internal Improvement Fund, Pettigrew was an active participant in the proceedings.55 Mirroring the national party’s legislative age nda, Pettigrew introduced resolutions for the direct election of United St ates Senators and a federal income tax, both of which would be adopted at the national leve l within a decade. His most controversial offering was a bill to radically restructure the jury system. He proposed that verdicts be decided on a majority basis: on a jury of twel ve, nine votes would be required to render a verdict, while a jury of six would require four votes. All the above bills died in committee and never made it to the House floor for a vote. Pettigrew also pushed for a wide-ranging system of popular initiative and referendum that surprisingly made it out of committee, but failed to attract the three-four ths majority needed to pass the full House.56 Pettigrew’s tenure in the legislature undoubt edly advanced the cause of certain reform initiatives, including his support of la ws regulating child labor, railroad license taxes, and some temperance laws. Opinions, however, were varied on the effectiveness of his time in Tallahassee. Writing in 1961, Manatee County historian Lillie B. McDuffie observed that “A. J. Pettigrew, re presentative from Manatee County and the only Socialist in the last legislature, came in for many jibes and sneers from his fellow legislators.”57 At the other extreme, Pettigrew’s old friend Claude L’Engle was quite impressed with the Manatee C ounty Socialist’s performance: “Do not fail to remember that Mr. Pettigrew, the member from Manate e County, has made good in the legislature. 55 For coverage of the 1907 legislative session see the Tallahassee Sun April 1 through May 23, 1907. 56 Journal of the Florida House of Representatives of the Session of 1907, (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1907): 449, 591, 727, 900, and 1285. 57 Lillie B. McDuffie, The Lures of Manatee, 311.

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59 He represents a minority of one politically, but the majority has been with him several times on matters of interest to the state.”58 Pettigrew, himself, was quite pleased by his own performance. Writing in the Tallahassee Sun, Pettigrew noted that “my study of socialism lends me to look for good and I hoped to get acquainted with good men and help them pass good laws and defeat those not good. Here is where my hopes were most realized. I feel that my attendance in Tallaha ssee was not in vain. I am sure I helped in the cause of good government.”59 A.J. Pettigrew’s political career did not end with his service in the 1907 legislature. In 1908 he was the Socialist standard-bearer for governor and in 1912 their nominee for agricultural commissioner. In neither race he was able to duplic ate his 1906 success. Following his defeat in 1912, he re tired from politics. By a quirk of ironic fate, Pettigrew, who died in 1917, outlived the Manat ee County Socialist Party by a year. 58 Tallahassee Sun June 1, 1907. 59 Tallahassee Sun June 22, 1907.

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60 CHAPTER 4 HIGH NOON OF FLORIDA SOCIAL ISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1908 AND 1912 Florida Socialists were optimistic follow ing the 1906 off-year election. The period between campaigns served as an instructiona l and learning opportunity for Socialist Party members. The urban locals continued to conduc t their weekly meetings The rural locals could not meet every week, especially during the harvest season, but they were expected never to exceed a month between meetings Discussions and lectures on Socialist ideology remained at the heart of local meetings. Dues continued to be collected during the non-election years. Socialists also began a drive to educat e the people of Florida on the merits of socialism. More street meetings were held. More speeches were made and more letters were sent to the state’s newspapers attempti ng to cast the Socialist platform in a more favorable light. Typical of these letters wa s one sent by J. D. Bennett, Secretary of the Escambia County Socialist Party, to the editor of the Pensacola Journal. Bennett noted that workers received only one-eighth of th e benefit of their production and he called owners and non-laborers nothing more than thie ves. He added that “if the government can build warships, operate na vy yards and conduct a college, why could it not raise pigs, run a dairy or conduc t a kindergarten?”1 Through letters like Bennett’s, Florida Socialists attempted to gain additional public acceptance and recognition. 1 Pensacola Journal October 18, 1908.

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61 On July 4, 1908, the second state conventi on of the Socialist Party of America convened in Tampa. The sixty delegates – at least one from every county in the state – elected George Mendenhall chai rman of the convention. The fact that delegates were present from every county demonstrated that the Socialists had succeeded in developing a truly statewide organization. The convention selected A. J. Pettigrew as the party’s nominee for governor, and A. C. Sill of Ruskin for secretary of state. Other cabinet nominees included Charles Meitin for comptro ller, A. B. Kimball of Volusia County for treasurer, Marion County’s Charles Schneider for commissioner of agriculture, and Mrs. S. F. J. Linn of Eustis for superintendent of schools. The convention failed to nominate anyone for attorney general. The conventi on also chose candidates for Florida’s five presidential electors and three congressional districts.2 During the preceding four years, Florida Socialists had made positive and visible gains they could celebrate at their convention. These incl uded Socialist-based immigrant hospitals in Tampa, public ownership of the water works in Pensacola and the election of Pettigrew to the state house.3 Henry L. Drake of Saint Petersburg, the state secretary and a well known ex-newspaperman, announced a la rger dues-paying membership than the state party had ever had before. A. N. Jack son, a delegate from Jacksonville, noted that party membership in Duval County had more than tripled during the past year. The larger membership rolls were a reason for optimism, and it was this hope that led to a 2 Tampa Tribune July 5, 1908; Florida Times-Union, September 6, 1908. 3 Gary Mormino and George Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987): 175-209; Pensacola Journal July 3, 1908.

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62 motion to hold future state conventions earlier in the year in order to allow the candidates for state offices more time to tr avel and campaign throughout the state.4 Partly because of the increased activit y by the locals and partly because of increasing membership, Florida Socialists were hopeful about their prospects in the upcoming election. The most popular campai gn forum remained the street meetings sponsored by the various county locals. Pettigrew was one of the most appealing speakers at these campaign gatherings. On Oc tober 10, he spoke at a street meeting in Saint Petersburg, where he argued that there was “no need to fear socialism unless you fear yourself, as the Socialists propose that a majority of th e men and women shall have a voice in every change of all public affairs.” He claimed that the percentage of the Socialist vote in Florida was the seventh highest in the Un ites States, and he closed by concluding that “the man who votes the So cialist ticket doesn’t throw his vote away because he votes for right and justice, a nd against exploitation, poverty, war and the present bad system.”5 When locals were unable to provide an a ppealing speaker, general discussions were often the means of attracting large crowds. The Florida Times-Union as well as other newspapers, often advertised that the Socialist street m eeting would feature a general discussion in which the public was invited to participate. Anothe r method of attracting the public to these Socialist meetings wa s by having special outings and picnics. Throughout the 1908 campaign, for example, th e Jacksonville local sponsored monthly 4 Pensacola Journal July 10, 1908. 5 St. Petersburg Times October 14, 1908.

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63 excursions to Green Cove Springs.6 Locals in Hillsborough, Escambia, and Duval counties not only provided support for the pa rty’s statewide candidates, they also continued their aggressive policy of nominating a full sl ate of candidates for county offices as well.7 Though some Florida newspapers printed So cialist notices, the Florida press was overwhelmingly Democratic, and as the So cialists gained strength in 1908, this Democratic press grew increasingly caustic in its criticisms. For example, the Florida Times Union accused Duval County Socialists of “be lieving in gnawing away at the vitals of Democracy.”8 In defending the Democratic Party from Republican charges of socialist leanings, the Times-Union contended that socialism aime d at “nothing less than the complete overturn of the existing industrial sy stem; the end of credit, interest, rent and profit; the destruction of all private property in factories, mines, railroads, [and] telegraphs.”9 Florida’s other leading Democratic newspaper, the Tampa Tribune, sounded a similar note when it reprinted an es say by processed food ma gnate C. W. Post entitled, “They’re After You,” which warned re aders that Socialists intended to seize even the property of homeowners.10 Contending that the “La bor-Socialists” sought to seize the property, including thei r homes, of the thrifty, in order to give it to those who were “unthrifty, drinking profligate or simply ‘f ailures,’” Post and the Tribune argued 6 Florida Times-Union August 16, 1908. 7 Tampa Tribune May 2, 1908; Pensacola Journal July 30, 1908; Florida Times-Union September 8, 1908. 8 Florida Times-Union September 6, 1908. 9 Florida Times-Union August 25, 1908. 10 Tampa Tribune March 17, 1908.

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64 that “this is a contest betw een the unthrifty ‘class’ tryi ng to wrest money, property and power from the homeowning ‘class.’”11 By invoking the “homeowner” and charging the Socialists were out to seize homes, Democrat s attempted to use scare tactics against the Socialists, to divide from them those sma ll property holders, like A. J. Pettigrew, who often supported them. Despite growing attacks on the part of the Democratic press, the 1908 election returns reveal that the persistent efforts of Florida Socialists had paid off. The party’s electoral strength increased in number as well as percentage of the total vote in Florida. Eugene Debs, Socialist candidate for pres ident, received a tota l of 3,747 votes or 7.6 percent. Debs attracted a third as many votes as William Howard Taft, the Republican nominee, and bested Taft in four countie s: Lee, Manatee, Monroe, and Suwannee. Debs’s largest vote totals came from Hillsborough, Escambia, Monroe, Duval, and Suwannee counties. He garnered 1,410 more votes in 1908 than he had received 1904, an increase of 37.6 percent. Pettigrew ran only slightly behind Debs, receiving 2,427 votes, or 5.8 percent. Counties that provided Pettigrew with at le ast 100 votes included Hillsborough with 376, Monroe 192, Suwannee 152, Escambia 131, Lee 123, Manatee 120, DeSoto 110, and Jackson 104. Counties affording Pettigrew w ith at least 10 percent of their total vote included Lee with 26.7 percen t, Monroe 19.0 percent, Suwannee 17.6 percent, Manatee 14.9 percent, Taylor 12.5 percent, Hillsbo rough 10.5 percent, and Baker 10.1 percent. Pettigrew defeated the Republican nominee in Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, and Suwannee counties. In the state cabinet ra ces, Charles Meitin received 1,977 votes (5.2 11 Tampa Tribune March 17, 1908;

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65 percent) for state comptroller, A. C. Sill garnered 2,182 votes (5.7 percent) for secretary of state, Charles Schneider attracted 2,626 votes (7.8 percent) for agricultural commissioner, A. B. Kimball received 3,528 vot es (9.9 percent) for state treasurer, and Mrs. S. F. J. Linn garnered 3,952 votes ( 10.4 percent) for superintendent of schools.12 Linn’s candidacy marked the first appearan ce of a woman on a statewide ballot in Florida political hist ory. Her 10.4 percent share of th e vote remains to this day the highest percentage ever attained by a Florid a Socialist in a statewide race. Historian Sally Miller contends that the only type of position for which the Socialist Party turned regularly to women nominees was in the field of educat ion. In 1908, the Socialists nominated thirteen women among its 271 candida tes in state races, and of that number, eight, including Linn, were candidates for s uperintendencies of schools. In 1910, of sixteen of 255 Socialist candidates for stat e-level public office were women, half of whom ran for educational posts. Linn, a La ke County schoolteacher, seems to fit nicely within the Socialist women’s sphere that Miller describes.13 Socialist strength in Hillsborough County, hom e of Tampa’s Socialist cigar makers, was enhanced by the formation in 1908 of Rusk in, a Socialist college town located in southern Hillsborough County. This cooperativ e colony was the brainchild of George McAnelly Miller, a former Chicago college professor and lawyer. Born in 1857, Miller had previously been president of two Ruskin Colleges, the first in Missouri, and the second in Illinois. Both were innovative, Socia list workers’ colleges wi th short histories. 12 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1908 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1908.) 13 Sally Miller, ed., Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Twentieth-Century American Socialism (New York: Garland Press, 1996): 102.

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66 Strained relationships with th eir adjacent communities, coupled with internal strife, had led to the colleges’ demise. Based on the educational ideals of British Socialist John Ruskin, the Florida college provided courses toward a bachelor of arts degree to anyone willing to work for it. Ruskin believed that higher education should be readily available to the working class, and that the social ills of the Industrial Revolution could be eliminated only through the education of the masses. Laboring men and women could lift them selves up, but not out of, their own class in society by being trained in both agricultural and industrial skills. Ruskin believed not only in the education of the intellect, but also emphasized the character-building aspects of higher education. To Ruskin, the cultivation of emotions and the development of a more intimate rela tionship with nature were more important than the mere acquisition of knowledge. A ccording to Ruskin, a student should engage nature not as a mere spectator, but more li ke a painter would w ith watercolors and a canvass. Ruskin maintained that all student s should be required to do something with their hands, for through manual labor they prepared to become productive working members of the community. With these ideals in mind, Miller began developing the Florida college. Funding was procured from a ten-percent surcharge le veled on all sales of colony land. The first college structures were dormitories fashione d out of rough, unplaned yellow pine. There was one concrete-block classroom and the pr esent-day Ruskin Women’s Club served as the main classroom facility. The curriculum offered three years of preparatory work and four years of college-level st udies. Art, drama, language, literature, music, social sciences, and speech were among the academic offerings. Needy students could earn

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67 their tuition and board by laboring on the college’s twenty-acre farm. The students’ schedule was broken into three periods: Four hours of study, four hours of classes, and four hours of work. At its peak, Ru skin College had a student body of 160. As utopian as Ruskin College seemed, many of its students became disillusioned with its tedious rural isolati on. The urban pleasures of the big city prompted many of the students to drift away. World War I emptie d the college of most of its remaining young adults. The men were drafted, and the women took jobs in war-related industries. In 1918 a disastrous fire swept through the campus and the college was closed. The final blow to the college came in August 1919, when Miller died suddenly while on a lecture tour to recruit sett lers and students for the Socialist colony.14 Across Tampa Bay from Ruskin, in what was still (until 1911) Hillsborough County, another center of Socialist strength emerged from the 1910 off-year elections in the small town of Gulfport. Gulfport toda y is a working-class and retiree community with a thriving fine arts scene, surrounded by the urban sprawl of Saint Petersburg. It is best known nationally as the home of Florid a’s oldest law school, Stetson University College of Law. But in 1910, nestled on the banks of Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport was a small village of fishermen and ship builder s. Gulfport was incorporated on October 12, 1910, in the Gulf Casino located on the dock of the Electric Railroad Company. Quite unlike the New South envisioned by the likes of Hamilton Disston and Henry Flagler, the founders of Gulfport embraced a distinctly di fferent vision. Of those citizens who had 14 Lori Robinson and Bill DeYoung, “Socialism in the Sunshine: The Roots of Ruskin, Florida,” Tampa Bay History 4 (Spring/Summer 1982): 5-20.

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68 voted for incorporation, several, including the elected mayor and the majority of the city council, were members of the Florida Socialist Party.15 At the same incorporation meeting, Elmer E. Wintersgill captured 75 percent of the vote and became the municipality’s first mayor A. L. Stefanski, Lester Wintersgill, Joshua White, Henry Slaughter, and Henry Weathe rs were nominated for the city council. Lacking any opposition, they were elected by ac clamation. Of the five council members, only Stefanski was not a memb er of the Socialist Party.16 Elmer Wintersgill and his brother Lester had migrated to Gulfport from Jacksonville in 1907. Ship builders by vocation, the brothers engaged in myriad en deavors from farming and real estate to operating a ferry to the neighboring barrier is land of Pass-A-Grille. Other Gulfport party members included city Alderman Joshua White a grocer and ship builder, and council member Henry Slaughter, a farmer and sailo r born in Madison County. Henry Weathers, a Georgia native, arrived in Gulfport in 1901. In between, he worked as a circus performer, fought in the Span ish-American War, and was employed as a carpenter and millwright.17 Much like their fellow Socialists in Manatee County, the immediate world of Gulfport shaped the local party’s interpretation of socialism. Still, the town’s pastoral ideals were increasingly threatened as it str uggled with the pressures brought on by a land boom in Saint Petersburg and the growing i ndustrialization underway across the bay in Tampa. Against this backdrop, Gulfport’s So cialists accepted the region’s transformation 15 Gulfport Historical Society, Our Story of Gulfport, Florida (Gulfport: Gulfport Historical Society, 1985): 17, 25, 79. 16 Our Story of Gulfport, Florida, 81. 17 Brad Alan Paul, “Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920,” (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 112-113.

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69 and did not reject the area’s growth out-of-hand, but rather sought to channel it as a source for their own prosperity. Wintersgil l’s administration oversaw the expansion of the city’s water works, extension of rail lines to Saint Petersburg, and the creation of a Citizen’s Ice and Cold Storage facility.18 For Gulfport Socialists, positive progress was limited to the types of growth that ensured more wealth se cured in the hands of local citizens. Gulfport socialists understood socia lism as a force to protect the people against the onslaught of industrializati on, uncontrolled growth, and “out side booster” influence. Brad Alan Paul contends that Gulfport So cialists viewed socialism as “a means to maintain their independence from the corrupti ng influence of capitalism. Theirs was a socialism dedicated to maintaining an existing order not overthrowing one.”19 In light of these positive developments in the Tampa Bay area, and buoyed by their electoral successes at the local and county le vels, many Florida Social ists anxiously eyed the election of 1912 as their best opportunity yet to capture a statewide office. With the growth of the party amid the contemporary social conditions, many true believers were convinced that the 1912 election would us her in the long anti cipated cooperative commonwealth. Capitalizing on this enthusia sm, the Socialists began their campaign meetings earlier in the year. On January 25, Hillsborough C ounty Socialists held a mass meeting in Tampa to adopt a platform for the upcoming municipal elections. The public was invited to attend, but only pa rty members were allowed to participate in the platform debates.20 A month following this meeting, on Februa ry 22, the Socialists gathered at the 18 Our Story of Gulfport, Florida, 17-25. 19 Paul, “Rebels of the New South,” 114-115. 20 Tampa Tribune January 25, 1912

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70 Tampa local’s headquarters on Florid a Avenue to name a city ticket.21 At the same time, Pinellas County Socialists nominated candidate s for the offices of state representative, county judge, sheriff, county treasurer, superintendent, school board, and county commissioner.22 On May 20, the Socialists of Ma rion County held their convention in Ocala, where they adopted the 1908 platform with a few amendments, and nominated a full slate of candidates for the county ticket.23 The third state Socialist convention, which convened in Ocala on August 30, 1912, was the culmination of the county conventions This convention elected D. G. Robinson of Tampa as chairman and E. E. Loomis of Palatka as convention secretary, and adopted the platform committee report, which varied little from the 1908 pl atform. The state committee was authorized to appoint a campai gn committee of three to assist the state secretary, A. N. Jackson of Jacksonville. The Florida Times-Union reported “loud cheers greeted the announcement of a visi t to this state in the near future of vice presidential candidate Emil Seidel.”24 The convention next nominate d the state ticket, deciding on Thomas Cox of Jacksonville for governor, Fred Lincoln Pattison for secretary of state, Abner D. Miller of Ruskin for attorney general, David Dunham of Saint Augustine for comptroller, Karl Harter of Tampa for stat e treasurer, W. C. Edwards of Sebastian for superintendent of schools, and A. J. Pett igrew for commissioner of agriculture. Nominations were also made for all four of the state’s congressional districts.25 21 Tampa Tribune February 22, 1912. 22 St. Petersburg Times February 22, 1912. 23 Florida Times-Union May 22, 1912. 24 Florida Times-Union September 2, 1912. 25 Florida Times-Union September 2, 1912.

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71 Florida Socialists approached the impe nding campaign with the idea of reaching out to their less educated br ethren, and decided to adopt a new style of oratory. The national office suggested that Socialist speak ers omit so-called “nine syllable words.” Following this policy perhaps a bit too liter ally, Walter Millard, who spoke in Tampa on March 3, 1912, changed the title of his speech from “Economic Determinism” to “Why Things Happen to Happen.”26 Another method of arousing the interests of the masses was the Socialist Lyceum course. The Lyceu m course consisted of having a number of traveling comrades conduct a seri es of lectures on varying as pects of socialism. Typical of these Lyceum lectures was one given by Lena Morrow Lewis in Tampa on March 24, 1912. Lewis, speaking on the subject of “Soc ialists at Work,” was described by the Tampa Tribune as being “possessed of an unusually fine voice, a liber al education, and fortified by years of experien ce upon the platform” and she “s tands in the very front rank of American orators.” While the Lyceum cour se was an integral part of the non-election year’s activity, it was usually discontinued in election years by the end of March when the formal lecture series was replaced by the street meetings, debate s, and rallies typical of election years.27 The highlight of the 1912 campaign for Florida Socialists was the appearance in Tampa and Jacksonville of Emil Seidel, the pa rty’s vice presidential candidate. Speaking in Jacksonville on September 13, Seidel char acterized the Socialis t Party’s opposition to the other parties: “The Republican Party stands for things as they are; it wants no change. The Democratic Party stands for anything old; it wants the office. The Progressive Party 26 Tampa Tribune March 3, 1912. 27 Tampa Tribune March 24, 1912 and October 11, 1912.

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72 stands for honesty on a platform of stolen planks. The Prohibition Party can only see poverty when there is a beer sign in sight.”28 Reflecting that at least some of the Socialist Party’s optimism was realistic, Democrats in 1912 expressed greater fear of the Socialists than of th e Republicans. T. R. Safford, a Democratic resident of Ruskin, claimed that a deputy sheriff, who was a Socialist, was registering new residents who did not qualify to vote. The deputy allegedly was conducting his regi stration efforts to assure that these new voters supported the Socialist candidates. Safford also charge d that the deputy was going to preside at the Ruskin polls, and with the ai d of other Ruskin Socialists he was going to declare the polling place a Socialist poll a nd thereby deny Ruskin Democrat s the opportunity to vote in the election.29 Hillsborough County Democrats used these allegations, whatever their merits, to take matters in their own hands – not an unc ommon occurrence in the era shortly after the disfranchisement of African American voters. In the final days before the June municipal elections, the Tampa Tribune once again invoked the necessi ty of maintaining white supremacy. The Tribune claimed that “the Socialists have used every effort to secure the interest of the negro voters in their ticket and have been poi nting out to them that they ought to vote their ticket in re taliation for the actions of wh ite citizens in establishing a white primary, which destroyed negro influence in municipal elections and eliminated the black balance of power which for so long opera ted to the detriment of clean politics in 28 Florida Times-Union September 14, 1912. 29 Tampa Tribune April 3, 1912.

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73 this city.”30 Democrats backed up their words with actions, as at least three Tampa polling stations witnessed violence directed at Socialists or th eir supporters, and at two of these, Socialist candidates Franklin Pimble y, a deputy sheriff, and C. C. Allen, were beaten and jailed.31 Despite the white primary and voter intim idation, voter part icipation in the 1912 election was heavier th an anticipated. The Tampa Tribune attributed the large turnout to the heated rivalry between the Democrats and th e Socialists. T. A. Saffold’s worst fears were realized as Ruskin voted overwhelmingly Socialist. In the city of Gulfport, Mayor Wintersgill was reelected by a large margin and the composition of the city council remained at four Socialists to one Democrat.32 Despite the fact that Woodrow Wilson, a native Southerner, occupied the top of the Democratic ticket, 4,806 Floridians voted for Eugene Debs, the Socialist standard-bearer. Debs received 9.3 percent of the total Florida vote and ran ahead of Republican incumbent President William Howard Taft by 527 votes. Debs’s increase of 1,059 votes in 1912 represented a 22 percent jump over his 1908 totals.33 Commenting on Debs’s performance, the Florida Times-Union noted that “we are now to recognize th e fact that the Socialists are strong enough to command consideration in Florida. We hope they will ma ke their theories felt in the dispensation of the government hereafter.”34 30 Tampa Tribune June 1, 1912. 31 Tampa Tribune June 5, 1912. 32 Tampa Tribune November 8, 1912. 33 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1912). 34 Florida Times-Union November 23, 1912.

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74 Thomas Cox, Socialist candidate for gover nor, received 3,467 votes (7.2 percent). Counties that supplied Cox with at least 100 votes included Hillsborough with 554, Polk 238, Duval 173, Suwannee 173, Dade 171, Washi ngton 141, Jackson 136, Pinellas 125, Monroe 120, Lee 105, and Escambia 100. Coun ties in which Cox tallied at least 10 percent of the total vote included Polk w ith 16.6 percent, Suwannee 16.4 percent, Lee 15.4 percent, Hillsborough 14.8 percent, Calhoun 14.8 percent, Washington 13.5 percent, Brevard 11.4 percent, and Monroe 10.1 percent. In the state cabinet races the Socialists also made respectable showings. W. C. Edwa rds received 3,843 votes (8.9 percent) for superintendent of schools, David D unham tallied 3,680 votes (8.6 percent) for comptroller, A. J. Pettigrew attracted 3,521 votes (8.5 percent) for commissioner of agriculture, Abner D. M iller garnered 3,493 votes (8.4 percen t) for attorney general, Fred Lincoln Pattison received 3,327 votes (7.6 percent) for secretary of state, and Karl Harter attracted 2,573 votes (6.3 percent) for state treasurer. Edwards, Pettigrew, and Pattison beat their Republican opponents and finish ed second behind the Democratic winners.35 According to historian George Green, the 1912 Florida Socialist vote was the result of a short-run combination of Populist remnan ts, insecure timber workers, hard-pressed white tenant farmers, and foreign-born radicals.36 Although the Socialis t vote in the 1912 gubernatorial contest tends to support Green’s description of the Socialist coalition, Green failed to account for the contributions re ndered to the Socialist cause by Florida’s phosphate miners. Polk County, home to th ese struggling miners, supplied Thomas Cox’s gubernatorial bid with its highest vote percentage in any Florida county and trailed 35 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912. 36 George N. Green, “Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912,” (Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 133-134.

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75 only Hillsborough County in the tota l number of Socialist votes.37 Calhoun County, which had supported the Populist gubernator ial candidate in 1892 and 1896, coupled with Washington County, which had done the same in 1892, represented the Populist remnants of Cox’s Socialist coalition. The largest industry in Ca lhoun, Jackson, and Washington counties was the production of turpentine and rosin. The naval stores industry employed 95.1 percent of Washington County’s industr ial workers, 92.2 percent in Calhoun County, and 60.2 percent in Jackson County. The lumber and timber industry was the largest employer in Suwannee and Dade counties, employing 56.8 percent of Suwannee’s wage earners and 35.2 percent of Dade’s wage earners.38 Escambia County was the export and processing center for north Florid a’s two timber industries. Agitated timber workers from the above counties also contri buted votes to Cox’s gubernatorial quest. White tenant farmers in Jackson and Suwa nnee counties, which contained the state’s highest and third highest white tenancy rate s, joined with timber workers in their respective counties to aid Cox’s cause.39 The bulwark Socialist counties of Hillsborough, Monroe, and Duval counties provided Cox with his foreign-born radical base. Rounding out Cox’s Socialist contingent was Pinellas C ounty, home to the nativeborn Socialists of Gulfport, and Lee County, whose Socialist stre ngth derived from the declining ranks of the Koreshan Unity. If Florida Socialists had con tinued to maintain the electoral growth rates that they had achieved between 1904 and 1912 they woul d have supplanted the Republicans as the 37 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912. 38 The Third Census of the State of Florida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1906): 269, 273, 284-285, 299-300, 303. 39 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914): 629, 631.

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76 state’s second major political party. Even tually, perhaps, they might have even threatened the Democrats’ hold on Florida’s political culture. World War I and its complications ended that dream, whatever s ubstance it might ever have had. Florida Socialists, by achieving such a large vot e in 1912, sealed their destiny and only quickened their dissolution. Thei r increasing political influenc e dictated that one of the major parties, in order to maintain their status, had to a dopt some of the Socialist planks. Most party members did not comprehend this fact. They thought that socialism would continue to spread and secure victories in futu re elections. In the end, the election year of 1912 proved not to be the year of the long an ticipated cooperative commonwealth, a year destined never to arrive for Florida Socialists.

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77 CHAPTER 5 SUNSET OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1916 AND 1920 The election results of 1912 constituted “the Socialist moment of exultation,” and, given the large numbers of voters who chose the Progressive Party ticket nationwide – voters whom many Socialists regarded as pot ential converts to socialism – Socialists around the country felt quite justified in beli eving that the potential of their movement was limitless.1 Florida Socialists shared in this moment of optimism. Anticipating further successes after the heady numbers achie ved in 1912, Florida Socialists continued their weekly meetings just as they had following previous elec tions, and likewise resumed their instructional classes and Lyceum l ecture series. Reflective of this Socialist confidence was the December 1912 speech of Georgia Socialist organizer Max Wilk, who praised the party faithful in St. Pe tersburg for their achievements in 1912, and exhorted them that a more concentrated effo rt could attain even greater successes in 1916.2 Between 1912 and 1916, Florida Socialists s ought to expand their ranks through a variety of political and philosophical strate gies. In the political realm, many Florida locals took an active interest in the publication of a part y-owned newspaper called the Florida Beacon At its inception in 1913, the Beacon’s circulation corresponded to 1 Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982): 265. 2 St. Petersburg Times, December 4, 1912.

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78 roughly half of the Socialis t statewide vote of 1912, but ci rculation declined steadily, leading to the newspaper’s bankruptc y within a year. Following the Beacon’s demise, Charles T. Bailey of Bartow attempted to publish another Socialist organ, the Sledge Hammer, but circulation woes similar to the Beacon’s problems also undid Bailey’s tabloid.3 The difficulties Florida Socialists encountered in their endeavors to establish Socialist media were reflective of a larg er national trend. Between 1912 and 1916, the nationwide Socialist press decreased by some 18 percent, a rate 50 percent greater than the contemporaneous rate of general press decline.4 Philosophically, many Florida Socialists rebe lled against religious conformity just as they rebelled against political and economic orthodoxy. By the same token, many Florida Socialists migrated to the party b ecause capitalism had offended their Christian beliefs, rather than because of exposure to dial ectical materialism. Christian Socialists in Florida, like their comrades in Oklahoma and Texas, attempted to use the electoral arena, the press, and the pulpit to develop common ground between their political ideology and the values of the Christian faith.5 Manatee County Socialists nominated and ran a Presbyterian minister, J. A. Griffess, for school superintendent in 1904.6 In 1908, the St. Petersburg Times, though a Democratic newspaper, published a short essay by local Socialist M. C. Mohr on Christianity and Soci alism. Mohr argued th at “as the essence of 3 George N. Green, “Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912,” (Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 127. 4 James Weinstein, “Socialism’s Hidden Heritage : Scholarship Reinforces Political Mythology,” Studies on the Left 3 (Fall 1963): 96-97. 5 James Green, Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978): 151-175. 6 Manatee River Journal August 5, 1904 and November 25, 1906.

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79 Christianity is love for man and God, it must stand for all that is good, just and righteous in our relations man to man. As Socialism stands for these very principles, Socialism and Christianity are in perfect harmony a nd complementary, the one to the other!”7 In that same year, Reverend Thomas Calloway, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pensacola, drew a large congregation to his church with the announcement of his sermon topic, “The Problem of the Unemployed.” Calloway pr aised Christian Socialism, which was “earnestly seeking after the right solution to the problem of the unemployed and the oppressed.”8 Similar efforts continued in th e years between 1912 and 1916, but bore little fruit for the Socialist Party. Despite their difficulties in establishing a party press and formulating a popular synthesis between socialism w ith Christianity, Florida So cialists nevertheless proved more successful than their na tional counterparts in attract ing new members. Between 1913 and 1914, party membership increased from 560 to 696 dues-paying members, a gain of 24.3 percent. Ironical ly, Florida’s increase occurred even while membership in the national party was suffering a steep d ecline. Between 1914 and 1915, the national enrollment decreased by 20,626 members, a lo ss of 20 percent, ow ing largely to the national party’s expulsion of the Industrial Workers of the World.9 Between 1912 and 1916, international events also presented serious philosophical issues for Socialists in Florida, as well as nationwide. In the late summer of 1914, Americans were stunned to read in their news papers that seemingly civilized Europe was 7 St. Petersburg Times, January 15, 1908. 8 Pensacola Journal February 25, 1908. 9 Gerald Friedberg, “The Socialist Party of America: Decline an d Fall, 1914-1918,” Studies on the Left 4 (Summer 1964): 80, 82.

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80 descending into the abyss of continent-wide war. One by one, the European nations declared war upon one another. First, it was some obscure Balkan countries, about which most Americans knew little and cared less. Soon, Austria and Germany, then Russia and France, and finally Britain entered the war. Americans were bewildered by the rapid and disastrous passage of events. American Socialists were just as confused about the European war as the rest of their fellow countrymen. Embroiled in its own internal strugg les for party power, concerned mainly with purely domestic pr oblems, and having the faith of a younger brother in the Socialist part ies of Europe, the Socialist Party of America was poorly prepared for the outbreak of war. In Augus t 1914, the party blamed the start of the war on the European “ruling classes” and pledge d its support to “the Socialist parties of Europe in any measures they may think it ne cessary to undertake to advance the cause of peace and good-will among men.” Therein lay the problem for American Socialists: European Socialists had failed to prevent the war. Indeed, most of the European Socialists actively supported th eir nation's war efforts. American Socialists found that the constituents of the Second International were just as bellicose as the “capitalist parties.” How to explain this paradox wa s beyond the ability of American Socialists.10 While this issue would play a crucial role in the future br eakup of the national party, it appears not to have constituted a major conf lict in Florida, at least not before the elections of 1916. On April 26, 1916, Florida Socialists held th eir fourth state conve ntion in Tampa. They did not realize it at the time, but this would be the last stat e convention that the Florida Socialist Party would ever convene. Ruskin’s C. C. Allen was selected as the 10 David Shannon, The Socialist Party of America (New York: MacMillan, 1955): 82.

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81 party’s nominee for governor and R. L. Goodw in of Jacksonville was tabbed as the party’s candidate for the United States Senate Nominees for the state cabinet included Abner D. Miller of Ruskin for attorney gene ral, Angelo Leto of Tampa for comptroller, and Tampa’s Karl Harter for state treasurer. For the first time since its birth, however, the Florida Socialist Party failed to nominate a complete slate of candidates for statewide office. Florida Socialists were unable to fi nd candidates for the offices of secretary of state, superintendent of schools, and agricultural commissioner.11 The lack of candidates was a sign that the future did not bode we ll for the sunshine state’s Socialists. As in previous election years, Florida So cialists continued th eir pattern of holding street meetings, open debates, picnics, and ma ss rallies. For example, Florida Socialists held a major campaign rally in Tampa on Ma y 31, 1916. Karl Harter, the Socialist candidate for state treasurer (who was also running for mayor of Tampa), was the major speaker. Harter pleaded with his audience to work hard during the campaign to increase Socialist vote totals.12 On June 2, the Socialists also held rallies at Desoto Park and Palmetto Beach.13 On September 10, the Jacksonville local held a picnic -termed “a great success” – to raise donations for Euge ne Debs, who was running for Congress from Indiana’s Fifth District.14 In July the state executive committee of th e Socialist Party held a business meeting in Jacksonville to discuss and formulat e campaign strategy. The executive committee adopted, with minor additions, the same pl atform for 1916 that it had in 1912. The 11 Tampa Tribune April 27, 1916. 12 Tampa Tribune June 1, 1916. 13 Tampa Tribune, June 4, 1916. 14 Florida Times-Union September 11, 1916.

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82 additional planks called for the election of th e president and vice pr esident by direct vote and pensions for mothers. The committee al so attempted to persuade Allan L. Benson, the Socialist presidential candidate, to speak in Florida.15 Benson’s trip to Florida never materialized, another foreboding sign for the party’s future. Although Florida Socialists conducted their 1916 campaign as they had in previous years, the results of that campaign proved u tterly – and disastrously – different. Allen Benson, the party’s presidential candidate received 4,316 votes or 5.2 percent of Florida’s totals. Benson’s count represents a decline of 490 votes from Debs’ 1912 vote totals and a 10.2 percent decrease from the 1912 Socialist presidential vote. In Florida’s first direct election of a United States Senato r, R. L. Goodwin attracted 3,304 votes or 4.7 percent of the totals.16 C. C. Allen received 2,470 votes (3 percen t) for governor. Allen’s tally reflected a decrease of 997 votes when compared with Thomas Cox’s 1912 totals. Allen’s 1916 decrease in support represented a declin e of 29 percent from the 1912 Cox vote. Counties that supplied Allen with at l east 100 votes included Hillsborough with 175, Duval 174, Polk 147, Monroe 125, Dade 111, Vo lusia 106, Palm Beach 105, and Pinellas 101. Counties furnishing Allen with at least 5 percent of their vote included Palm Beach with 7.8 percent, Monroe 7.3 percent, Bay 6.4 percent, Broward 6.4 percent, Osceola 5.8 percent, Calhoun 5.3 percent, Suwannee 5.2 pe rcent, and Washington 5.0 percent. Socialist cabinet candidates also endured dec lines in their electoral support. Abner D. Miller garnered 4,993 votes (8 percent) for attorney genera l, Karl Harter received 4,232 15 Florida Times-Union July 13, 1916. 16 Report of the Florida Secretary of State 1916 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1916).

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83 votes (6.6 percent) for state treasurer, and A ngelo Leto garnered 3,403 votes (5.4 percent) for comptroller. All of these candidates, incl uding C.C. Allen, finished dead last in their respective races.17 Florida Socialists were shocked by the results of the 1916 elections. An even greater shockwave would rock the party, how ever, in April 1917 with American entry into the Great War. By early 1917, Ameri can Socialists found themselves facing the same dilemma their European comrades had: how to reconcile socialist ideology, which held that the war was the result of international capitalism, with their own feelings of patriotism and love of country. They str uggled to decide how to react as the nation approached war. In March 1917, after the German navy resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, the Socialist Party of America called an emergenc y convention to determine its policy in the event the United States abandone d neutrality. By the time the two hundred delegates met at the Planters Hotel in St. L ouis, however, they were confronted with war as a fait accompli. President Woodrow Wilson and the Congress had beaten them by just one day, for Congress had passed a war re solution with an easy majority. The convention quickly learned that a great majority of the delegates strongly opposed the war, and decided to oppose it regard less of the consequen ces. In response to these sentiments, the convention adopted th e St. Louis Proclamation, by a vote of about three to one. The Proclamation called on Soci alists to pursue “continuous, active, and public opposition to the war, through dem onstrations, mass petitions, opposition to military conscription, sale of war bonds, and taxes on the necessities of life.”18 17 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1916 18 Shannon, The Socialist Party of America, 93, 96.

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84 Perhaps the stand of the Socialist Party would have been different had it known the consequences that would befall its members dur ing the war. In April 1917, the Socialist Party did not fully comprehend what it might mean to be a dissenter in a total war. The party also failed to envision just what degree of madness war-enraged people are capable of. American Socialists soon found out. Although the federal government was by no means a bulwark for the preservation of civil liberties, mob action and the anti-Socialist measures of state and local officials probably hurt the party more than Congress and the Wilson Administ ration. Socialists had no recourse in law against mob action, for the law itself was being amended to seriously restrict Socialist act ivities. Soon after the declaration of war, seven states, including Florida, passed laws abridging freed om of speech and press. In June 1917, the federal government followed suit by adopting the Espionage Act, which granted the federal government the power to censor newspa pers, ban them from the mails, and punish obstruction of the draft with fines up to $10,000 and twenty years imprisonment. Through prosecutions and convictions of such individuals as Victor Berger and Eugene Debs, the federal government deprived the Soci alist Party of some of its most forceful leaders and inhibited the actions of many others.19 The Florida Socialist Party proved no mo re adept at avoiding governmental and conservative hysteria than the national or ganization did. At no time were Florida Socialists more on the defensive than dur ing the World War I period. The April 1917 entry of the United States into the Great War resulted in a great quandary for Florida Socialists. They faced the dilemma of oppos ing the war and being labeled traitors, or 19 Shannon, The Socialist Party of America 110.

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85 supporting the war and fighting their fellow comrad es in the Second International. As the months of war continued, as the war-inspire d nationalism intensified, Socialist strength in Florida faltered before the onslaught of hostile public opinion. Socialists throughout the state encountered difficulty renting meeting halls, had their meetings broken-up by local police and patriotic vigilantes, and suffered economic discrimination from anti-Socialist employers.20 No blind obedience to American patriotis m characterized Florida’s Socialists during World War I. The war was not popular with party members, nor among Tampa’s draft-age Latins – many of them radicals. Indeed, by late May 1917, many draft eligible young men were voting with their feet by atte mpting to leave the country via the busy port of Tampa.21 This placed Governor Sidney J. Catts, who had opposed American entry into the war, in something of a dilemm a. Nevertheless, Catts decided to stem the tide of fleeing potential draftees by ordering deputies to inspect all ships leaving Tampa for foreign countries.22 Finally, in the fall of 1918, the Allied armi es began to force the Kaiser's armies back, and mutinies and strikes broke out behi nd the German lines. On November 11, the German government agreed to an armistice, and the four-year war was over. American Socialists, including those in Florida, had little reason to celebrate on November 11, 1918. The war and war temper had not ki lled the party, bu t had weakened it substantially. The party's pr ess was impotent, many leaders were in prison or on their 20 Brad Alan Paul, Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920 (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 197-199. 21 Tampa Tribune May 23, 1917. 22 Tampa Tribune May 31, 1917.

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86 way, internal strife was more intense than it had ever been, relations with organized labor were more strained, and the hostility of la rge segments of the public was greater than ever. American Socialists would have had even less reason to celebrate the armistice could they have foreseen what the immediate future held for them. The worst was yet to come. During the war, prosecutors and persecut ors of Socialists just ified their actions on the grounds that Socialist opposition to the war endangered the nati on. After the war, conservative political reaction to the Russian Revolution of November 1917 – the world’s first successful socialist revol ution – provided the justificatio n for political repression of the left. After November 1917, the more unr estrained members of the American right persecuted Socialists merely because they were Socialists, and the end of the war intensified, rather than dimi nished, anti-radical hysteria.23 Federal and state authorities monitored Socialist activities with scrupulous attention, as they saturated So cialist strongholds such as Tampa’s Ybor City with agents and informants. The file drawers of the Bur eau of Investigation reveal an unmistakable pattern of government espionage, establishm ent violence, and deep paranoia over the "Ybor City Problem." One federal agent repor ted “that the Italian Spanish colonies of West Tampa and Ybor City, Florida are the most advanced towards the ‘Social Revolution.’ I could say they have established here a Soviet on a small scale. I have the impression of being in Russia.”24 Indeed, Special agent A.V. French worried about the possibilities for widespread violence, reporting that Tamp a residents expressed their 23 Shannon, The Socialist Party of America 121-122. 24 Gary R. Mormino and George Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987): 158-159.

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87 willingness to forget law and order and take matters in their own hands. One impassioned letter to the Bureau of Investiga tion reflected the sort of hostility to the Tampa left to which French referred This irate citizen claimed that: Socialists discouraged enlistments in our Army and Navy and aided those who wanted to evade the draft by giving them money to leave the country. After the armistice, these men affiliated themselves with anarchists from Spain, Cuba, and New York, and with Bolsheviki of Russi a. These men were interested in doing bodily harm to our president. They also tried to bring about a race riot by inciting the negroes against the whites. They ar e also responsible for various strikes.25 As always, the anti-Socialist cause incite d Tampa’s elite, one of whom, former mayor M. E. Gillet, wrote to Special Agent Frank Burke, explaining that: A committee of prominent businessmen ha ve requested me to write you and if possible get you to send us a man, prefer ably a Latin who can get into the good graces of the ring leaders here and get us a correct list of the undesirables. We will do the rest. A number of years ago we depor ted a bunch of agitators to an island off the coast of Honduras. Wish to God that th e rest of them were all in the same place.26 More concretely, local leaders itched to make a test case out of the 1919 May Day rally in Ybor City. Local police arrested individuals caught pos ting notices of the gathering, and on the appointed day city offici als called in the National Guard to break up the May Day rally itself. After dispersing a small crowd, troops drilled for three hours "with shining guns and bayonets" near several la rge factories in an effort to intimidate workers. One Socialist leader lamented: Gone and forgotten are the beautiful daydr eams of how wonderfu l and beautiful the world would be when the German Kaiser had been put out of business. Now, a greater struggle and more suffering.27 25 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City, 156. 26 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City 159. 27 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City 160.

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88 The deportations, seizures, confiscation of records, closing of meeting halls, and intimidation of leaders seriously weakened the Tampa Socialists, and with them, the Florida Socialist Party as a whole. Florid a Socialists paid a heavy price for their opposition to the war and involuntary associa tion with the Bolshevik Revolution. Not only did the government greatly increase its su rveillance and control, but the hostility of the state's general population rose to new heights. The Soci alist locals in particular, perhaps because of their visibility and size, increasingly felt the pressure of negative public opinion. By the time of the 1920 elections the Florid a Socialist Party was little more than a hollow shell of its former self. The nu mber of dues-paying party members had plummeted to fewer than one hundred.28 For the first time since 1904, either out of fear of reprisal or lack of interest, Florida Socialists did not hold a state convention to nominate candidates for statewide office. In fact, Florida Socialis ts could find only two candidates willing to sacrifice themselves in a bid for state office. Dr. Furman Whitaker, a founding father of the Manatee County Soci alist Party, showed once again his party loyalty when he volunteered to become the Soci alists’ gubernatorial candidate. When he announced his bid to become one of Florida's two United States Senators, M. J. Martin became the Socialist Party's othe r political sacrificial lamb.29 The 1920 election returns in Florida merely confirmed what many knowledgeable party members had long suspected: the Flor ida Socialist Party was for all practical purposes dead. Eugene Debs, campaigning from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, 28 Tampa Tribun e, October 29, 1920. 29 Tampa Tribune, September 16, 1920.

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89 received 5,189 votes or 3.3 per cent of Florida's pr esidential votes. Debs’s vote total represented a 65 percent decrea se from the 9.3 percent he received in 1912. This decline in vote percentage occurred ev en though the total number of votes that Debs received increased by 383.30 Whitaker received 2,823 votes (2.1 percent) for governor. In contrast, 1912 Socialist gubernatorial candida te Thomas Cox received 3,467 votes or 7.2 percent. Whitaker's vote totals represen t a decrease of 56 pe rcent from 1912. The counties affording Whitaker at least 100 vot es included Hillsborough with 523, Escambia 194, Dade 189, Duval 186, Polk 166, Manatee 113, Volusia 106, and Monroe 104. Counties furnishing Whitaker with at least 4.5 percent of their vote included Flagler with 14.6 percent, Broward 6.4 percent, Monroe 6.3 percent, Washington 6.0 percent, Hillsborough 4.7 percent, Suwannee 4.7 percent, Manatee 4.6 percent, and Escambia 4.5 percent. In the race for the United States Se nate, M. J. Martin r eceived 3,525 votes or 2.5 percent of the total.31 The Socialist Party of Florida, after a short but dramatic life, was no more. 30 This anomaly is explained by the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, which was ratified only weeks before the election. The effect of woman suffrage, of course, was to double the size of the Florida electorate si nce the last general election. 31 Report of the Secretary of State. 1920 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1920).

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90 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION: AN AUTOPSY OF THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY By the election of 1920, under the impact of socialist revolutio ns in central and eastern Europe, American Socialists had di vided beyond the point of ever being capable of reunion. The postwar “Red Scare” waned considerably after th e election of 1920, and Socialists began to be accorded their civil rights. By that time, however, neither the Socialist Party nor the other parties of the left were pot ent enough to give nightmares even to the most apprehensive conservative. By the time of the next resurgence of leftwing politics in American life during the 1930s, th e parties of the left played a decidedly secondary role. Similarly, the 1920 election eff ectively marked the end of an active Socialist Party in Florida. While the failure of the Florid a Socialist Party was directly related to the party's stance on America's participation in Wo rld War I, the erosion of Socialist support actually began much earlier. Historian Geor ge Green traces the origins of the party's decline in Florida to the peri od shortly after the election of 1912. Even as early as 1912, he argues, several factors emerged that woul d weaken the Socialist Party over the coming years. He contends that the withdrawal of support for Socialist programs by old-line progressive Democratic politic os, the disintegration of farm support owing to relative prosperity, Woodrow Wilson's appeal to intellectuals, and the rigid doctrinal pressures imposed on Socialist candidates by party local s led to the party's demise in Florida.1 1 George N. Green, “Florida Politics at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912” (Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 128-129.

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91 In addition to the developments noted by Gr een, several internal factors also played significant roles in the party’s deteriorati on. The Florida Socialist Party never fully decided whether it was primarily a political party seeking political office, a pressure group lobbying for policy changes, a revolutiona ry sect advocating the overthrow of the government, or a political forum debating the im portant issues of th e day. Usually, the party attempted to play these often contradi ctory roles simultaneously, and hence played none of them particularly well. The party also failed to build strong c ity and county machines. This was a disastrous shortcoming, because the party found it difficult, indeed impossible, to compete with the Democratic Party when and where it most counted: at the local precincts where the actual ballots are cast and counted.2 Florida Socialists were also constrained by a lack of f unds. The party would not accept contributions, and limited its source of funds to membership dues. This dependence on the dues system meant that th e Florida Socialist Party was tied to an annual budget of only a few thousand dollars which was divided among local, county, and state organizations. These paltry funds were simply inadequate to run a successful political organization in a state with Fl orida's large geographical dimensions. These damaging internal factors were compounded by external ones as well. As a class-conscious political movement in a state only partly industriali zed, it was essential that the Florida Socialist Pa rty secure the support of both farmers and workers. For economic as well as political reasons, landowning farmers and wage earning workers were unable to unite in a common political ca use under the Socialist Party banner. On 2 Leonard Rosenberg, “The Failure of the Socialist Party of America,” Review of Politics 31 (July 1969): 346.

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92 the one hand, the economic position of each group within capitalism and the interests that arose therefrom seemed to preclude their political alliance within the Socialist Party. Farmers were, after all, property owners with a deep attachment to ideas and ideals of private property, while workers held little or no such property or attachments.3 On the other hand, personality conflicts a nd turf battles among So cialist leaders and their labor and agrarian counterparts scuttled most attempts at alliance building. For example, conversion attempts within the American Federation of Labor – known as “boring from within” – met with limited su ccess, owing mainly to Samuel Gompers’s repeated endorsement of the Democratic Party.4 Gompers, president of the International Cigar Makers Union, held sway over Tampa’ s tobacco workers, the state’s largest unionized work force. Victor Berger, expr essing the disappointment and anger of many Florida Socialists towards Gompers, insisted that the labor leader was “one of the most vicious and venomous enemies of socialism” a nd that “the time to fight him is all the time.”5 The failure of the Social ist Party to enlist the coopera tion and support of farmers’ groups proved of especial politi cal importance in Florida wher e agrarian leaders had been historically overrepresented in the state legislature.6 Consequently, Florida socialism’s failure or inability to acquire labor and farm support proved an insurmountable barrier to mass membership and statewide influence. 3 Rosenberg, “The Failure of the Soci alist Party of America,” 347. 4 Erik Olssen, “The Case of the Soci alist Party that Failed, or Further Reflections on an American Dream,” Labor History 29 (Fall 1988): 436. 5 David Shannon, “The Socialist Party Befo re the First World War: An Analysis,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 38 (September 1951): 284-285. 6 Rosenberg, “The Failure of the So cialist Party of America,” 348.

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93 Florida Socialists were also rebuffed in their efforts to gain the support of organized religion. The major reason hinderi ng the party's formation of a coalition of socialism and religion was that Christianity in Florida during the Progressive Era was predominantly fundamentalist in nature. Th e fundamentalists as a group attempted to meet the challenge of technological change and scientific skepticism by retreating from the world, convinced that the f unction of religion was to save the individual, not society as a whole. The majority of Florida churches being fundamentalist, felt no responsibility for society as a whole and therefore no attr action to socialism. It was not until after Sidney J. Catts's fundamentalist political machine was finally defeated in 1928 that fundamentalism’s grip on Florida’s po litical culture began to ebb. Finally, Florida’s one-party political sy stem, dominated by the Democratic Party from the state house to every county courthous e, was too deeply entrenched, too wellfunded, and too accustomed and skilled at the us e of power to be toppled by the Florida Socialists. The Democratic Party responded to the Socialist challenge much as it had to the Populist insurgency of the 1890s. The Democrats used ballot restrictions, voter intimidation, and outright ballot fraud to win elections. When these efforts seemed insufficient to the task of utterly destroying their opponents, Democrats did not hesitate to exploit racial prejudice and animus in an effo rt to brand their opponents as traitors to the white race. White farmers and native work ers in Florida thought of themselves as members of a dominant race; hence, they were unwilling to join with African American and immigrant groups to form a solid resistan ce to industrial and financial exploitation

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94 inherent in capitalism. As a result, worker s were often more conscious of these racial identities and antagonisms than of th e class struggle and economic abuses.7 In the end, the collapse of the Socialist Party in Florida resulted as much from regional and national hysteria dur ing World War I and the subs equent Red Scare as it did from any particular tenets of the party’s political program. Caught between the hammer of state repression and the anvil of negative reaction from the Florida populace at large, the party was dislodged from its own authentic political moorings. In organizing Florida, Socialists had managed to negotiate the one-party system, black disfranchisement, nativism, and race baiting, but the charge th at the party was unpatriotic and disloyal destroyed in four years what had taken nearly two decades to construct. 7 Rosenberg, “The Failure of the Soci alist Party of America,” 339.

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95 APPENDIX A FLORIDA COUNTIES FR OM 1900 THROUGH 1920 Figure B-1: Florida Counties in 1899

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96 Figure B-2: Florida Counties in 1905

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97 Figure B-3: Florida Counties in 1909

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98 Figure B-4: Florida Counties in 1910

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99 Figure B-5: Florida Counties in 1911

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100 Figure B-6: Florida Counties in 1913

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101 Figure B-7: Florida Counties in 1914

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102 Figure B-8: Florida Counties in 1916

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103 Figure B-9: Florida Counties in 1917

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104 APPENDIX B FLORIDA ELECTION RESULTS Table B-1, Manatee County State House Election, 1904 PrecinctCornwell (Dem)Pettigrew (Soc) 1)Palmetto7911 2)Mitchellville109 3)Dry Prairie109 4)Miakka1311 5)Manatee4565 6)Bradentown15650 7)Sarasota6939 8)Sandy1112 9)Ellenton227 10)Englewood110 11)Oak Hill3211 12)Terra Ceia569 13)Cortez111 14)Venice26 527 (68.7)240 (31.3)

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105 Table B-2, Manatee County State House Election, 1906 PrecinctGraham (Dem)Pettigrew (Soc)1)Palmetto32462)Mitchellville3133)Dry Prairie1684)Miakka1595)Manatee52516)Bradentown118807)Sarasota64608)Sandy969)Ellenton91610)Englewood9211)Oak Hill134712)Terra Ceia154313)Cortez6714)Venice27 363 (47.9)395 (52.1)(Source: Manatee River Journal, November 9, 1906) Table B-3, 1904 General Election Results, Governor’s Race County Broward MacFarlane Healy % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Alachua 1235 455 31 2.5 1.8 Baker 356 45 20 5.6 4.8 Brevard 560 110 9 1.6 1.3 Bradford 653 94 12 1.8 1.6 Calhoun 300 65 12 4.0 3.2 Citrus 388 18 7 1.8 1.7 Clay 250 48 0 0.0 0.0 Columbia 687 251 13 1.9 1.4 Dade 919 249 54 5.9 4.4 DeSoto 711 153 14 2.0 1.6 Duval 2246 553 79 3.5 2.7 Escambia 1558 442 38 2.4 1.9 Franklin 336 141 6 1.8 1.2 Gadsden 488 22 1 0.02 .02 Hamilton 472 85 10 2.1 1.7 Hernando 185 5 6 3.2 3.1 Hillsborough 2168 592 200 9.2 6.8 Holmes 403 39 11 2.7 2.4 Jackson 1298 172 36 2.8 2.4

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106 Table B-3 Continued County Broward MacFarlane Healy % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Jefferson 473 79 10 2.1 1.9 Lafayette 411 52 0 0.0 0.0 Lake 534 116 20 3.7 3.0 Lee 321 31 119 37.1 25.3 Leon 661 84 7 1.1 1.0 Levy 458 81 13 2.8 2.4 Liberty 164 23 0 0.0 0.0 Madison 605 34 5 0.08 .08 Manatee 623 86 73 11.7 9.3 Marion 1095 143 54 4.9 4.2 Monroe 807 229 49 6.1 4.6 Orange 848 274 48 5.9 4.1 Osceola 250 45 6 2.4 2.0 Pasco 463 40 11 2.4 2.1 Polk 885 83 32 3.6 3.2 Putnam 512 291 27 5.3 3.3 Santa Rosa 459 15 21 4.6 4.2 St. Johns 558 182 79 14.2 8.8 Sumter 338 45 6 1.8 1.5 Suwannee 608 77 11 1.8 1.6 Taylor 251 59 3 1.2 .09 Volusia 690 245 44 6.4 4.5 Wakulla 198 33 12 6.1 4.9 Walton 440 181 13 3.0 2.1 Washington 585 145 29 5.0 3.9 Totals 28,971 6,357 1,270 4.4 3.5 Table B-4, 1904 General Electi on Results, Cabinet Results Secretary of State Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Crawford (Dem) 27,411 -----81.6 Horr (Rep) 4,921 -----14.6 Parrot (Soc) 1,279 4.7 3.8

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107 Table B-4 Continued Attorney General Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Ellis (Dem) 24,164 -----78.4 Cubberly (Rep) 5,070 -----16.4 Green (Soc) 1,604 6.6 5.2 Comptroller Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Croom (Dem) 24,851 -----80.6 Skipper (Rep) 4,483 -----14.5 Broberg (Soc) 1,499 6.0 4.9 Treasurer Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Knott (Dem) 24,375 -----81.1 Brelsford (Rep) 4,661 -----15.5 Wetzel (Soc) 1,013 4.2 3.4 Commissioner of Agriculture Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote McLin (Dem) 23,075 -----79.9 Rawley (Rep) 4,381 -----15.2 S.A.Pettigrew(Soc) 1,432 6.2 4.9 Railroad Commissioner Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Morgan (Dem) 23,704 -----82.3 Ritchie (Rep) 3,906 -----13.5 Sill (Soc) 1,208 5.1 4.2 (Source: 1904 Report of the Florida Secretary of State) Table B-5, 1908 General Election Results, Governor’s Race County Gilchrist Cheney Pettigrew % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Alachua 1260 394 34 2.7 2.0 Baker 258 44 34 13.2 10.1 Bradford 710 101 20 2.8 2.4

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108 Table B-5 Continued County Gilchrist Cheney Pettigrew % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Brevard 283 141 43 15.2 9.2 Calhoun 452 128 8 1.8 1.4 Citrus 378 14 8 2.1 2.0 Clay 317 76 11 3.5 2.7 Columbia 552 159 11 2.0 1.5 Dade 1134 180 37 3.3 2.7 DeSoto 1141 129 110 9.6 8.0 Duval 2373 383 80 3.4 2.8 Escambia 2240 466 131 5.8 4.6 Franklin 278 101 25 9.0 6.2 Gadsden 589 17 9 1.5 1.5 Hamilton 434 84 49 11.3 8.6 Hernando 278 22 22 7.9 6.8 Hillsborough 2840 352 376 13.2 10.5 Holmes 576 117 49 8.5 6.6 Jackson 1174 202 104 8.9 7.0 Jefferson 566 113 1 .02 .01 Lafayette 467 54 15 3.2 2.8 Lake 502 135 32 6.4 4.8 Lee 295 43 123 41.7 26.7 Leon 713 100 9 1.2 1.1 Levy 413 62 15 3.6 3.1 Liberty 172 47 4 2.3 1.8 Madison 590 13 9 1.5 1.5 Manatee 620 66 120 19.4 14.9 Marion 1370 296 49 3.6 2.9 Monroe 651 170 192 29.5 19.0 Nassau 378 58 9 2.4 2.0 Orange 1081 476 50 4.6 3.1 Osceola 233 33 3 1.3 1.1 Pasco 438 34 10 2.3 2.1 Polk 1169 152 97 8.3 6.8 Putnam 771 357 0 0.0 0.0 Santa Rosa 688 46 33 4.8 4.3 St. Johns 758 224 74 9.8 7.0 St. Lucie 271 42 33 12.2 9.5 Sumter 341 40 21 6.2 5.2 Suwannee 641 70 152 23.7 17.6 Taylor 313 64 54 17.3 12.5 Volusia 803 284 40 5.0 3.5

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109 Table B-5 Continued County Gilchrist Cheney Pettigrew % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Wakulla 243 47 25 10.3 7.9 Walton 534 167 27 5.1 3.7 Washington 748 150 69 9.2 7.1 Totals 33,036 6,453 2,427 7.3 5.8 Table B-6, 1908 General Election Results, Cabinet Races Secretary of State Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Crawford (Dem) 30,445 -----79.5 Horr (Rep) 5,672 -----14.8 Sill (Soc) 2,182 7.2 5.7 Comptroller Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Croom (Dem) 30,293 -----79.8 Skipper (Rep) 5,681 -----15 Meltin (Soc) 1,977 6.5 5.2 Treasurer Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Knott (Dem) 26,915 -----75.3 Webster (Rep) 5,309 -----14.8 Kimball (Soc) 3,528 13.1 9.9 Superintendent of Schools Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Holloway (Dem) 28,338 -----74.3 Holmes (Rep) 5,826 -----15.3 Mrs. Linn (Soc) 3,952 13.9 10.4 Commissioner of Agriculture Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote McLin (Dem) 26,161 -----77.5 Stunkle (Rep) 4,951 -----14.7 Schineider (Soc) 2,626 10 7.8

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110 Table B-6 Continued Railroad Commissioner Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Dunn (Dem) 28,443 -----78.7 Rowley (Rep) 4,731 -----13.1 Beach (Soc) 2,980 10.5 8.2 (Source: 1908 Report of the Florida Secretary of State) Table B-7, 1912 Florida General Elec tion Results, Governor’s Race County Trammell Cox O'Neal Hodges Bingham % Dem % Total (Dem) (Soc) (Rep) (Prog) (Proh) Vote Vote Alachua 1338 36 152 27 54 2.7 2.2 Baker 268 18 15 21 10 6.7 5.4 Bradford 640 6 54 25 17 .09 .08 Brevard 391 58 34 22 6 14.8 11.4 Calhoun 475 94 27 18 20 19.8 14.8 Citrus 423 12 5 16 2 2.8 2.6 Clay 287 38 11 7 25 13.2 10.3 Columbia 615 20 54 40 13 3.3 2.7 Dade 1352 171 62 188 40 12.6 9.4 DeSoto 886 97 63 44 31 10.9 8.7 Duval 3628 173 147 313 78 4.8 4.0 Escambia 1771 100 61 108 29 5.6 4.8 Franklin 251 25 50 20 0 10.0 7.2 Gadsden 707 5 29 11 2 .07 .06 Hamilton 443 34 23 8 16 7.7 6.5 Hernando 279 37 15 8 7 13.3 10.7 Hillsborough 3023 554 90 104 67 18.3 14.8 Holmes 561 46 15 30 14 8.2 6.9 Jackson 1368 136 86 33 50 9.9 8.1 Jefferson 450 2 24 31 1 .04 .03 Lafayette 589 40 29 18 10 6.8 5.8 Lake 624 20 67 21 11 3.2 2.7 Lee 472 105 17 67 19 22.2 15.4 Leon 569 4 28 74 1 .07 .05 Levy 376 17 32 8 15 4.5 3.8 Liberty 230 1 26 8 1 .04 .03 Madison 505 15 10 7 1 3.0 2.8 Manatee 776 73 27 64 36 9.4 7.5 Marion 1161 76 101 69 44 6.5 5.2 Monroe 836 120 118 84 31 14.4 10.1

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111 Table B-7 Continued County Trammell Cox O’Neal Hodges Bingham % Dem % Total (Dem) (Soc) (Rep) (Prog) (Proh) Vote Vote Nassau 414 9 26 9 8 2.2 2.0 Orange 1265 88 317 69 51 7.0 4.9 Osceola 610 25 123 106 24 4.1 2.8 Palm Beach 540 44 28 93 10 8.1 6.2 Pasco 455 55 62 48 10 12.1 8.7 Pinellas 1003 125 44 117 39 12.5 9.4 Polk 1041 238 56 64 34 22.9 16.6 Putnam 860 68 111 26 26 7.9 6.2 Santa Rosa 751 68 30 10 28 9.1 7.7 St. Johns 788 79 34 58 14 10.0 8.1 St. Lucie 395 48 27 12 4 12.2 9.9 Sumter 451 8 12 26 20 1.8 1.5 Suwannee 820 173 18 20 24 21.1 16.4 Taylor 260 7 39 8 1 2.7 2.2 Volusia 1012 90 133 45 62 8.9 6.7 Wakulla 234 16 20 8 1 6.8 5.7 Walton 906 52 35 39 7 5.7 5.0 Washington 738 141 59 62 41 19.1 13.5 Totals 38,977 3,467 2,646 2,314 1,061 8.9 7.2 Table B-8, 1912 General Election Results, Cabinet Races Secretary of State Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Crawford (Dem) 35,596 -----81.8 Pattison (Soc) 3,327 9.3 7.6 Otto (Prog) 2,317 -----5.3 Bellby (Rep) 2,307 -----5.3 Attorney General Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote West (Dem) 31,391 -----75.7 Gibbons (Prog) 3,741 -----9.0 Miller (Soc) 3,493 11.1 8.4 Bishop (Rep) 2,855 -----6.9

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112 Table B-8 Continued Comptroller Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Knott (Dem) 33,351 -----77.9 Crom (Rep) 3,834 -----9.0 Dunham (Soc) 3,680 11.0 8.6 Alfred (Prog) 1,962 -----4.5 Treasurer Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Luning (Dem) 32,794 -----80.0 Webster (Rep) 3,233 -----7.9 Harter (Soc) 2,573 7.8 6.3 Skipper (Prog) 2,401 -----5.8 Superintendent of Schools Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Sheats (Dem) 34,700 -----80.1 Edwards (Soc) 3,843 11.1 8.9 Stowers (Rep) 2,441 -----5.6 Miller (Prog) 2,349 -----5.4 Commissioner of Agriculture Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote McRae (Dem) 33,498 -----80.6 Pettigrew (Soc) 3,521 10.5 8.5 VanDuzer (Rep) 2,285 -----5.5 Shepard (Prog) 2,245 -----5.4

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113 Table B-8 Continued Railroad Commissioner Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Dunn (Dem) 33,497 -----81.1 Pleas (Soc) 3,697 11.0 8.9 Schneider (Rep) 2,314 -----5.6 Carbonell (Prog) 1,810 -----4.4 (Source: 1912 Report of the Florida Secretary of State) Table B-9, 1916 General Election Results, Governor’s Race County Catts Knott George Allen C.C. Allen % Dem % Total (Proh) (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Alachua 1067 1128 332 33 2.9 1.3 Baker 439 92 87 8 8.7 1.3 Bay 506 399 170 73 18.3 6.4 Bradford 1007 515 106 10 1.9 .06 Brevard 234 467 151 27 5.8 3.1 Broward 444 152 32 43 28.3 6.4 Calhoun 680 227 69 55 24.2 5.3 Citrus 435 224 29 6 2.7 .09 Clay 329 158 56 23 14.6 4.1 Columbia 596 314 185 25 8.0 2.2 Dade 1418 854 465 111 13.0 3.9 DeSoto 1644 598 245 78 13.0 3.0 Duval 2896 3834 815 174 4.5 2.3 Escambia 1251 1359 224 48 3.5 1.7 Franklin 233 180 51 11 6.1 2.3 Gadsden 482 530 20 8 1.5 .08 Hamilton 509 274 81 13 4.7 1.5 Hernando 328 182 24 8 4.4 1.5 Hillsborough 3633 3079 436 175 5.7 2.4 Holmes 1099 323 91 34 10.5 2.2 Jackson 1307 1068 220 34 3.2 1.3 Jefferson 357 314 101 9 2.9 1.2 Lafayette 619 290 0 10 3.4 1.1 Lake 612 494 217 34 6.9 2.5 Lee 694 261 110 36 13.8 3.3 Leon 386 629 265 10 1.6 .08 Levy 608 240 116 10 4.2 1.0 Liberty 228 131 15 5 3.8 1.3 Table B-9 Continued

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114County Catts Knott George Allen C.C. Allen % Dem % Total (Proh) (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) Vote Vote Madison 434 350 13 4 1.1 .05 Manatee 789 428 235 59 13.8 4.1 Marion 808 975 444 95 9.7 4.1 Monroe 440 169 978 125 74.0 7.3 Nassau 228 372 62 11 3.0 1.6 Okaloosa 482 338 135 27 8.0 2.7 Orange 663 897 251 51 5.7 2.7 Osceola 563 159 371 67 42.1 5.8 Palm Beach 453 535 257 105 19.6 7.8 Pasco 693 328 121 23 7.0 2.0 Pinellas 1009 726 421 101 13.9 4.5 Polk 1875 1070 400 147 13.7 4.0 Putnam 575 590 387 51 8.6 3.2 St. Johns 658 800 306 75 9.3 4.1 St. Lucie 507 416 71 42 10.1 4.1 Santa Rosa 335 712 54 27 3.8 2.4 Seminole 436 364 130 41 11.3 4.2 Sumter 337 359 44 5 1.4 .07 Suwannee 773 554 57 76 13.7 5.2 Taylor 358 255 29 10 3.9 1.5 Volusia 1245 1037 348 106 10.2 3.9 Wakulla 331 94 111 15 16.0 2.7 Walton 852 265 312 44 16.6 3.0 Washington 661 234 83 52 22.2 5.0 Totals 39,546 30,343 10,333 2,470 8.1 3.0 Table B-10, 1916 General Election Re sults, Other Statewide Races United States Senate Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Trammell (Dem) 58,391 -----82.9 O'Neal (Rep) 8,774 -----12.4 Goodwin (Soc) 3,304 5.7 4.7 Attorney General Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote West (Dem) 45,859 -----73.1 McFarlane (Rep) 11,925 -----18.9 A.D. Miller (Soc) 4,993 10.9 8.0

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115 Table B-10 Continued Comptroller Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Amos (Dem) 50,016 -----78.7 Northup (Rep) 10,086 -----15.9 Leto (Soc) 3,403 6.8 5.4 Treasurer Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Luning (Dem) 49,579 -----76.9 Gay (Rep) 10,607 -----16.5 Harter (Soc) 4,232 8.5 6.6 (Source: 1916 Report of the Florida Secretary of State) Table B-11, 1920 General Electi on Results, Governor’s Race County Hardee Gay Whitaker Van Duzer % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) (Rep/White) Vote Vote Alachua 3362 756 18 17 .05 .04 Baker 405 51 7 8 1.7 1.5 Bay 980 50 43 183 4.4 3.4 Bradford 1274 168 6 23 .05 .04 Brevard 1084 340 28 37 2.6 1.9 Broward 534 263 57 31 10.7 6.4 Calhoun 972 89 8 14 .08 .07 Citrus 638 35 6 22 .09 .08 Clay 626 228 4 17 .06 .04 Columbia 1247 129 7 19 .06 .05 Dade 5525 2190 189 58 3.4 2.4 DeSoto 2715 175 0 79 0.0 0.0 Duval 15867 3315 186 581 1.2 .09 Escambia 3591 559 194 102 5.4 4.4 Flagler 280 27 53 3 18.9 14.6 Franklin 567 186 11 7 1.9 1.4 Gadsden 1890 16 6 2 .03 .03 Hamilton 712 76 11 8 1.5 1.4 Hernando 670 72 17 11 2.5 2.2 Hillsborough 8898 1485 523 255 5.9 4.7 Holmes 1188 364 35 27 2.9 2.2 Jackson 2510 210 27 40 1.1 1.0 Jefferson 772 135 4 6 .05 .04 Lafayette 659 30 4 2 .06 .06 Lake 1804 475 41 27 2.3 1.7

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116 Table B-11 Continued County Hardee Gay Whitaker Van Duzer % Dem % Total (Dem) (Rep) (Soc) (Rep/White) Vote Vote Lee 1117 391 21 11 1.9 1.4 Leon 1453 298 15 20 1.0 .08 Levy 927 169 4 5 .04 .03 Liberty 445 12 5 6 1.1 1.0 Madison 917 14 4 4 .04 .04 Manatee 2024 406 118 20 5.8 4.6 Marion 2629 790 28 44 1.1 .08 Monroe 1181 316 104 47 8.8 6.3 Nassau 944 125 6 13 .06 .05 Okalossa 698 125 15 7 2.1 1.8 Okeechobee 320 14 8 16 2.5 2.2 Orange 2425 817 52 71 2.1 1.5 Osceola 1006 682 25 29 2.5 1.4 Palm Beach 1999 1289 97 27 4.9 2.8 Pasco 1347 302 57 142 4.2 3.1 Pinellas 3442 1436 113 44 3.3 2.2 Polk 4494 736 166 157 3.7 3.0 Putnam 1828 874 37 16 2.0 1.3 St. Johns 2088 604 46 40 2.2 1.7 St. Lucie 1343 366 46 30 3.4 2.6 Santa Rosa 919 53 3 12 .03 .03 Seminole 1597 449 71 16 4.4 3.3 Sumter 939 108 46 8 4.9 4.2 Suwannee 1583 235 91 21 5.7 4.7 Taylor 627 55 5 11 .08 .07 Volusia 3494 1069 106 218 3.0 2.2 Wakulla 524 85 4 3 .07 .06 Walton 1459 364 23 22 1.5 1.2 Washington 868 180 68 15 7.8 6.0 Totals 103,407 23,788 2,823 2,654 2.7 2.1

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117 Table B-12, 1920 General Election Results, U.S. Senate Race United States Senate Total Votes % Dem. Vote % Total Vote Fletcher (Dem) 98,957 -----69.5 Cheney (Rep) 37,065 -----26.0 Martin (Soc) 3,525 3.6 2.5 Klock (Rep/White) 2,847 -----2.0 (Source: 1920 Report of the Florida Secretary of State)

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118 APPENDIX C OPEN LETTER OF A. J. PETTIGREW1 The Socialist party has nominated candidates to be voted for at the election to be held next November, and we wish to show why our candidates should receive your votes. Personally, I should be much pleased to have Manatee County send the first Socialist member to our legislature. Florid a socialism is of the very best. Here, in Florida, Manatee County, none of us have to go hungry or suffer for food and clothing, therefore the cause of our socialism is educat ion, the correct knowledge of existing facts, and a clear understanding of the jus tice and righteousness of our cause. The nineteenth century was preeminently th e century of inven tion and the science of production. The twentieth century must, neces sarily, be the century of advancement in the science of good government. It is the duty of all to study this matter and post themselves on the science of government. A great majority in the United States are those who do all the useful and necessary work with hand and brain. A sma ll minority have acquired most of the wealth, own the machinery of production and distri bution, own and contro l the government, make, interpret and administer the laws a nd powers in their own interests, and are necessarily largely against the interests of all others. Socialism woul d change all this and elevate all to the same live le vel of being useful individua ls, and would give everybody a chance to truthfully say, "The world has been made better by what I have done." Then 1 Manatee River Journal May 4, 1906.

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119 the government could be administered in the in terests of all! Then each and every person would get equal and exact justice! All who read this will easily understa nd how much better such conditions would be than what we have now. One percent of our people own over half of our wealth, and control the means whereby all must live. All the people should own all the means whereby all must live. This would be public wealth and would give everyone a chance to possess an abundance of private wealth and to have more of the good things of life that the very rich now enjoy! Under the capitalist sy stem a majority of us must sell ourselves by the hour, day, month and year to the capita list owners of the means of production and distribution in order to live, and often a very meagre su stenance under most miserable conditions to bring better conditions and the "co-operativ e commonwealth." The workers must get control of the political power. The Socialist pa rty is organized to do this. It is the only party that advocates the "co-operative co mmonwealth" and the necessary changes to accomplish the re-organization of society on a sound and enduring basis. The other parties only advocate the mere "scratching of the surface" and such other reforms" as would do but little good and be of no permanent value. It is easy to understand that the present inequalities and injust ices cannot be permanently abolished without removing the cause, which is the private ownership of the nece ssary means of life. At present, the idle and useless class are the rich ones. Socialists advocate such changes in our economic system as will make the industrious a nd useful own the private wealth! The Socialist movement is international and world-wide. A Socialist from any civilized country can now trav el through any other civilized country and there find many

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120 comrades who will give him fraternal greeti ng and say to him, 'The workers of my country have no desire to shoot you or th e workers of your country, even though our capitalist masters should have a quarrel with your capitalist masters about markets or other means of exploiting the workers. Our program will be revised whenever necessary to keep up with the advancement of science, invention, and produc tion. Some of the chief things in our program are the collective ownership and demo cratic management of all public utilities and all industries now in the hands of the tr ust and combines; reduction in hours of labor; progressingly increased remuneration; cons truction of good roads and other public utilities to safeguard to workers against the lack of employment; education of children up to the age of 18 years; and no child labor for hire; equal polit ical and civil rights for men and women; progressive and ec onomical management of our county's affairs; decrease and final extinction of our small debt; no mo re debts in the future except where very necessary and profitable to do what can pr operly be done to lighten the burden of taxpayers and curtail the activ ities of tax-spenders. I ask all who believe in the principles and program herein enunciated, to vote the Socialist ticket, and not to, seemingly, entangl e or commit themselves in the Democratic primary. I freely promise, if elected, I shall so act that all workers an d all who perform a useful and necessary part in the world sha ll be glad, and that boodlers, grafters, and corporations seeking special privileges and unf air advantages through legislation shall not be glad that you voted for the Socialist candidates.

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121 LIST OF REFERENCES Primary Sources Newspapers Florida Times-Union Manatee River Journal Pensacola Journal Saint Petersburg Times Tallahassee Sun Tampa Tribune Pamphlet Socialist Party National Office, “How to Orga nize a Socialist Local or Branch.” Chicago: no date, not numbered. Government Documents Fourteenth Census of the United St ates, 1920: Statistics for Florida. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1924. Journal of the Florida House of Repr esentatives of the Session of 1907. Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1907. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1896. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1896. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1900. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1900. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1904. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1904. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1908. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1908. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1912. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1916. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1916. Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1920. Tallahassee: State Pr inters Office, 1920. The Third Census of the State of Florida, 1905. Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer, 1906.

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122 Thirteenth Census of the United St ates, 1910: Statistics for Florida. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914. Secondary Sources Abbey, Kathryn T. “Florida Vers us the Principles of Populism,” Journal of Southern History 4 (November 1938): 462-475. Argersinger, Peter. The Limits of Agrarian Radi calism: Western Populism and American Politics. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1995. Ayers, Edward. The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Bewig, Matthew S. “The Roots of American Labor Radicalism: The Political Economy and the Intellectual Foundation of th e American Labor Movement, 1815-1830.” Master’s thesis, University of North Carolina, 1986. Blakey, Arch Fredric. The Florida Phosphate Industry: A History of the Development and Use of a Vital Mineral. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973. Brommel, Bernard. “Debs’s Cooperativ e Commonwealth Plan for Workers,” Labor History 12 (Fall 1972): 560-69. Brundage, W. Fitzhugh. A Socialist Utopia in the New South: The Ruskin Colonies in Tennessee and Georgia, 1894-1901. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996. Buhle, Paul. “The Meaning of Debsian Socialism,” Radical America 2 (January/Febuary 1968): 44-59. Buhle, Paul and Dan Georgakas, eds. The Immigrant Left in the United States. Albany: The State University of New York Press, 1996. Burbank, Garin. When Farmers Voted Red: The Gosp el of Socialism in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1910-1924. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1976. Cash, William T. History of the Democratic Party in Florida. Tallahassee: Florida Democratic Historical Foundation, 1936. Cory, Walter Lord. “The Florida Farmers’ Alliance, 1887-1892.” Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1963. Crooks, James B. Jacksonville After the Fire, 1901-1919: A New South City. Jacksonville: University of North Florida Press, 1991. Dorn, Jacob H. Socialism and Christianity in Ea rly Twentieth-Century America. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998. Eastman, Joel Weeb. “Claude L’Engle, Florida Muckraker,” Florida Historical Quarterly 45 (January 1967): 243-252. Flynt, Wayne. “Pensacola Labor Prob lems and Political Radicalism, 1908,” Florida Historical Quarterly 43 (April 1965): 315-32. ———. “Florida Labor and Po litical Radicalism, 1919-1920,” Labor History 9 (Winter 1968): 73-90.

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123 ———. “Sidney J. Catts: The Road to Power,” Florida Historical Quarterly 49 (October 1970): 107-128. ———. Cracker Messiah: Governor Sidney Catts of Florida. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977. Foner, Philip S. American Socialism and Black Americans. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977. Friedberg, Gerald. “The So cialist Party of America: Decline and Fall, 1914-1918,” Studies on the Left 4 (Summer 1964): 79-89. Gibson, Pamela. “The Practical Dreamers: The Founders of the Socialist Party in Manatee County, Florida, 1904” (unpublishe d typescript at the Manatee County Public Library, 1989). Goodwyn, Lawerence. Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Green, George N. “Florida Politics and Soci alism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912.” Master’s thesis, Florida State University, 1962. Green, James. “The Brotherhood of Timber Workers, 1910-1913: A Radical Response to Industrial Capitalism in the Southern USA,” Past and Present 60 (August 1973): 161-200. ———. Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1978. Gulfport Historical Society. Our Story of Gulfport, Florida. Gulfport: Gulfport Historical Society, 1985. Hackney, Sheldon. Populism to Progressivism in Alabama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. Hillquit, Morris. History of Socialism in the United States. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1910. Ingalls, Robert. Urban Vigilantes in the New South: Tampa, 1882-1936. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985. Kabat, Ric A. “Everybody Votes for Gilchris t: The Florida Gubernatorial Campaign of 1908,” Florida Historical Quarterly 67 (October 1988): 184-203. Kipnis, Ira. The American Socialist Movement. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952. Knauss, James. “The Farmers’ Alliance in Florida,” South Atlantic Quarterly 25 (1926): 298-302. Kousser, J. Morgan. The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restrictions and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974. Long, Durward. “La Resistencia: Tampa’s Immigrant Labor Union,” Labor History 6 (Fall 1965): 193-213.

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124 ———. “An Immigrant Co-Operative Medi cine Program in the South, 1887-1963,” Journal of Southern History 31 (November 1965): 417-434. ———. “The Open-Closed Shop Battle in Tampa’s Cigar Industry, 1919-1921,” Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (October 1968): 101-121. Mackle, Elliot James. “The Koreshan Unity in Florida, 1894-1910.” Master’s thesis, University of Miami, 1971. ———. “Cyrus Teed and the L ee County Elections of 1906,” Florida Historical Quarterly 57 (July 1978): 1-18. Marks, Henry. “Labor Problems of the Flor ida East Coast Railway from Homestead to Key West, 1905-1907,” Tequesta 32 (1972): 28-33. McDuffie, Lillie B. The Lures of Manatee. Bradenton: B. McDuffie Fletcher, 1961. McMath, Robert C. Populist Vanguard: A History of the Southern Farmers’ Alliance. New York: Norton Press, 1975. McWhiney, Grady. “Louisiana Socialists in the Early Twentieth Ce ntury: A Study of Rustic Radicalism,” Journal of Southern History 20 (August 1954): 315-336. Mead III, James Andrew. “T he Populist Party in Florida. ” Master’s thesis, Florida Atlantic University, 1971. Miller, Sally M. “The Social ist Party and the Negro, 1901-1920,” Journal of Negro History 56 (July 1971): 220-229. ———. Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Soc ialism, 1910-1920. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1973. ———, ed. Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Ea rly Twentieth-Century American Socialism. New York: Garland Press, 1996. Mormino, Gary R. “Tampa and the New Ur ban South: The Weight Strike of 1899,” Florida Historical Quarterly 60 (January 1982): 337-356. Mormino, Gary R. and George Pozzetta. The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987. Noyes, John Humphrey. History of American Socialism. New York: Hillary House, 1870. Olssen, Erik. “The Case of th e Socialist Party That Failed, or Further Reflections on an American Dream,” Labor History 29 (Fall 1988): 416-449. Palmer, Bruce. “Man Over Money”: The Southern Critique of American Populism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980. Paul, Brad Alan. “Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920.” PhD diss., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999. Pozzetta, George. “A Padrone Looks at Florid a: Labor Recruitment and the Florida East Coast Railway,” Florida Historical Quarterly 54 (July 1975): 74-84.

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125 ———. “Immigrants and Radicals in Tampa, Florida,” Florida Historical Quarterly 57 (January 1979): 337-348. ———. “Alerta Tabaqueros! Tamp a’s Striking Cigar Workers,” Tampa Bay History 3 (Fall/Winter 1981): 19-29. Proctor, Samuel. Napoleon Broward: Flor ida’s Fighting Democrat. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1950. Quint, Howard. The Forging of American Socialism. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1953. Rainard, R. Lyn. “Conflict In side the Earth: The Kore shan Unity in Lee County,” Tampa Bay History 2 (Spring/Summer 1981): 5-16. Reed, Merl E. “Lumberjacks and Longs horemen: The I.W.W. in Louisiana,” Labor History 13 (Winter 1972): 41-59. Robbins, Ray. “The Socialist Party in Flor ida, 1900-1916.” Master’s thesis, Samford University, 1971. Robinson, Lori and Bill De Young. “Socialism in the Sunshine: The Roots of Ruskin, Florida,” Tampa Bay History 4 (Spring/Summer 1982): 5-20. Rosenberg, Leonard. “The Failure of the Socialist Party of America,” Review of Politics 31 (July 1969): 329-352. Salvatore, Nick. Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987. Seretan, L. Glen. Daniel DeLeon: The Odysse y of an American Marxist. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979. Shannon, David. “The Socialist Party Before the First World War: An Analysis,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 38 (September 1951): 279-288. ———. The Socialist Party of America. New York: Macmillan, 1955. Simpson, Joseph Herman. “A History of Manatee County, Flor ida.” (unpublished typescript at the Manate e County Library, 1915). Tebeau, Charlton. A History of Florida. Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1971. Warner, Joe. The Singing River: A History of th e People, Places and Events Along the Manatee River. Bradenton: Self-Published, 1986. Weinstein, James. “Socialism’s Hidden Heritage: Scholarship Reinforces Political Mythology,” Studies on the Left 3 (Fall 1963): 89-108. ———. Decline of Socialism in America, 1912-1925. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967. ———. “Labor and Socialism in America,” Labor History 14 (Summer 1973): 429-434. Williamson, Edward C. Florida Politics in the Gilded Age, 1877-1893. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1976.

PAGE 136

126 Zieger, Robert, ed. Organized Labor in the Twentieth-Century South. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991.

PAGE 137

127 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Robert Steven Griffin, an eighth genera tion Floridian, was born in Homestead, Florida, during the far sighted administrati on of Governor Leroy Collins. He is a graduate of De Soto County High School in Arcadia, Florida, and earned his B.A. in history from New College in Sarasota, Florida.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0013396/00001

Material Information

Title: Workers of the Sunshine State unite! : the Florida Socialist Party during the Progressive Era, 1900 to 1920
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Griffin, R. Steven ( Dissertant )
Davis, Jack E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2006
Copyright Date: 2006

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: History thesis, M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- History
Spatial Coverage: United States--Florida

Notes

Abstract: The Socialist Party of Florida was a more significant political movement than many historians have previously suggested. The Party was comprised of a coalition that included foreign born workers in Florida's growing cities such as Tampa, Jacksonville, and Pensacola, farmers who had voted Populist in the 1890s and had not reconciled themselves to the Democratic Party, an obscure religious sect in Lee County, and others. Despite the many obstacles it encountered, the Socialist Party of Florida earned greater electoral success than any other socialist party in the southeast. The party in Manatee County elected a state representative, Andrew Jackson Pettigrew, to a single term in 1906, and in Hillsborough County elected and re-elected the mayor and majority of the city council of Gulfport (since 1911 a part of Pinellas County) Despite its successes, the decline of the party began in reaction to its strong opposition to American participation in the First World War, and it faced significant state repression beginning by 1917. The success of the Russian Revolution, and the Red Scare in the United States thereafter, hammered the final nails into the party's coffin, and after 1916 it did not mount any serious political campaigns.
Subject: Debs, Florida, Pettigrew, Socialism
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 137 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2006.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 003589296
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0013396/00001

Material Information

Title: Workers of the Sunshine State unite! : the Florida Socialist Party during the Progressive Era, 1900 to 1920
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Griffin, R. Steven ( Dissertant )
Davis, Jack E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2006
Copyright Date: 2006

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: History thesis, M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- History
Spatial Coverage: United States--Florida

Notes

Abstract: The Socialist Party of Florida was a more significant political movement than many historians have previously suggested. The Party was comprised of a coalition that included foreign born workers in Florida's growing cities such as Tampa, Jacksonville, and Pensacola, farmers who had voted Populist in the 1890s and had not reconciled themselves to the Democratic Party, an obscure religious sect in Lee County, and others. Despite the many obstacles it encountered, the Socialist Party of Florida earned greater electoral success than any other socialist party in the southeast. The party in Manatee County elected a state representative, Andrew Jackson Pettigrew, to a single term in 1906, and in Hillsborough County elected and re-elected the mayor and majority of the city council of Gulfport (since 1911 a part of Pinellas County) Despite its successes, the decline of the party began in reaction to its strong opposition to American participation in the First World War, and it faced significant state repression beginning by 1917. The success of the Russian Revolution, and the Red Scare in the United States thereafter, hammered the final nails into the party's coffin, and after 1916 it did not mount any serious political campaigns.
Subject: Debs, Florida, Pettigrew, Socialism
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 137 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2006.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 003589296
System ID: UFE0013396:00001


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WORKERS OF THE SUNSHINE STATE UNITE!:
THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY DURING THE PROGRESSIVE ERA,
1900-1920
















By

R. STEVEN GRIFFIN


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006


































Copyright 2006

by

R. Steven Griffin















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my parents, R. V. and Rachel Griffin, for their encouragement

of my academic pursuits. My father, a seventh generation Floridian, instilled in me at an

early age a love and appreciation of the uniqueness of Florida's history. My mother, a

native of the Mississippi Delta, fostered a respect and devotion to the written word. I

would also like to thank those teachers who have influenced and encouraged my efforts

in this project. Professor Jack E. Davis, who supervised this thesis, has provided a gentle

and guiding hand for my research and especially the written composition of this work.

Professor Howard Louthan, with whom I have shared my affection for Florida's scenic

beauty, has taught me perhaps more than I will ever need to know about Reformation

Europe and imparted his great wisdom about historiography. Professor Sean Adams,

whom I have met only recently, has been kind enough to read this work and offer his sage

advice. Finally, I would like to thank the man who started me off in the direction of

being a professional historian many years ago, Professor Justus Doenecke, late of New

College in Sarasota, Florida. I have appreciated his guidance, his patience, and will

always be eternally grateful for the faith he demonstrated in my ability.















PREFACE

This thesis has its origins in the Senior Thesis I wrote at New College regarding the

political career of Manatee County Socialist A. J. Pettigrew, who was the only Socialist

to win election to the Florida legislature. That paper reflected my ongoing interests in

Florida history and left-wing political organizations. Only three scholarly accounts of the

history of the Florida Socialist Party exist. George N. Green's 1962 Master's Thesis,

"Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912," broke

new ground by being the first study to examine Florida socialism in the context of Florida

politics. Though pathbreaking, Green's study focuses exclusively on one election cycle,

that of 1912, includes nearly as much information on parties other than the Socialists,

and, by focusing solely on the Socialist presidential candidacy of Eugene Debs, ignores

the state and county level political activism of the Florida Socialist Party. Ray Robbins's

1971 Master's Thesis, "The Socialist Party in Florida, 1900-1916," sought to correct the

flaws of Green's work by covering a broader time period, paying more attention to local

activities, and using more primary source material, particularly local newspapers.

Nevertheless, Robbins largely ignores such centers of local socialist strength as Manatee

County, Lee County, Polk County, Gulfport, and local electoral activity in general. Brad

Alan Paul's 1999 dissertation, "Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie,

1892-1920," places Florida socialism in a regional context and digs deeper into the local

experience of the Party even than Robbins did. As a regional study, however, Paul's

work could not examine Florida socialism at a detailed level from the bottom up.

iv









Probably the most significant obstacle to researching the history of Florida socialism is

the dearth of sources. The Florida Socialist Party left no records behind, and the records

of the Socialist Party of America contain only passing references to sunshine state

socialism. Hence, the primary source materials for this study are largely limited to

contemporary newspaper accounts and government documents. Though these sources

have significant limitations, the hope is that by mining them deeply a full picture of

Florida socialism will emerge.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

A C K N O W L ED G M EN T S ......... ................. .......................................... ....................... iii

PREFACE .............. ........ ................................ iv

LIST O F TA BLE S ........... ................... ............ ... ............ .. vii

LIST OF FIGURES ............ .......... ....... ............ viii

ABSTRACT ........ ........................... ...... .......... .......... ix

CHAPTER

1 ROOTS OF A FAMILY TREE: THE oRIGINS OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM........... 1

2 UTOPIAN SUNRISE: THE BIRTH AND ORGANIZATION OF THE
FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY ........................................ .......... ............... 24

3 ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: ANDREW JACKSON PETTIGREW AND THE
RISE OF MANATEE COUNTY SOCIALISM.....................................................36

4 HIGH NOON OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1908 AND
1 9 12 .................................................................................6 0

5 SUNSET OF FLORIDA SOCIALISm: THE ELECTIONS OF 1916 and 1920 .......77

6 CONCLUSION: AN AUTOPSY OF THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY ..........90

APPENDIX

A FLORIDA COUNTIES FROM 1900 THROUGH 1920 ............................95

B FLORIDA ELECTION RESULTS .................................. ...................................... 104

C OPEN LETTER OF A. J. PETTIGREW ..... .......... ...................................... 118

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ...................................................................... ..................... 12 1

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................. ............... 127
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

B-l, M anatee County State House Election, 1904 .................................. ............... 104

B-2, M anatee County State House Election, 1906 .................................. ............... 105

B-3, 1904 General Election Results, Governor's Race.............................105

B-4, 1904 General Election Results, Cabinet Results.............. ............ ............... 106

B-5, 1908 General Election Results, Governor's Race ....................................107

B-6, 1908 General Election Results, Cabinet Races................................... ............... 109

B-7, 1912 Florida General Election Results, Governor's Race................................... 110

B-8, 1912 General Election Results, Cabinet Races.....................................................11

B-9, 1916 General Election Results, Governor's Race................................................. 113

B-10, 1916 General Election Results, Other Statewide Races ............ ............... 114

B-11, 1920 General Election Results, Governor's Race ............................................. 115

B-12, 1920 General Election Results, U.S. Senate Race......... ...................................117















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

B -l: F lorida C ou nties in 1899 .......................................... ............................................9 5

B -2 : F lorida C counties in 1905......................................... .............................................96

B -3: Florida C counties in 1909.......................... .................... ................................ 97

B-4: Florida Counties in 1910..................................... .............. ............... 98

B -5 : F lorida C ou nties in 19 11 ......................................... .............................................99

B -6: Florida C counties in 1913................................................. ............................. 100

B -7: Florida C counties in 1914................................................. ............................. 101

B -8: Florida C counties in 1916................................................. ............................. 102

B -9: Florida C counties in 1917................................................. ............................. 103











Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

WORKERS OF THE SUNSHINE STATE UNITE!:
THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY DURING THE PROGRESSIVE ERA,
1900-1920

By

R. Steven Griffin

May 2006

Chair: Jack Davis
Major Department: History

The Socialist Party of Florida was a more significant political movement than many

historians have previously suggested. The Party was comprised of a coalition that

included foreign born workers in Florida's growing cities such as Tampa, Jacksonville,

and Pensacola, farmers who had voted Populist in the 1890s and had not reconciled

themselves to the Democratic Party, an obscure religious sect in Lee County, and others.

Despite the many obstacles it encountered, the Socialist Party of Florida earned greater

electoral success than any other socialist party in the southeast. The party in Manatee

County elected a state representative, Andrew Jackson Pettigrew, to a single term in

1906, and in Hillsborough County elected and re-elected the mayor and majority of the

city council of Gulfport (since 1911 a part of Pinellas County)

Despite its successes, the decline of the party began in reaction to its strong

opposition to American participation in the First World War, and it faced significant state

repression beginning by 1917. The success of the Russian Revolution, and the Red Scare









in the United States thereafter, hammered the final nails into the party's coffin, and after

1916 it did not mount any serious political campaigns.
















CHAPTER 1
ROOTS OF A FAMILY TREE: THE ORIGINS OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM

Florida, whether under Democratic or Republican auspices, has often appeared to

most outside observers as a haven for political conservatism. Outward appearances,

however, can prove to be quite deceptive. Florida politics during the Progressive Era

may be such a case. In 1912, the Socialist presidential candidate, Eugene Debs, garnered

more votes in Florida than Theodore Roosevelt or William Howard Taft, and Florida was

the only state of the former Confederacy in which this third party finished as high as

second place. A canvass of Progressive Era voting results reveals the steady growth of

Socialist electoral strength in Florida from 1900 to 1912, then a tapering off from 1912 to

1920. From 1904 to 1920 Florida was the only southern state registering more than 2,000

radical votes in every presidential election. Florida recorded the highest percentage of

left-wing votes for any ex-Confederate state in four presidential elections: 1904, 1908,

1912, and 1920. Only Arkansas, in 1916, interrupted this string.

In his seminal study of the Socialist Party of America, David Shannon has argued

that "the socialists had no centers of significant strength in the South other than Texas,

Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and these states were as much western as southern."1

While Shannon's argument may hold some credence for the South as a whole, it fails to

recognize the existence of a viable Socialist movement in Florida during the first two



1 David Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica (New York: Macmillan, 1955), 36.









decades of the twentieth century, and the notable successes it achieved. Shannon's

contention does not explain the 1906 election of Manatee County Socialist Andrew

Jackson Pettigrew to the Florida House of Representatives. It ignores the 1908 Socialist

origins of Ruskin, a cooperative-Socialist college town located in southern Hillsborough

County. Likewise, it overlooks the 1908 Socialist candidacy of Mrs. S. F. J. Linn for

Florida superintendent of schools. Linn's campaign, occurring more than a decade before

women obtained the franchise, marked the first appearance of her sex on a statewide

ballot. Similarly, it discounts the 1910 election of Gulfport Socialist Mayor E. E.

Wintersgill and the final composition of that municipality's town council at four

Socialists to one Democrat. Nor does it take into account the 1912 electoral success of

Socialist gubernatorial and state cabinet candidates. Thomas Cox, W. C. Edwards, A. J.

Pettigrew, and Fred Lincoln Pattison all bested their Republican opponents and finished

second behind the eventual Democratic winners. Arising out of the turmoil of Florida's

industrialization during the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Florida

Socialist Party, at its height, not only influenced public policy in a more progressive

direction, but also showed the potential to displace the Republican Party and become

Florida's second major party.

The golden age of the Socialist Party of America coincided with the Progressive

movement of the early twentieth century, but socialism had arrived in America a

generation earlier. Though it often seemed shaped by foreign influences, especially

German radicals who flocked to the United States after the unsuccessful uprisings of









1848, the American socialist movement owed more to its own country than to Europe.2

Almost from the time industrialism first began in the United States, a few Americans

advocated some kind of anti-capitalistic scheme for society that, they hoped, would

eliminate industrial oppression and bring to those who labored the full fruits of their toils.

There was Thomas Skidmore, who in the late 1820s advocated a periodic redistribution

of property.3 There were the followers of the benevolent Welshman Robert Owen and

the noted French Utopian Charles Fourier who tried to create semisocialist communities

as models for the reform of industrial capitalism.4

To trace the origins of the Socialist Party to these early nineteenth-century utopian

societies, however, would be a risky and not particularly fruitful endeavor. Yet the two

should not necessarily be sharply divided one from the other, since the utopian spirit and

in particular its ethical ideals were to permeate the American reform, labor, and radical

movements for many years to come. The party's real origins lay in the revolt against the

social and economic conditions created by the mushrooming industrialism of America

after the Civil War.5

It is axiomatic that a society that produced a Carnegie, a Rockefeller, and a

Vanderbilt would also give rise to social discontent and to political protest movements.


2 Ira Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952), 6-7;
Howard Quint, The Forging ofAmerican Socialism (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1953),
3-36; Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 43-50.

3 For a detailed account of Skidmore's thinking see Matthew S. Bewig, "The Roots of American Labor
Radicalism: Political Economy and the Intellectual Foundations of the American Labor Movement, 1815-
1830" (Master's thesis, University of North Carolina, 1986), 48-62.

4 Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States (New York: Funk and Wagnalls
Company, 1903), 48-108; John Humphrey Noyes, History ofAmerican Socialism (New York:
Hillary House, 1870), 21-92, 193-250.

5 Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 3.; Quint, The Forging ofAmerican Socialism, 12; Shannon,
The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 2.









There was an abundance of these movements. Grangers, Greenbackers, Populists,

Anarchists, and Socialists all had burning criticisms of the status quo. Most were clearly

anti-capitalist in their nature; yet most would not have abolished capitalism as such.

They would have only removed those aspects of capitalism that caused them harm. From

the 1860s on there was some kind of organized Socialist movement in the United States

that looked forward to the establishment of some variety of socialism. In the year that

Ulysses S. Grant was reelected, Karl Marx moved the headquarters of the International

Workingmen's Association, the First International, from London to New York, where a

few sections of the International already were established among German immigrants.

The Socialist Labor Party (SLP) was built upon this foundation.6

The SLP was the first formidable Socialist organization in America. Daniel

DeLeon, who was cut in the classic pattern of a Socialist theorizer, founded the SLP in

1890. He was Dutch and Jewish in origin and in the late 1880s taught international law

and philosophy at Columbia University. A tireless worker and patient organizer, he

believed it was his life's mission to spread Marxism in America. Unhappily for him, the

country he chose to convert generally disliked the theory. Though dogmatic and narrow

minded in many of his ideas, DeLeon possessed conviction and a certain magnetism that

made him the SLP's patron saint, an icon status that continues long after his death.

DeLeon was vitally interested in labor organization and Socialist agitation.

Convinced that workers directed by Socialists could bring down capitalism, he attacked

conservative craft labor unionists and hoped to organize a new socialist labor movement.

He made many enemies and little headway. He thought sectarian purity was the key to


6Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, 177-192; Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 7;
Quint, The Forging ofAmerican Socialism, 9-12.









his kingdom and that the American workingman would welcome his doctrinal logic. He

was sadly mistaken, and after 1900 his party declined into a rigid sect while the majority

of American Socialists migrated to the Socialist Party of America. In his heavy emphasis

on doctrine and his fascination with the dialectical process of socialism's triumph over

capitalism, "The New York Pope," as his enemies called him, managed to be both

belligerent and dull. However important the history of his party and ideas, he stands

outside the main development of American socialism.7

DeLeon's dictatorial dominance of the Socialist Labor Party had a double effect of

repelling many old-time workers in the movement, who withdrew in large numbers, and

causing the organization to become unpopular with the majority of newly converted

Socialists. While DeLeon purified his own thought and followers, other groups won the

great majority of those inclined to socialism. Thus, in the middle 1890s, a new Socialist

Party gradually sprang up outside the ranks of the Socialist Labor Party. The aims and

views of the new party, the Social Democracy of America, were originally somewhat

crude and indefinite. Its declaration of principles was substantially socialistic, but,

echoing earlier activists like Owen and Fourier, its main program was the promotion of a

fantastic plan to colonize in some western state, capture the state government, and

introduce a socialist regime. But the era of utopian communities had long since past, and

the colonization plan was dropped.8





7 L. Glenn Seretan, Daniel DeLeon: The Odyssey of an American Marxist (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1979).

8 See Bernard Brommel, "Debs's Cooperative Commonwealth Plan for Workers," Labor History 12 (Fall
1972): 560-69.









The Social Democracy merged by 1898 with the Social Democratic Party. The

Social Democratic Party, dominated by Victor L. Berger, believed in the promise

embodied in its name, social democracy. Though decidedly socialist in its aim, the party

taught democratic action, representative government, and a slow, patient fight toward its

socialist utopia. Its followers shunned revolutionary violence and talk of uprisings

among the workers. Education was its key to success, and its doctrines better fitted

American possibilities than did DeLeon's. Milwaukee was the laboratory of Berger's

experiment. He and his lieutenants made it the most Socialist city in America. By

patiently building, they created a Socialist machine that was the envy of Democratic and

Republican opponents. Berger was a powerful force in the Socialist movement and

became a national spokesman. He was the first party member to sit in the United States

Congress, serving as a representative from his Milwaukee district from 1911 to 1913, and

from 1923 to 1929.9

The Social Democrats were builders, but they often lacked flair and charisma. The

most famous American Socialist, Eugene Victor Debs, brought both to the party. A

product of rural Indiana, a youthful veteran of hard railroad life, and a dynamic labor

organizer, Debs combined qualities of leadership with a great respect for his fellow man

to become a formidable political campaigner and Socialist evangelist. In 1893,

challenging the narrow craft unionism then dominating the railroad industry, Debs

formed the American Railway Union along industrial lines. The following year he

reluctantly entered the famous Pullman strike and served a jail term when the strike was

crushed. He emerged from prison leaning towards socialism, and rapidly became the

9 Sally M. Miller, Victor Berger and the Promise of Constructive Socialism, 1910-1920 (Westport:
Greenwood Press, 1973).









party's chief national figure. He was a Socialist candidate for president five times, served

two jail sentences for his beliefs, and became one of the great figures in American

radicalism.10

Socialist parties engaged in politics and labor agitation from the 1890s onward. The

SLP ran candidates for national office in the 1890s with meager results. The Social

Democrats worked on the local level in the late 1890s, showing their greatest strength in

Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New York. By 1900, when Debs ran for president on a

Social Democratic ticket with support from an SLP splinter group, American socialism

was ripe for unity.

In 1901 the Socialist Party of America emerged from the confusion and for the rest

of the century was home to most of America's Socialists. It was a coalition with

conflicting interests, whose left and right wings were never entirely reconciled. The SPA

basically consisted of three groups. On the right stood Victor Berger and his step-by-step

Socialists, committed to education and the democratic process. In the center, led by

Morris Hillquit, stood the moderates. The moderates were also committed to education

and the ballot, but inclined to sympathize with a stronger radical tone in their program.

On the left were the revolutionaries, led by many rather than one man. They claimed

Debs as their idol, although he flirted with the conservatives, and despite his lurid oratory

and biting pen, he more often sided with the moderates than the radicals. The

revolutionaries were militant in their desire for party recognition of radical labor unions.






10 Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982); Paul
Buhle, "The Meaning of Debsian Socialism," RadicalAmerica 2 (January/February 1968): 44-59.









They distrusted the "Slowcialists," as they dubbed the right wing, who looked like mere

reformers to men who talked of worker's revolts and social revolution.1

So varied a group invited dissension, and the history of American socialism is in

one measure a story of intra-party strife. Socialism involved doctrinal interpretation,

attracted a variety of people, and fed a shared belief in the coming utopia. Dispute was

inevitable. Every Socialist tended to be his own party. Because it was a coalition, the

party did not enforce the rigid discipline common to European socialism. Americans,

even Socialists, were too strongly infected with individualism and free speech to accept

such discipline. The party's loose structure and the semi-independence of its component

parts only heightened the tendency to factionalism. The intra-party disputes at least had

the merit of inviting opinion on the great issues of the day.

American socialism faced most of the issues confronting the old political parties,

and in taking its stands said much of itself and its society. In the two decades before

1920, it was a vital and positive organization, waging political campaigns, running a

vocal press, and raising up influential and effective leaders. In 1908, the party mounted a

spectacular national tour for Debs's presidential campaign that warned older parties of its

growing strength. Between 1910 and 1912 it elected more than a thousand of its

members to public office across the country and had a membership of more than 100,000.

In 1910, the party successfully ran Emil Seidel for mayor of Milwaukee and Victor

Berger for United States Congress. By 1912, at a time when the party had locals and

newspapers in almost every state of the union, Debs garnered nearly six percent of the

national vote in the face of such formidable liberals as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore


11Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 80-136; Quint, The Forging ofAmerican Socialism, 350-388;
Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 1-42.









Roosevelt. Socialist ideas were welcomed in the homes of workers, intellectuals, and

even farmers. It seemed to all Socialists, and even to some conservatives, that socialism

was the wave of the future.12

Yet, the party was at the mercy of events. Even as it prospered, its internal

weaknesses magnified and its external enemies multiplied. World War I and its

complications ended the Socialist Party's remarkable run of success, whatever actual

potential it might ever have had. The party suffered serious internal dissension over the

war. Many Socialists were pacifists and suffered official and unofficial persecution

during and after the war. Negative American reaction to the Russian Revolution of 1917

further weakened the party. In 1919 the party splintered into its component parts, ending

its golden age in a welter of confusion and quarreling.

Unlike the national party, which had its origins in the SLP and other socialist

factions, Florida socialism had its beginnings in the Populist movement of the 1880s and

1890s. Southern populism, the principal conduit through which agrarian rebels below the

Mason Dixon line channeled their discontent in the 1890s, resulted from a multitude of

factors, such as plunging commodity prices, manipulated railroad freight rates,

unscientific farming methods, and the ceaseless economic bondage wrought by the crop-

lien system. Both Populists and Socialists alike protested against a business plutocracy;

both believed that only the federal government possessed the means to harness the banks

and giant corporations for the public good. The Populists, however, sought to eliminate

monopolies and save competitive capitalism by organizing small, independent, self-

reliant producers into farming cooperatives. Socialists, by contrast, hoped to destroy


12Hillquit, History of Socialism in America, 352-3; Kipnis, The American Socialist Movement, 335-369;
Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 81-149.









competitive capitalism by redistributing all land and all means of production,

transportation, and distribution. The two movements, though, had similar economic and

emotional appeal.13

Yet, the extent of the debt Florida socialism owes to populism is a difficult question

to answer. In Florida, like many of its fellow states in the Midwest and Southwest, the

prelude to populism was the Farmers' Alliance. In the fall of 1887, sixty-five sub-

alliances, with a membership approaching 2,000 met at Marianna and organized the

Florida Farmers' Alliance. Counties represented included Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus,

Duval, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Walton, and Washington.

Citrus County, situated in the central portion of the state, was the only county present that

did not hail from Florida's northern tier. The uneven distribution of sub-alliances

reflected the divergent agricultural interests of north and south Florida. North Florida,

which since the antebellum period had been a great cotton raising center, had concerns

similar to those of the cotton producing states of the Deep South concerns arising from

the altered economic position of agarian laborers and from the shortage of hard specie.

South Florida, where the agricultural position was economically more tenable, focused on

the marketing of citrus crops, perishable produce, winter vegetables, and the attraction of

more settlers.14 This internal division would threaten the unity of the Florida Alliance

throughout its existence and later plague Florida populism as well.





13 George N. Green, "Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912"
(Master's thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 92.
14 Walter Lord Cory, "The Florida Farmers' Alliance, 1887-1892" (Master's thesis, Florida State
University, 1963): 20-21.









By the spring of 1890 there existed sub-alliances in every county except Franklin,

Dade, Lee, and Monroe. Within these counties, whose local economies were centered on

maritime pursuits rather than agrarian ones, the Alliance made little headway.15 A

decade and a half later, all the southern counties Dade, Lee, and Monroe would house

articulate and vocal Socialist locals. Franklin County, located in the Big Bend area of

north Florida and today the heart of Florida's oyster industry, proved to be the lone

exception to future Socialist development. Moreover, 1890 would view the Florida

Alliance controlling almost half the voting population of the state.16 The Florida

Democratic convention of that same year was so dominated by Alliance members that its

"platform was as much a declaration of Alliance views as Democratic doctrine."17

While the year 1890 would witness the high-watermark of the Florida Alliance, it

also signaled the beginning of its decline. When Florida played host to the National

Farmers' Alliance convention in Ocala in December, sunshine state farmers had never

before, nor would they ever again, command such political unity. Disheartened by the

radical flavor of the Ocala Demands that emerged from the convention, Florida

Alliancemen soon split into conservative and radical factions. The geographical divisions

that had dominated Alliance relations since its inception were highlighted by this

factionalization. Conservative Alliancemen tended to come from south Florida, while

north Floridians predominated among the radical Alliancemen. The actions of the

supposedly pro-Alliance 1891 Florida legislature would demonstrate that the


15 Cory, "The Florida Farmers' Alliance," 23.

16 Kathryn T. Abbey, "Florida Versus the Principles of Populism," Journal of Southern History 4
(November 1938): 462-463; Cory, "The Florida Farmers' Alliance," 78-79.

17 James O. Knauss, "The Farmers' Alliance in Florida," South Atlantic Quarterly 25 (1926): 301.









organization's internal strife was unresolvable. Conservative south Florida Alliance

legislators, seeking to expand their access to northern markets and to increase their

region's population, abandoned attempts at agrarian reform and entered into a coalition

with railroad politicians. Their support of the repeal of the railroad commission, an

action that cost Florida farmers thousands of dollars, signaled their return to the

Democratic fold. It also intensified the desire of the radical members of the Alliance to

abandon the Democratic Party and form a third party.18 By 1892, when the Florida

Populist Party was organized with Alliance support, conservative defections had reduced

the Alliance membership rolls by 75 percent.19

Florida Populists entered into the 1892 campaign under the assumption that they

could supplant the Democrats as the state's dominant political party. To their dismay,

Florida Populists discovered that not only were they no threat to statewide Democratic

dominance, but that their electoral strength was regional in nature. With south Florida

firmly entrenched in the Democratic camp, the Populist gubernatorial candidate,

Allianceman Albert P. Baskin, managed to secure the support of only 21 percent of the

Florida electorate. Baskin was triumphant only in the five rural north Florida counties of

Baker, Calhoun, Taylor, Walton, and Washington.20 Historian Edward Williamson

characterizes Baskin's performance as "the worst defeat of any major gubernatorial

candidate thus far in the history of the state."21 Williamson's assessment would ring true


18 Edward C. Williamson, Florida Politics in the GildedAge, 1877-1893 (Gainesville: University of
Florida Press, 1976): 163-178.

19 Abbey, "Florida Versus the Principles of Populism," 464.
20 Williamson, Florida Politics in the GildedAge, 185.

21 Williamson, Florida Politics in the GildedAge, 185.









for only four years. In the 1896 governor's race, William Weeks, another former

Allianceman, was able to attract slightly less than 13 percent of the electorate to the

Populist cause. Weeks carried only Calhoun and Taylor counties.22 Following the 1896

election, the Populist Party in Florida, as in the rest of the country, gradually

disintegrated. All except the most extreme radicals, including some who would later

gravitate to the Florida Socialist Party, drifted back to the Democratic Party and played

an important role in helping the liberal wing gain control of that institution.

James Mead III, in his 1971 study of the Florida Populist Party, concludes that "the

Populists in Florida achieved fewer successes than their counterparts in almost every

other southern state."23 In Mead's view, there were two principle reasons behind the

overwhelming defeat of Florida's Populists. First, much like the Florida Alliance, the

Populists were never able to entice the counties of southern Florida into their camp.

Despite opposition to high railroad rates and Bourbon land policy, the citrus and truck

farmers of the region remained in the Democratic Party. The farm population in south

Florida was financially more stable than their brethren in north Florida. Populist Party

support in most of the South and West was an outgrowth of agrarian discontent and only

when the farmers felt threatened did they seek to abandon the security of their old parties.

In south Florida no such feeling developed. Within north Florida, the farmers' economic

position was more shaky. While not burdened by high debt rates and the crop-lien

system as the farmers in other southern states, they still were negatively impacted by the

economic depressions of the second half of the nineteenth century. Second, and perhaps

22 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1896 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1896).

23 James Andrew Mead, III, "The Populist Party in Florida" (Master's thesis, Florida Atlantic University,
1971): 81.









foremost, was the issue of white supremacy. Many white Floridians still envisioned the

Democratic Party as the redemptive force that had liberated them from the perceived

shackles of black Republican-induced Reconstruction. Throughout their campaigns

against the Populists, Florida Democrats and the conservative Florida press incessantly

drove this perception home. Labeling the Populists as the "nigger" party or as nothing

more than Republicans in disguise, Democrats never missed an opportunity to remind

voters of their role in restoring white Floridians to their rightful place in the state's social

and economic hierarchy. As a consequence, the overwhelming majority of white farmers

refused to abandon the Democratic Party and risk a return to African American

domination.24 Florida Socialists would face a similar campaign when they challenged

Democratic hegemony during the Progressive Era.

Still, despite the abject failure of the Florida Populist Party, vestiges of populism

lingered on within Florida socialism. Seven Florida counties Calhoun, Clay, Madison,

Polk, Suwannee, Volusia and Washington provided Populist presidential candidate

General James Weaver a nearly identical percentage of votes in 1892 as Eugene Debs

received in 1912. These results appear to offer some evidence of radical continuity,

especially considering the twenty-year time span. Thereafter, the poll tax and multiple

ballot laws, passed in 1889, sharply curtailed voter participation and hastened the demise

of populism in Florida. In addition, Florida Republicans who realized that their candidate

had virtually no chance of carrying the state openly supported the Populist presidential

ticket, which might have helped to cloak the appearance of Populist strength.25


24 Mead, "The Populist Party in Florida," 81-83.

25 Green, "Florida Politics and Socialism," 96.









The Populist vote of 1908, perhaps, offers a clearer relationship with socialism.

The Debs Watson totals of 1908 were almost equal to the Debs vote in eleven counties

in 1912, including four of Debs's best eight counties. The eleven counties included

Alachua, Clay, Desoto, Duval, Holmes, Lee, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, St. Lucie, and

Washington. The platforms of Tom Watson in 1908 and Debs in 1912 both appealed to

"white supremacy" agrarian radicals, whereas Weaver in 1892, with his pledge to support

liberal pensions for Union veterans lacked the same appeal to former Confederates and

their sons. Also, ballot restrictions may have been more ardently pursued in 1892 to

derail the Populist threat than in 1912, when a Democratic triumph was all but assured.26

While Populist strength was clustered in the rural white counties of north Florida,

which were more concerned with reforming corporate railroad abuses than with

radicalism, Socialist strength emanated from coastal population-boom counties that

lacked any great railroad issues fueling political discontent. From 1900 to 1910, the

state's population increased 42 percent, twice the national rate. During the same time

period, Florida's urban population expanded at a 74 percent clip. By 1910 the state

harbored four cities containing more than 10,000 inhabitants: Jacksonville, Tampa,

Pensacola, and Key West. Jacksonville, located in Duval County on Florida's north

Atlantic coast, was the largest with a population of 57,699. Tampa, situated on the state's

central Gulf coast, was second with 37,782 residents. Pensacola, straddling Escambia

Bay in the far western panhandle, sheltered 22,982 inhabitants. Key West, anchoring

Monroe County's and the peninsula's southern tip, had a population of 19,945. During

the opening decade of the twentieth century all these cities, with the notable exception of


26 Green, "Florida Politics and Socialism," 98.









Key West, endured population growth rates that exceeded the national average. Tampa

witnessed a 138.5 percent increase, Jacksonville saw a 103.1 percent uptick, and

Pensacola experienced a 29.5 percent jump in population. Key West, which was limited

by the constraints of its island topography, grew at a rate of 16.5 percent. Hillsborough

County, with Tampa serving as its economic hub, led Florida counties with a rate of

increase of 117.6 percent.27 Besides rapid population expansion, all of these cities and

their surrounding counties were linked by another salient characteristic. During the two

decades of the Progressive Era, these four metropolitan areas housed Florida's most

ardent cadres of Socialist adherents.

In part, Florida's massive population explosion was fueled by an influx of foreign

nationals. By 1910, 9.3 percent of the state's population was of foreign birth or foreign

parentage. Of Florida's foreign-born population, persons born in Cuba represented 26.3

percent; Italy 13.4 percent; Spain 12.4 percent; and Germany 7.2 percent. Among

Floridians having one or both parents born abroad, Cuba contributed 22.3 percent;

Germany 10.7 percent; Italy 10.6 percent; and Spain 7.9 percent. Monroe, Hillsborough,

Escambia, and Duval counties all entertained immigrant populations that exceeded the

state average. Monroe County's emigre populace was an astonishing 55.9 percent,

Hillsborough's 28.0 percent, Escambia's 10.5 percent, and Duval's 9.4 percent. The

proportions of foreign-born whites in the state's urban population was 11.7 percent

compared to just 1.7 percent in the rural enclaves. Key West's foreign-born and foreign

parentage residents comprised 56.1 percent of its population; Tampa's 44.3 percent;



27 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, (Washington: Government Printing
Office, 1914): 567-581.









Pensacola's 14.3 percent; and Jacksonville's 9.9 percent.28 Cuban, Italian, Spanish, and

German immigrants all brought to Florida traditions of Socialist militancy and political

organization. Radicals among them, tempered by the fires of nativist hostility, were to

imprint their distinctive stamp on the Florida Socialist Party.

The major factor stimulating Florida's immigrant infusion was the state's

burgeoning industrial sector. In 1909, Florida had 2,159 manufacturing establishments,

which paid out $27,937.000 in salaries and wages to 64,810 people, 57,473 of whom

(88.7%) were wage earners. As Table 1-1 shows, Florida industry was concentrated in

four leading fields of production, tobacco, lumber, naval stores, and phosphate, which

employed 55,183 wage earners, or 96 percent of all industrial wage earners in the state.29

Table 1-1: Leading
Industries in Florida, 1909
INDUSTRY PERSONS EMPLOYED VALUE OF PRODUCT /
% STATE MANUF.
Tobacco 12,280 $21,575,000 / 29.6%
Timber / Lumber 19,277 $20,863,000 / 28.6%
Naval Stores 18,143 $11,938,000 / 16.4%
Phosphate Mining 5,483 $8,488,801 / (not manuf)
Not only were these industries important to the Florida economy, they were

significant to the national economy as well. Florida produced 78.7 percent of the nation's

output of phosphate, while the state naval stores industry accounted for 41.4 percent of

the total value of turpentine and rosin produced in the United States in 1904 and 47.2

percent in 1909, leading the nation in production for both years. Finally, Florida was

third in cigar production nationwide.


28 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 583-603.

29 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 639-643, 660-661.









Like the residency of Florida's immigrant population, the state's manufacturing

industries tended to have an urban flavor. In 1909, with only 18.4 percent of the total

population of the state, Tampa, Key West, Jacksonville, and Pensacola, recorded 41.6

percent of the total value of manufactured products and 25 percent of the wage earners

engaged in manufacturing. Tampa, although ranking second in population, was easily

first when measured either by the value of products or number of wage earners. The

city's leading industry in 1909 was cigar production, the value of which amounted to

$14,557,329 or 82.7 percent of Tampa's total manufacturing output. Cuban, Spanish, and

Italian immigrants constituted the core of wage earners in Tampa's smoky yet

smokestackless cigar factories. In Key West, like Tampa, the manufacture of cigars was

the leading industry with a value of products of $3,716,740 or 93.7 percent of the city's

total industrial production. The city's labor force was composed of the same immigrant

groups that predominated in Tampa's cigar industry. In Jacksonville the leading industry

was the manufacture of phosphate rock into fertilizer. The fertilizer industry, valued at

$2,511,356, represented 37.4 percent of Jacksonville's total value of products. Displaced

agricultural workers and immigrants formed the core of Jacksonville's industrial wage

earners. Pensacola's leading industry, lumber and timber manufactures, provided 25.4

percent of that city's total value of products. The city's wage earners were comprised

primarily of African Americans, immigrants, and former agrarian laborers.30

But all was not well within Florida's manufacturing sector. Between 1904 and

1909 the average number of wage earners per establishment decreased 10 percent; the

average value of products 5.2 percent; and the average value added by manufacture by


30 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 643, 646.









9.4 percent. During the same five-year span, Key West showed decreases in the value of

its products and in the number of wage earners, while Jacksonville and Pensacola showed

decreases in the number of wage earners. Only Tampa demonstrated an increase in both

categories. In 1904 the average annual salary of Florida manufacturing wage earners was

$374.59 compared to $399.87 in 1909. This amounted to a paltry annual pay increase of

1.2 percent. Not only were the state's industrial workers enduring growing

unemployment and lagging wages, they were also working longer hours. Of the total

number of manufacturing wager earners 53.5 percent were employed in establishments

where the prevailing work hours ranged from 54 to 60 per week. Among employees

laboring in the state's top four industries the rate was much higher. Nearly all phosphate

miners, 95.4 percent to be exact, worked 60 hours or more, as did 86.9 percent of lumber

and timber wage earners. Nearly two-thirds of tobacco workers labored more than 54

hours weekly and 55.4 percent of turpentine and rosin wage earners did the same.31

But Florida's industrial laborers did not willingly acquiesce to their place in the

state's economic order. At the beginning of the twentieth century Florida labor unions

were well organized in the state's urban areas, particularly Tampa, Pensacola, and

Jacksonville. They sometimes savored success in mobilizing public opinion behind their

cause, and when they encountered defeat, many frustrated unionists protested by voting

for the Florida Socialist Party. Hillsborough County, with Tampa's cigar makers at the

forefront, maintained the largest union rolls in the state. Labor problems in the city's

cigar industry began almost simultaneously with its conception in 1885. Older Tampa


31 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 645-646, 648.









residents often measure their family histories by the benchmarks of the tumultuous strikes

of 1899, 1901, 1910, and 1920. The 1899 weight strike, brought on by management's

decision to weigh a specific amount of tobacco for each cigar maker as a cost control

measure, marked the first and last major strike won by the workers. In 1901, La

Resistencia, the union of Spanish-speaking laborers, demanded a union shop. La

Resistencia, suffering a lack of strike funds, and facing a determined coalition of the

Cigar Manufactures Association and prominent businessmen, lost the strike. Following

La Resistencia's defeat, the Cigar Makers International became the dominant union in the

Tampa industry. Its 1910 demands for a union shop heralded a strike that lasted seven

months and whose associated lynchings and murders attracted international attention.

The demand for a union shop was again defeated, as it would be in 1920. It would not

return again until insured by federal legislation during the New Deal.32

Pensacola's union history stretched back to the 1880s when the Knights of Labor

organized. By 1908, the city had 22 labor unions, a remarkable total for a southern

community harboring a population of less than 20,000. The first labor dispute of 1908

began when members of the Street and Electric Railway Employees Union failed to reach

a contract agreement with the Pensacola Electric Company. The union was demanding a

two-cents-per-hour pay increase (to twenty cents an hour) and a closed shop. When the


32 For an overview of Tampa's immigrant labor culture see, Gary R. Mormino and George E. Pozzetta, The
Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1987): 97-141; for detailed accounts of the individual strikes of 1899, 1901,
1910, and 1920, see Gary R. Mormino, "Tampa and the New Urban South: The Weight Strike of 1899,"
Florida Historical Quarterly 60 (January 1982): 337-356; Durward Long, "La Resistencia: Tampa's
Immigrant Labor Union," Labor History 6 (Fall 1965): 193-214; George E. Pozzetta, "Alerta Tabaqueros!
Tampa's Striking Cigar Workers," Tampa Bay History 3 (Fall/Winter 1981): 19-29; Durward Long, "The
Open-Closed Shop Battle in Tampa's Cigar Industry, 1919-1921," Florida Historical Quarterly 47
(October 1968): 101-121.









company pleaded an inability to meet the union's demands, the employees voted to

strike. The electric company responded by firing all of the strikers. The ensuing walk-

out was marred by violence on both sides. The local police were unable to subdue the

surging emotions and Governor Napoleon B. Broward was forced to deploy the National

Guard to restore order. Faced with rising public opposition, and the adamant position of

the company, the six-week strike collapsed. Only sixteen unionists who had crossed the

picket lines retained their jobs. The electric car strike was the worst but not the sole labor

- management confrontation in Pensacola during 1908. The Louisville and Nashville

Railroad's machinists union also struck their employers. The eight-month strike, which

ended with the same result as the electric car strike, reportedly cost the company over

$2,000,000 in lost revenue. Defeated in the streets, their unions dismantled, their families

hungry, Pensacola laborers turned to the political arena. In the 1908 elections seven of

the nine labor candidates for the county executive committee were victorious. Of the

eleven city precincts, labor candidates triumphed by large majorities in five.33

Florida's phosphate miners during the Progressive Era endured a combination of

long hours, strenuous labor, and swampy, malaria-infested work sites. The industry

itself, with its mines in central Florida's Polk County and its fertilizer plants in

Jacksonville, suffered through a series of boom and bust business cycles. During the

boom times the miners sought to unionize and during the bust periods management

countered the miner's efforts. The most effective practices used by the operators to keep

the workers subservient were the commissary system and company townships. The


3 Wayne Flynt, "Pensacola Labor Problems and Political Radicalism, 1908," Florida Historical Quarterly
43 (April 1965): 315-332.









company-owned stores were designed in part for convenience and in part to make the

miners more dependent on the company. Management claimed that they were benevolent

concerns, which aided the laborers during hard times, but in actuality the system was

nothing more than a means to degrade the miners. They were forced to barter their labor

for life's necessities since the companies rarely paid in hard cash. Instead, they were

extended credit at the company store and could be terminated if they insisted on cash

payment or refused to trade at the commissary. While the system may have had some

economic justification, it was clear that the miners detested it. In 1919 both sides decided

to settle the issue of unionization once and for all. The Mineral Workers Union

threatened to call a strike if its demands for an eight-hour day and a minimum wage of 37

cents per hour were not met. When management ignored their demands, 4800 miners

walked out. The ensuing seven-and-one-half month strike was marred by countless acts

of violence and five deaths. To quell the violence, Governor Sidney J. Catts was forced

to call out both the National Guard and the Polk County Home Guards. The strike had

far reaching consequences. Due to the shutdown in phosphate production, the Seaboard

Coastline Railroad laid off several hundred workers and the fertilizer plants in

Jacksonville were also forced to furlough hundreds of laborers. In the end, however, the

industry's tremendous advantages in wealth, legal resources, and influence with the

government resulted in a complete victory for the producers. The miner's union was

broken, and the workers gained little or nothing for all their hardships.34

Public health was a crucial concern for all Floridians, both native and immigrant

alike. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the recurring

34 Arch Fredric Blakey, The Florida Phosphate Industry: A History of the Development and Use of a Vital
Mineral (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973): 36-75.









epidemics of yellow fever, typhoid fever, and cholera and the almost endemic nature of

malaria, tuberculosis, and diphtheria threatened the physical and economic well being of

the South. In Florida the diseases and health conditions common to the rest of the South

were worsened by the semitropical climate and housing problems. Also, measures and

methods of public health were slow in arriving. The state's wet, mosquito-infested

neighborhoods menaced the health of all who lived there, but the threats were most

severe to the life and comfort of the laboring immigrant. Disease and death were

commonplace, while medical services for the immigrant laborers were practically non-

existent. In 1905 Florida's death rate from disease was 6.6 percent per 1,000 people.

Monroe County led all Florida counties with a rate of 21.2 percent, followed by Duval at

16.1 percent, Hillsborough with 10.8 percent, and Escambia at 10.4 percent. These four

counties reported 75 percent of the state's diphtheria deaths, 60.8 percent of its

tuberculosis deaths, 48.8 percent of its meningitis deaths, 43.8 percent of its cholera

deaths, 25.8 percent of its typhoid deaths, and 19.5 percent of its malaria deaths.35 With

an understanding of Florida, the state's populist heritage, problems in immigration,

wages, labor relations, housing, and health care, it is not difficult to comprehend that

socialism could develop into an influential political movement within the state.












35 The Third Census of the State ofFlorida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer,
1906): 140-153, 164-165, 170-171, 176-181.














CHAPTER 2
UTOPIAN SUNRISE: THE BIRTH AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FLORIDA
SOCIALIST PARTY

On February 6, 1900, a crowd of four thousand people filled the Hillsborough

County Courthouse Square to hear Eugene Debs speak about organized labor, the

competitive system, the Industrial Revolution, and the cooperative commonwealth. The

Tampa Tribune reported that the crowd "was an enthusiastic audience, cheering the

telling points of the speech, and remaining steadfastly through the incipient shower that

fell spasmodically during the two hours of oratory." Debs discussed the trusts at length,

arguing that "the trust, in itself, is a blessing; the private ownership of the trust is where

the evil lies." He hailed the trusts as the natural forbearers of the cooperative

commonwealth, the era when men would become both political and economic equals.

Debs, appealing perhaps to Populist sentiments, also addressed the great railroad systems

of the day and the manner in which they were controlled. He accused J. P. Morgan of

monopolizing the control of nearly all the nation's railroads. To Debs, Morgan had

"accomplished this by what is known as manipulation, which is but a polite term for

stealing." Speaking on the subject of the country's on-going war in the Philippines, Debs

contended that modernr wars are declared at banquet-tables, where the firing-line is a

row of champagne bottles. The men who make the war, as a rule, do not go to war. In

these wars the workingmen of one nation slay the workingmen of another nation in order

to save their country, and when they have saved it, how much of it belongs to them?"1


1 Tampa Tribune, February 7, 1900.









Debs' Tampa visit served as the impetus that fostered the birth of the Florida Socialist

Party.

Eighteen months later, in late July 1901, the various dissenting American Socialist

groups that had fought one another for decades submerged their differences and formed

the Socialist Party of America (SPA). The Unity Convention, as the initial gathering of

the SPA was dubbed, also created the framework for the organization of a Socialist local.

In Florida, Socialist locals closely mirrored the national model. In forming a Socialist

local, the SPA's national office suggested that at least five people be present and sign a

pledge "recognizing the class struggle between the capitalist class and the working class

and the necessity of the working class constituting itself into a political party distinct

from and opposed to all parties formed by the capitalist class." New members were also

asked to sever all ties to other political parties and endorse the platform of the Socialist

Party, including the principle of political action. There existed no secret ritual in joining

the Socialist Party and all meetings were open to the public. The signing of the pledge

was the only affirmative action required for party initiation.2

Party rules specified much of how a local was to be organized. At the first meeting

of a local, a recording secretary, a financial secretary, a treasurer, a literature agent, and

an organizer were elected for terms that lasted three months. A new chairman was to be

elected each meeting. The purpose of this restriction was to keep power within the local

from being concentrated in one individual. It was suggested that the local meet weekly,

and it was urged that the meetings not be held in anyone's home, as this would obligate

the local to the individual homeowner. The national organization also suggested that the


2 Socialist Party National Office, "How to Organize a Socialist Local or Branch" (Chicago: no date, not
numbered).









local not rent space behind or adjacent to a saloon because most women resist attending

meetings in such an atmosphere. National leaders also noted that it was important to

have women in the local because they tended to be the best procurers of money. Most

locals followed a similar order of business. The meeting was initially called to order by

the organizer who presided over the first order of business, the election of a chairman for

the meeting. This election was followed by the reading of the minutes of the previous

meeting, reports of the officers and committees, and the undertaking of unfinished and

new business. Then the applications of new members were reviewed. An intermission

was allotted for the payment of dues, and before adjournment, there was a discussion or

study period.3

In addition to the regular debates of the local, street meetings were held whenever a

speaker was available. The newspaper accounts of these street meetings provide virtually

the only written record of Socialist meetings in Florida. They were evidently quite

successful and very popular. At these street meetings, party members solicited financial

donations and sold Socialist propaganda in the forms of pamphlets and newspapers.

These outdoor gatherings also proved highly conducive for the recruitment of new party

members. The street meeting model that all Florida Socialists sought to emulate was

Debs' 1900 Tampa speaking engagement.

The first SPA local in Florida was formed in Jacksonville on July 4, 1902.4 By

1904 more than fifty chapters of the SPA dotted the Florida landscape from Pensacola to

Key West. Although the party's strength rested in Jacksonville and Tampa, members

included oppressed tenant farmers in north Florida's cotton and tobacco growing regions,

3 Socialist Party National Office, "How to Organize a Socialist Local or Branch."

4 Florida Times-Union, September 6, 1908.









isolated timber workers in the piney woods of the Panhandle, physicians in Bradenton,

lawyers in Longwood, pineapple growers in Fort Pierce, cabinet makers in Bonifay, and

struggling small businessmen along the developing Atlantic and Gulf coasts.5 The

majority of Florida Socialists, to use James Weinstein terms, appear to have belonged to

the "right" or "constructive" wing of the Socialist continuum.6 They believed that the

cooperative commonwealth could be achieved through the ballot.

To facilitate that goal, Florida Socialists realized that they had to be able to mount

substantial statewide political challenges to the dominant Democratic Party. Beginning

with the 1904 election, the Florida Socialist Party sought to offer to their fellow

Floridians a full slate of candidates for state, county, and city offices. In January the

Saint Petersburg local held a meeting, attended by only seven members, to endorse the

municipal candidates who pledged to enact their initiatives. In May, the Tampa Socialist

local nominated a complete slate of participants to contest that city's municipal

elections.8 In July and August, locals in Manatee, Hillsborough, and Duval counties

nominated candidates for every county office.9 While victory eluded all of the socialist

candidates for local offices, their efforts served notice to the majority Democratic

establishment that socialism was a force that could not be ignored.





5 Brad Alan Paul, "Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920" (PhD diss.,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 73-74.
6 James Weinstein, The Decline of Socialism in America, 1912-25 (New York: Monthly Review Press,
1967): 5-8

SSt. Petersburg Times, January 23, 1904.

8 Tampa Tribune, May 18, 1904.

9 Florida Times-Union, August 3, 1904 and August 11, 1904; St. Petersburg Times, August 6, 1904.









Despite their electoral defeats in local races, the persistent political activity of

Florida's Socialist locals continued with renewed zeal. Though often belittled by the

state's pro-Democratic Party newspapers, the Florida Socialist Party's public profile and

influence were expanding. During the first week of July 1904, the party's first state

convention was held in Orlando. The convention proved to be an entirely harmonious

and businesslike assemblage. On the Fourth of July, the party adopted a platform and

new constitution. The new constitution empowered the state committee to fill any

vacancies on the ticket that might occur due to excessive filing fees attached to some

political offices. Resolutions supporting Colorado's striking miners and commending

various Florida Socialists were also adopted. Special recognition was afforded to

Jacksonville's John Wilford and Oscar Edgar, publishers of the party's official

newspaper, the Florida Socialist. W. R. Healy, a Longwood attorney, was chosen as the

party's nominee for governor. As their standard-bearers for the state cabinet, the

Socialists nominated J. D. Parrot, an Orange Park physician, for secretary of state; W. C.

Green, an Orlando lawyer, for attorney general; Emil Broberg, a Manatee County

surveyor, for comptroller; and S. A. Pettigrew, a Lee County nurseryman, for secretary of

agriculture. M. C. Dwight of Gulfport was the convention's choice for state treasurer and

West Palm Beach's R. E. Resler the pick for superintendent of schools. For unknown

reasons, neither of these two nominees appeared on the November ballot. Ed Wetzel

replaced Dwight on the ballot and Resler's slot was left vacant.10

Florida Socialists emerged from their convention with an increased sense of

purpose. W. R. Healy, the party's gubernatorial candidate, typified the Socialist's

newfound vigor. Embarking on a statewide campaign swing, Healy spoke in Saint

10 Florida Times-Union, July 6, 1904.









Petersburg on August 23 and August 24. An enthusiastic audience of 200 intently

followed both speeches. Healy's first speech dealt with the Socialist plan for bridging the

gulf between capitalists and laborers. His second speech was an outline of the evolution

of civilization and government. Healy quoted from the Declaration of Independence and

contrasted it with the current condition of the American government to show the worker's

changed and degraded position within industrial society.11

In challenging the economic and social underpinnings of Florida's southern

heritage, the state's Socialist Party confronted not only issues of class but also,

unavoidably, issues of race, or "the Negro question." Although the 1901 Unity

Convention had given greater priority to the organization of African Americans, "white

supremacy" subjected both black and white Socialists in Florida to the same racist and

nativist appeals that had plagued the state's Populists a decade earlier. Despite

Democratic charges of race-mixing, Florida socialism was tainted with nearly as much

Jim Crowism as the Democracy itself. Florida locals, like the locals in South Carolina,

Georgia, and Mississippi, were rigidly segregated. In cases where there were insufficient

numbers of African American members to form a black local, they were enrolled as

members-at-large in the state organization.12 W. R. Healy's 1903 recruitment efforts

among the state's African American population were typical of the Socialist Party's

approach in Florida. Healy, who was then serving as the state party secretary, reported to

The Worker that he had organized a colored branch in Orlando with 22 members and had


11 Tampa Tribune, August 26, 1904; unfortunately, all that remains of Healy's speech is a very brief notice
in the Tampa Tribune, so that it is impossible to explore further the connections Healy drew between the
Declaration and the contemporaneous status of the working class.
12 Sally M. Miller, ed., Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Twentieth-Century American Socialism (New
York: Garland Press, 1996): 38.









urged all locals in Florida to take up the "work of organizing the Negroes" into similar

segregated branches.13

Throughout the fall the Socialists persisted in their campaign against capitalism. C.

C. Allen, a future Socialist gubernatorial candidate, spoke to the party faithful in Saint

Petersburg on October 31. Noting that it was Halloween, Allen warned Democrats that

the Socialists were not a "ghost of a party" but rather a viable alternative to the misrule of

the incumbent party.14 By November, Florida Socialists were readily anticipating the end

of the campaign and expected to receive a large percentage of the state vote.

As the campaign progressed, not only Socialists but loyal Democrats as well began

to believe in the potential of the party. In the case of Democrats, however, this belief

took the form of fear. As the staunchly Democratic Tampa Tribune opined in a late

October editorial, "throughout the rural districts of this section, the Socialist party is

much stronger than the Republican party and a much more formidable foe of the

Democratic party for Socialism seeks its support from disgruntled Democrats and

draws its forces directly from the Democratic ranks. The Socialist party ... is waging a

determined war on Democratic nominees." Calling Socialism "far more menacing to

Democracy than Republicanism," the Tribune went on to criticize its Tampa competitor,

the Tampa Times, for printing notices and news about the Socialists at all.15

Reverting to the tactics that served them so well against the Populists a decade

earlier, Democrats began to link the specter of increased African American political



13 Philip S. Foner, American Socialism and BlackAmericans (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977): 131.
14 St. Petersburg Times, November 1, 1904.

15 Tampa Tribune, October 27, 1904.









power to any Socialist victory. Their concern was intensified because Socialists refused

to participate in the white primaries, preferring instead to oppose the Democratic Party in

the general election. The Tampa Tribune warned city residents that the Socialists were

planning to attract to their ranks "the Negro who were denied participation in the white

primaries" in order to win. The newspaper concluded that "no greater calamity could

befall the city than the election of a Socialist administration, or even a partly Socialist

administration."16

The 1904 election results in Florida showed that Eugene Debs received 2,337 votes

(5.9 percent) for president. Tom Watson of the Populist Party received 1,605 (4.1

percent) votes. In the race for governor, W. R. Healy garnered 1,270 votes or 3.4 percent

of the votes cast. In the cabinet races, W. C. Green tallied 1,604 votes (5.2 percent) for

attorney general, Emil Broberg secured 1,499 votes (4.9 percent) for comptroller, S. A.

Pettigrew attracted 1,432 votes (4.9 percent) for agricultural commissioner, J. D. Parrot

received 1,279 votes (3.8 percent) for secretary of state, and Ed Wetzel garnered 1,013

votes (3.4 percent) for state treasurer. The five counties supplying the highest socialist

vote in the gubernatorial contest included Hillsborough with 200 votes, Lee 119 votes,

Duval 79 votes, St. Johns 79 votes, and Manatee 73 votes. Counties affording the

Socialist nominee more than 5 percent of their total vote included Lee with 25.3 percent,

Manatee 9.3 percent, St. Johns 8.8 percent, and Hillsborough 6.8 percent.1

The most surprising result that emerged from the 1904 election returns was the high

percentage of Socialist votes obtained in Lee County. Located approximately 125 miles


16 Tampa Tribune, October 15, 1904.

17 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1904 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1904).









south of Tampa on the state's southwest Gulf coast, Lee County recorded vote

percentages that rivaled the Socialist totals reported by Garin Burbank among the

southern cotton counties of Oklahoma between 1910 and 1916.18 Lee County's principal

agricultural staple, however, was not cotton, but rather winter vegetables and citrus

fruits.19 The county's farm tenancy rate of 5.5 percent was only a small fraction of the

rates described by Burbank in the Oklahoma countryside.20 But the county did possess

several of the demographic traits that characterized Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, and

Monroe counties. First, like these four counties, Lee's economic lifeline to the outside

world was the sea. Second, Lee had experienced a population explosion during the initial

decade of the Progressive Era. From 1900 to 1910 the county's population expanded at a

rate of 104.9 percent, five times the national average. But unlike its fellow coastal

counties, Lee County's population growth was only tentatively governed by foreign

immigration. With a foreign-born population of only 3.7 percent in 1910, the county's

growth was steered more by domestic immigration from the North and Midwest.21

Included among these domestic immigrants was a Socialist cooperative religious sect

from Chicago known as the Koreshan Unity. Led by Cyrus Reed Teed, their arrival in

1894 would constitute the foundation from which socialism would arise within Lee

County.




18 Garin Burbank, When Farmers Voted Red: The Gospel of Socialism in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1910-
1924 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1976): 3-13, 190-208.

19 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida (Washington: Government Printing
Office, 1914): 634.
20 Third Census of the State ofFlorida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer,
1906): 191.
21 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida, 594.









Teed, known as Koresh to his followers, was born in 1839 in western New York

state. Following service in the Union Army, he completed his education at Eclectic

Medical College of New York, an institution specializing in herbal medical cures.

Unsatisfied with saving lives alone, Teed soon developed a religious philosophy to save

souls as well. His central thesis, cellular cosmogony, contended the Earth is a hollow

sphere sheltering the entire universe. Mankind resided on the inside of the sphere, rather

than on the surface of the Earth. The Sun, a gigantic electro-magnet dominating the

center of the universe, created daylight by sending positive energy into the walls of the

Earth. Night was the result of the Sun drawing negative energy back to itself. The Sun,

source of all life, was self-perpetuating. God, the source of all spiritual life, followed the

same natural laws. Just as the Sun radiated energy earthward, God sent prophets to the

Earth. The first six prophets were each successively more perfect manifestations of the

Son of God. When the seventh prophet appeared, he would unite with God into one and

usher in the millennium. Few of Teed's flock needed to ask the identity of the seventh

prophet.

Teed's search for adherents took him across the "Burned-over District" of New

York, westward to Chicago, and finally south to Lee County. Settling along the Estero

River, Teed actively sought close ties with the citizens of Fort Myers, eighteen miles to

the Koreshan community's north. For ten years his quest for harmony was fulfilled. Lee

County residents simply did not feel threatened by the small band of religious zealots or

their unconventional beliefs. As long as the Koreshan membership remained small and

Teed refrained from involvement in county politics, no one raised objection to the

unorthodox religion. In 1904, following a decade of sustained growth, Teed sought to









incorporate his utopian community and these efforts led to the Koreshans' initial conflict

with secular Lee County society. Non-Koreshans in the area bitterly resented being

included in a city that was to be based on collective socialism and they voiced their anger

by pouring letters into the Fort Myers New-Press. In the end, the county's Democratic

political establishment sided with the non-Koreshans and Teed's incorporation bid was

rejected. The Koreshans responded by creating their own newspaper, the American

Eagle, and their own political organization, the Progressive Liberty Party.22

More than likely, the county's large Socialist showing in the 1904 gubernatorial

election was the result of disgruntled Koreshans voicing their displeasure by voting en

masse for W. R. Healy. Apparently Koreshans in Lee County were still in a vindictive

mood during the 1908 elections when the Socialist share of the electorate grew to 26.7

percent.23 The future of Lee County socialism and the Koreshan Unity appeared bright,

but that equation was altered with the passing of Cyrus Teed in December 1908. The

Koreshan Unity did not collapse immediately following the death of its leader, but its

numbers began to dwindle. Likewise, Socialist electoral strength seems to have

paralleled the slow demise of the Koreshans. In 1912 the Socialist percentage of the

county's vote fell to 15.4 percent, in 1916 it was 3.3 percent, and in 1920 a miniscule 1.4

percent.24




22 R. Lyn Rainard, "Conflict Inside the Earth: The Koreshan Unity in Lee County," Tampa Bay History 2
(Spring/Summer 1981): 5-16; Elliott Mackle, "Cyrus Teed and the Lee County Elections of 1906," Florida
Historical Quarterly 57 (July 1978): 1-18.
23 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1908 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1908).

24 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1912 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1912); Report of the
Florida Secretary of State, 1916 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1916); Report of the Florida Secretary
ofState, 1920 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1920).









The Socialist vote in Florida in 1904 consisted of party members, dissatisfied

industrial workers who would cross party lines, and immigrants who held the franchise.

The Socialists realized that if they hoped to continue to grow they would have to work,

and work they did. Almost as soon as the returns were final, the Socialists began

organizing for the 1906 off-year elections. The determination of Florida Socialists would

be rewarded in this watershed year with their first state-level electoral success. The

locale of this newfound success would not be in the industrial and Socialist hotbeds of

Hillsborough or Duval counties. Rather, rural and isolated Manatee County would be the

electoral port from which the Socialist ship would embark on its voyage across Florida.

















CHAPTER 3
ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: ANDREW JACKSON PETTIGREW AND THE RISE
OF MANATEE COUNTY SOCIALISM

It is almost impossible to imagine that Manatee County, today a conservative

Republican stronghold, ever harbored any Socialists at all. At the turn of the twentieth

century, the county remained a bastion of the Confederacy, dominated by its antebellum

homes, the Democratic Party, and a strong white supremacist sentiment. The cigar

factories of neighboring Tampa and the timber industries of northern Florida lay a world

away from Manatee County, where commercial fishing, cattle herding, and citrus groves

breathed economic life into the towns of Bradentown (renamed Bradenton after the First

World War) and Sarasota. Still, the citizens of Manatee County offered a dramatic

episode for Socialist advance in Florida, where from 1906 to 1908 Andrew Jackson

Pettigrew represented the county in the Florida House of Representatives as a member of

the Socialist Party of America.

On June 17, 1904, the Manatee River Journal announced the beginnings of

Manatee County socialism in a short notice stating that a Socialist Party organizational

meeting would be held at the county courthouse in Bradentown, at which a full slate of

candidates for county offices would be nominated.1 The meeting turned out to be a

"large and enthusiastic conference." Although it did not nominate candidates as

advertised, the meeting chose delegates to attend the July 4 state convention in Orlando,


1 Manatee River Journal, June 17, 1904.









elected nurseryman Andrew Jackson Pettigrew county chairman and E. D. Barker

secretary, made plans to form other locals at Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota, scheduled a

county convention for July 28, and passed a resolution in support of striking miners in

Colorado and Pennsylvania. Among those who made short speeches were party activists

and future Socialist candidates William Drumwright, Dr. Furman Whitaker, Reverend J.

A. Griffes, and J. H. Kinsman. 2

At the state convention, two Manatee County Socialists were selected for statewide

duties: Manatee village surveyor Emil Broberg was nominated to run for state

comptroller, and E. D. Barker was selected as a presidential elector. At the July 28

county convention, which Socialist gubernatorial candidate W. R. Healy addressed, the

local party nominated A. J. Pettigrew for state representative, farmer and apiarist William

Drumwright for clerk of circuit court, Palmetto blacksmith J. H. Kinsmsan for county

treasurer, cigar maker William Kretschmar for tax assessor, cabinet maker James Felts

for school board, clergyman J. A. Griffess for school superintendent, and John Pettigrew

(A. J.'s son) for sheriff.3 A. J. Pettigrew also prepared the party platform, which was read

and adopted. The platform pledged "adherence to the principles of international

Socialism," including abolition of "the present capitalistic and wage system," national

health insurance, old age pensions, abolition of child labor, free education, and demanded

that "no militia shall be hired to private parties", i.e., no "Pinkerton" strike breakers.4



2 Manatee River Journal, July 1, 1904

3 For a detailed discussion of the backgrounds of Manatee County's Socialists see Pamela Gibson, "The
Practical Dreamers: The Founders of the Socialist Party in Manatee County, Florida, 1904," (unpublished
typescript at the Manatee County Public Library, 1989).

4 Manatee River Journal, August 5, 1904.









Manatee County Socialists operated in an environment seemingly hostile to

Socialist political activity. The county, with a population of 8,830 in 1905, had virtually

no manufacturing base, and independent farmers, not tenants, tilled the soil. In addition,

the county housed no significant immigrant population and African Americans were

largely disfranchised.5 Simply put, Manatee County's social structure lacked the

elements usually thought necessary for Socialist electoral success: an industrial

proletariat, displaced agrarian workers, or immigrants guided by radicalism. Yet

Pettigrew's 1906 election victory over John Graham, a well-respected Bradentown land

speculator, indicates that the party managed to appeal to a much broader constituency

than the standard historical profile of intellectual or industrial worker. National party

leaders pinned their aspirations largely on an industrial working-class, but Manatee

County's SPA membership seems to have come primarily from the ranks of skilled

craftsman, farmers, professionals, and small businessmen like A. J. Pettigrew.

While none of the founding fathers of Manatee County socialism was a large

capitalist, neither were any of them known to have a history of involvement in organized

labor. Emil Broberg and Dr. Whitaker were both well educated professionals. J. A.

Felts, John Pettigrew, and William Kretschmar were skilled artisans who owned their

own shops. Neither in political background nor in the skill of organizing groups for

political action do they resemble the party's national leaders. Collective ownership of

property among them went no further than lending a helping hand among their extended

families. None of these men was known to be in financial straits; they possessed boats,

craft shops, farms, and professional training.

5 Third Census of the State ofFlorida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer,
1906): 40, 100, 189, 191, 230-231, 258-260.









Though the Socialists did not gain control of Manatee county government in 1904,

they did put up a respectable showing. For example, presidential elector E. D. Barker

beat the Republican candidate by 33 votes, but trailed the Democratic elector by 468

votes. Most of the other Socialist candidates lost their races by four or five hundred

votes. A. J. Pettigrew, however, lost by only 287 votes to incumbent Democrat A. T.

Cornwell. Pettigrew secured 31.3 percent of the vote and carried three outlying, rural

precincts: Terra Ceia, Sandy, and Venice.6

Born in 1845 in Illinois, Pettigrew was the product of a South Carolinian father and

a Kentuckian mother. Shortly before the Civil War, Pettigrew's family migrated to

Kansas and in 1883 he arrived in Manatee County. He is not known to have served in the

Civil War on either side. Once in Florida at age 38, Pettigrew found employment as a

common laborer in an orange grove and used his schooner "Cecilia" to operate a small

freight-hauling business. He eventually accumulated enough wealth to purchase forty

acres on Warner's Bayou, where he built a home, "Carmel," and engineered the creation

of a prosperous citrus nursery.7 Later he would serve lengthy stints on the boards of the

Manatee County Orange Growers Association and the Florida Horticulture Society. In

1889 he was elected president of the Manatee County Board of Trade.8

But if A. J. Pettigrew won respect by working hard and living in much the same

fashion as his Manatee County neighbors, he certainly embraced a far different political

philosophy that rejected their unquestioned allegiance to the Democratic Party. The


6 Manatee River Journal, November 18, 1904.

7 Manatee River Journal, December 20, 1917; Joe Warner, The Singing River: A History of the People,
Places and Events Along the Manatee River (Bradenton: Self-Published, 1986): 10.

8 Manatee River Journal, June 27, 1889, August 25, 1889, September 6, 1889, and May 1, 1903.









origins of Pettigrew's political apostasy and independence are shrouded in mystery.

Perhaps his family's migration to Illinois and then Kansas loosened the bonds of the

Democratic Party on Pettigrew. Perhaps his apparent lack of involvement in the Civil

War rendered him less susceptible to the blandishments of the "Lost Cause." Perhaps,

too, his return to the South well after the end of Reconstruction rendered him less hostile

to African Americans and less defensive of white supremacy. In any event, Pettigrew,

who otherwise would have been remembered simply as one of the county's most

successful nurserymen, joined the Socialist Party and left a far more complex legacy both

of accomplishment and failure.

Pettigrew's greatest contribution to Florida socialism was his upset victory in a

state house race in 1906. On March 9, 1906, the announcements of two-term incumbent

state representative A. T. Cornwell and challenger John A. Graham that they would each

seek the Democratic nomination for the state house seat in Manatee County began the

1906 election season in earnest.9 Soon thereafter, the Socialist Party nominated its 1904

standard-bearer, A. J. Pettigrew, to run for the seat yet again. The outcome, however,

was very different than it had been in 1904 and signaled, at least for that season, broad

dissatisfaction with the politics of business as usual.

By 1906, Cornwell had lived in Manatee County for over twenty years, having

come there in 1885 with his wife and son for health reasons. His health apparently soon

restored, in the spring of 1886 Cornwell built a large gothic home in Bradentown. By

1906, two-term incumbent Cornwell was an experienced Manatee County politico,

having previously been elected Bradentown's first mayor, and serving stints as county


9 Manatee River Journal, March 9, 1906.









judge and county school board member. To earn a living, Cornwell dabbled in real estate

and insurance. For a short time he even owned and operated the Manatee River

Journal.10 In his matter-of-fact announcement, Cornwell pronounced his first legislative

term "satisfactory," and promised to "devote [his] energies to all that is for the best

interests of my people, my motto being 'equal rights to all and special favors to none.'"'

John A. Graham was the son of Judge Edgar Malcome Graham, a noted judge for

many years in south Florida. Graham, who grew up in Manatee County, moved away to

seek his fortune not long after he graduated from high school. For a number of years, he

resided in the northern part of the state, where he obtained considerable experience in

varied business lines. He later became a financier, obtaining options on timber land

throughout Florida. He created a wide interest among wealthy Chicagoans and others to

make investments in Florida.12 Graham's greatest contribution to Manatee County was

probably his introduction of electric power to the county, for he opened an electric

generating plant during the Christmas holidays of 1903. Announcing his candidacy with

greater enthusiasm than Cornwell, Graham emphasized that he was "a birthright

Democrat, having consistently supported the straight Democratic ticket at all elections

ever since I was twenty-one years of age" and that he had "extensive property interests in

the community."13 Two weeks following his announcement, Graham conducted his first

campaign rally at the Central Hotel in Manatee village. In his prepared statement,


10 Joseph Herman Simpson, "A History of Manatee County, Florida" (unpublished typescript at the
Manatee County Library, 1915).

1 Manatee River Journal, March 9, 1906.
12 Lillie B. McDuffie, The Lures of Manatee (Bradenton: B. McDuffie Fletcher, 1961): 307.

13 Manatee River Journal, March 9, 1906.









Graham again stressed his business acumen and numerous contacts within state

government. Even though the women of Florida had not yet attained the franchise,

Graham made a special appeal for the support of the women present.14

Cornwell, in a circular letter to the voters of the county, laid out his claims for re-

election, relying heavily on his incumbency. Comwell argued that an incumbent was

necessarily more "competent" than a new member, and specifically took credit for

introducing laws that enlarged the county commission's powers to make contracts to

build public drainage, and that cured certain informalities in the execution of deeds,

mortgages, and other conveyances.1

Graham, at speaking engagements throughout the county, began to hammer away at

Cornwell's claims for re-election. Graham attacked Cornwell's claim of"competency"

by contrasting Comwell, a mere member of the State House, with Cornwell Gibbons and

future Governor Park Trammell, members who had managed to attain the highest

positions in the legislature during their first terms. Graham also attacked Comwell's

alleged legislative accomplishments, contending that the drainage construction law was

passed and amended by others in 1899 and 1901, and that the conveyances law was a

financial windfall for Cornwell and his business associates and of little benefit to the poor

of Manatee County.16

Cornwell, who repeatedly refused to debate Graham, did little to refute Graham's

charges. Finally, on April 20, less than a month before the primary election, Cornwell

published a letter in the Manatee River Journal defending his legislative record but

14 Manatee River Journal, March 23, 1906.

15 Manatee River Journal, April 20, 1906.

16 Manatee River Journal, April 27, 1906.









offering little that was new.17 Graham responded a week later by publishing an open

letter addressed to Comwell in the same publication. In his letter, Graham issued fifteen

challenges or "business propositions," to Comwell, mainly regarding Graham's earlier

attacks on Comwell's accomplishments. Foremost among Graham's challenges was the

"demand that you meet me face-to-face before the people and make a full and explicit

answer to these questions."18 Cornwell's response to Graham's ultimatum was to do

nothing.

May 15, the day of the Democratic primary, dawned clear and warm in Manatee

County. The polls were open from 8:30 a.m. to sunset. No problems were reported and

the election process went off without a hitch. In an upset victory, Graham carried eight

of the fourteen precincts and defeated Comwell 410 to 357, or 53.5 percent to 46.5

percent.19 Confident that victory in the Democratic Primary was tantamount to victory in

November, on June 1, five months before the general election, Graham announced his

intention to become a candidate for the speakership of the State House of

Representatives. Jumping on the bandwagon of the politics of business as usual, the

Manatee River Journal's enthusiastic endorsement of Graham's bid echoed the

Democratic nominee's campaign themes by emphasizing his business background,

stating that "Mr. Graham is perhaps one of the best known businessmen in Florida, the

past twenty years having been spent handling lands and large milling and manufacturing

enterprises which have brought him prominently to the front as a businessman and in




17 Manatee River Journal, April 20, 1906.

18 Manatee River Journal, April 27, 1906.

19 Manatee River Journal, May 18, 1906.









contact with the business interests of the state, giving him a large acquaintance in every

county, all of which will go to strengthen him in his race [for house speaker]."20

Nevertheless, close analysis of Graham's triumph in the Democratic primary

reveals critical weaknesses in his support. Of the six precincts that Graham lost, four

were in the outlying rural areas, where Graham lost by more than a two-to-one margin.

In 1904, these same four precincts were the source of the Manatee Socialists' greatest

voting strength. Thus, Graham was weakest precisely where the Socialists were

strongest. Further, in 1904 Pettigrew had carried his home precinct of Manatee, so these

five precincts gave A. J. Pettigrew an established electoral base upon which to draw in

his impending electoral battle against John Graham.21

The same week of March that Graham held his first rally, W. J. Drumwright,

chairman of the Manatee County Socialist Party, issued a call for a mass convention of

the party for the purpose of nominating a full county ticket and a candidate for

representative to the state legislature. In his announcement, Drumwright argued that the

voters of Manatee County could no longer depend on the old parties to enact and enforce

just laws in the interest of the majority of the people. To Drumwright, it was clearly

apparent that both the old parties were dominated by capitalist politicians and the only

alternative for Manatee County voters was to identify themselves with the one truly

democratic party, the Socialist Party. The chairman also contended that it was absolutely

false to represent the Socialist Party as merely destructive, intending to overthrow

society, and appealing to the brute passion of the masses. For Drumwright, just the


20 Manatee River Journal, June 1, 1906.

21 Manatee River Journal, May 26, 1906.









opposite was true, because "our Socialist Party wants to maintain our culture and

civilization and bring it to a higher level. Our party wants to guard this nation from

destruction. We appeal to the best in every man, to the public spirit of the citizen, to his

love of wife and children. Therefore we agitate for the organization of the producers -

the masses."22

On April 21, at the courthouse in Bradentown, the Socialist Party of Manatee

County held its convention. A. J. Pettigrew, the party's candidate for state house in 1904,

was unanimously nominated to run yet again for the seat held by A. T. Cornwell. As for

local offices, William Kretschmar was nominated by acclamation for the office of tax

assessor, J. A. Felts and A. D. Cowart secured nods for county commissioner, and the

convention chose Dr. Furman Whitaker and O. T. Lindsley for school board seats.

Pettigrew then announced that the secretary, with the assistance of other comrades,

had prepared a platform for the Socialist Party of Manatee County. After being read, the

platform was unanimously adopted. The platform contended that "monopolies and the

private ownership of our industries and public utilities have become unendurable and

must be abolished. To continue the present system means the end of the Republic and

death to our democracy. Neither of the two old parties propose a change. The

Socialist Party is the only party that can and will and is pledged to make the necessary

changes, therefore we ask all those who do the world's work with hands and brain, to read

about and study socialism, learn its aims and purposes and vote its ticket."23





22 Manatee River Journal, March 23, 1906.

23 Manatee River Journal, April 27, 1906.









After the reading and adoption of the platform, an earnest discussion ensued among

the delegates concerning the "Colorado and Idaho outrage." The convention passed a

resolution condemning the "unparalleled outrage perpetrated by the capitalist mine

owners to railroad innocent officials of organized labor to death." Following several

congratulatory speeches on the very rapid progress of socialism and the anticipation of its

early dominance everywhere, the convention adjourned.24

Pettigrew soon began to sense that the divisiveness of the Democratic primary

might create an opening for himself and his party. Lacking the resources of their

opponents, Pettigrew and the Socialists used the public media to get their message out.

On May 4, little more than a week before the Democratic primary, and just three days

after the international socialist holiday of May Day, Pettigrew published an 800-word

open letter to the voters of Manatee County in the Manatee River Journal.25

Acknowledging that little privation existed in Manatee County, Pettigrew argued that

"the cause of our socialism is education, the correct knowledge of existing facts, and a

clear understanding of the justice and righteousness of our cause."26 To foster such

knowledge and understanding, Pettigrew advanced a critique of class power in America

based partly on republican ideology and partly on Marxian socialism, and proposed both

immediate reforms and a long-term radical restructuring of the American political

economy.



24 Manatee River Journal, April 27, 1906.

25 The full text of Pettigrew's letter is set forth at Appendix C.

26 Manatee River Journal, May 4, 1906.









Pettigrew's letter echoed the language and tradition of republican ideology,

especially its "anti-monopoly" criticism of private capture of government privileges.27 In

this vein, Pettigrew contended that a "small minority have acquired most of the wealth,

own the machinery of production and distribution, own and control the government,

make, interpret and administer the laws and powers in their own interests, and are

necessarily largely against the interests of all others." More strikingly, he concluded the

letter by predicting "that boodlers, grafters, and corporations seeking special privileges

and unfair advantages through legislation shall not be glad that you voted for the Socialist

candidates." Finally, Pettigrew explicitly equated the goal of socialist reorganization of

society with the "co-operative commonwealth," a term used by nineteenth-century

radicals, including the Populists of the 1890s, as well as contemporary socialists like

Eugene Debs.28

Nevertheless, Pettigrew seemed equally at home in the language of Marxian-

inspired socialism. He explained that "under the capitalist system a majority of us must

sell ourselves by the hour, day, month and year to the capitalist owners of the means of

production and distribution in order to live, and often a very meagre sustenance under

most miserable conditions." The remedy for this, Pettigrew maintained, was not mere

reform as advocated by the Democrats and Republicans; instead, "the present inequalities

and injustices cannot be permanently abolished without removing the cause, which is the

private ownership of the necessary means of life." Reference to "capitalist owners of the


27 On the use of this tradition by the leading Socialist of the era see Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs:
Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982): 151-156, 191-195.
28 Manatee River Journal, May 4, 1906.









means of production" and the necessity of abolishing their "private ownership" placed

Pettigrew outside the republican tradition and firmly within the intellectual heritage of

socialist thought.29

In terms of policy, Pettigrew did not shy away from the implications of his socialist

beliefs, and explicitly advocated the "the collective ownership and democratic

management of all public utilities and all industries now in the hands of the trust and

combines." More immediately, he set forth a list of more limited reforms, including

shorter working hours, higher wages, public education to age eighteen, abolition of child

labor, "equal political and civil rights for men and women," construction of public works

and frugal management of Manatee County's budget.30

Outside of Manatee County, muckraking journalist Claude L'Engle began to

publicly question, to Pettigrew's advantage, the ethics and legality of several of Graham's

business dealings in north Florida. L'Engle was no newcomer to the political wars. Born

and educated in Jacksonville, L'Engle worked first in the mercantile business, and, after

living in the North, became interested in journalism. Upon his return to Jacksonville, he

founded a weekly newspaper, the Florida Sun, which began publication in January 1903.

In November 1903, the newspaper became a daily, but soon ceased publication because

of financial difficulties. He started the Sun again in Tallahassee on June 23, 1906, and

continued to publish it for two more years.31




29 Manatee River Journal, May 4, 1906.

30 Manatee River Journal, May 4, 1906.

31 Joel Weeb Eastman, "Claude L'Engle, Florida Muckraker," The Florida Historical Quarterly 45 (January
1967): 244.









L'Engle was one of a galaxy of American journalists who wrote exposes of the

corrupt alliance of business and politics during the Progressive Era. His first expose in

December 1905 was an attack on the naval stores trust operating out of Savannah,

Georgia, and the relations of a Jacksonville export company with it. He attacked

legalized land-grabbing by buying up tax titles. Included among his victims were trusts

in beef, groceries, electricity, and ice. He favored a progressive income and inheritance

tax, the direct primary, municipal ownership of public utilities, and conservation; he

opposed child labor. Yet, he showed considerable independence in his views, rather than

following the national muckraker pattern. He supported organized labor and favored

immigration, the latter reflecting the state's need for settlers. Unlike most muckrakers, he

opposed Theodore Roosevelt. This may have been mere partisanship, but it may have

sprung from his opposition to African Americans with whom he felt Roosevelt was being

too friendly.32

L'Engle was able to contract with sixty newspapers in the state to sell combination

subscriptions, and when the Sun reappeared in 1906 in Tallahassee, it claimed the largest

circulation in Florida, fifty percent more than any other publication. L'Engle boasted that

the Sun was "the state paper. It is more widely read, more carefully read, oftener quoted,

and wields more influence than any other publication whatsoever, that is circulated

among Floridians."33 While the Sun did lead the state in paid subscribers and newsstand

sales, the paper gradually became less a newspaper and more a magazine, although



32Charlton W. Tebeau, A History ofFlorida (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1971): 338-339.

3 Joel Weeb Eastman, "Claude L'Engle, Florida Muckraker," 242.









L'Engle continued to call it a newspaper. News was a minor part of the publication's

contents, and was generally limited to little more than a summary of the week's events.

The bulk of the sixteen-page paper was devoted to articles, editorials, cartoons, serials,

stories, and poems. There were also columns devoted to agriculture, women's interests,

and editorial opinion from other Florida papers.34

Politics and government were major and consistent areas of interest for Claude

L'Engle. He advocated electing only "good men" to office to assure the successful

operation of representative government. The Sun printed the names of the men L'Engle

believed were not suited for public office and those he felt had allied themselves too

closely with corporate wealth. Some politicians felt the sting of the Sun's criticism at

election time, and others enjoyed its support. John Graham would become perhaps the

most prominent victim of the Sun's withering heat.

In the June 30, 1906, edition of the Tallahassee Sun, L'Engle charged that Graham

had "swindled" Dr. J. C. L'Engle (Claude L'Engle's uncle) of Jacksonville "out of a large

sum of money in past transactions," and that he still owed the money to Dr. L'Engle, who

had been unable to secure its payment.35 In a July 7 cover story written by L'Engle, the

Sun accused Graham of having "swindled" James Gates of Milwaukee "out of a large

sum of money in past land transactions in Liberty County."36 L'Engle continued his

relentless assault on Graham in the July 14 edition of the Sun, charging that Graham,


34 William T. Cash, History of the Democratic Party in Florida (Tallahassee: Florida Democratic Historical
Foundation, 1936): 120.

35 Tallahassee Sun, June 30, 1906.

36 Tallahassee Sun, July 7, 1906.









"while doing business out of St. Marks, Florida several years ago swindled George

Register, W.K. Hines and W.F. Linten."37 In the July 21 edition of the Sun, L'Engle

argued that Graham "swindled and defrauded" the people of Liberty County by

conspiring not to pay land transaction fees.38 L'Engle closed out his July assault on

Graham by accusing him of having "swindled" Judge W. B. Owen of Jacksonville by

forging his endorsement to certain deeds and notes.39

On August 3, Graham vented his fury at L'Engle's accusations by filing suit in

circuit court for libel, demanding $30,000 in damages. Joe Humphries, editor of the

Manatee River Journal, made it clear where he stood on the issue when he wrote that "It

is a great pity that a gentleman of high standing and an honorable citizen has to enter into

a legal controversy to protect his reputation against such unwarranted and libelous attacks

as have appeared in the Sun [whose] columns are filled with a class of matter that should

be prohibited from passing through the United States mails."40 L'Engle responded to

Graham's libel suit by labeling the Democratic nominee as nothing more than a "crook."

In August, L'Engle urged the voters of Manatee County to reject Graham's candidacy,

and he publicly endorsed A. J. Pettigrew for the House seat.41

Graham, perhaps sensing that his election bid was quickly unraveling, decided to

submit the matter of his competency to be the Democratic nominee to the county


37 Tallahassee Sun, July 14, 1906.

38 Tallahassee Sun, July 21, 1906.

39 Tallahassee Sun, July 28, 1906.
40 Manatee River Journal, August 3, 1906.

41 Tallahassee Sun, August 5, 1906.









Democratic Executive Committee. On August 8, the county Democratic Executive

Committee met at the courthouse in Bradentown to resolve the issue. In addition to the

committee, fifty or sixty Manatee County citizens were also in attendance. The

committee, attempting to get to the heart of the matter, even requested a communication

from L'Engle stating his charges. The Sun's Editor replied by sending copies of all the

charges he had published.42

After reading the L'Engle communication, Graham was given the floor to reply. As

a prelude, Graham stated that he came gladly before the Democratic Executive

Committee, and was more than pleased to see such a large number of Manatee citizens

and Democrats present. He then reiterated that he had nothing to keep from anybody, but

wanted everyone to know and hear what he had to say. Graham added that if he was

unable to prove his innocence by facts and documentary evidence, he would not stand in

the way of the success of the party. Graham then challenged the committee to do with

him as it saw fit following the presentation of his evidence. In closing, the embattled

Democratic standard-bearer demanded that if the evidence proved his innocence, he

expected the committee to say so in unmistakable language and to back him up as the

party nominee.

Graham then took up the charges that had been leveled against him by the Sun, first

reading in full the several editorials as published. After each charge Graham submitted

evidence to repudiate his alleged actions. As each document, letter, and certified copy

was read by Graham, he turned the pages over to the committee secretary and asked

anyone present to come forward and read them for themselves.


42 Manatee River Journal, August 10, 1906.









Following Graham's presentation the committee went into executive session.

Within minutes the executive committee voted unanimously to exonerate Graham of all

the charges and to condemn the authenticity of the articles that had appeared in the Sun.

The executive committee then ordered the campaign committee to draft the necessary

resolutions carrying out the will of the executive committee.43

While the Graham-L'Engle war of charges and counter-charges raged, A. J.

Pettigrew continued his low-profile and methodical campaign. He spent most of the

campaign speaking one -on- one or to small groups of Manatee County voters. On

November 3, the Saturday before election day, Manatee County Socialists held their only

major campaign rally at the courthouse in Bradentown in front of a crowd of one

hundred. All the Socialist candidates spoke, with Pettigrew the last and featured speaker.

Pettigrew's speech centered on his dream of a Socialist worker's Utopia. He

stressed the unfairness of the present system that was dominated by the unethical alliance

of large corporations and corrupt politicians. His solution was to elect good, ethical men

to public office, especially if they carried the Socialist banner. He made no direct

reference to John Graham's woes, but he did acknowledge Claude L'Engle's endorsement

of his candidacy.44

Meanwhile, Graham, either rejuvenated by the vote of support from the Democratic

Executive Committee or spurred on by fear for his political life, embarked on an


43 Manatee River Journal, August 17, 1906. The issue was finally settled on October 14, 1907, when
Graham's libel suit against L'Engle was heard. Following a day-long trial, the jury deliberated less than an
hour and returned a verdict of not liable, exonerating Claude L'Engle of the libel charge. Manatee River
Journal, October 18, 1907.

44 Manatee River Journal, November 9, 1906.









ambitious campaign schedule covering much of the county. In the penultimate week of

the campaign, Graham spoke twice in Myakka, in Dry Prairie, in Parrish, and at the

school houses in Sandy, Albritton, Gillette, Terra Ceia, Ellenton, and Englewood. During

the final week, Graham concentrated on engagements held at Cortez, Palmetto, Manatee,

Bradentown, Bee Ridge, and Sarasota.45

On November 2, the Manatee County Democratic Executive Committee, fearing a

Socialist victory in the impending election, issued a plea for Democratic solidarity in the

effort to "put to flight the enemy, who is striving at this time to sow discord in the party

ranks." The Committee further emphasized the risk of being represented by a third-party

politician, arguing that, "Manatee County will have important interests to be looked after

during the session of the legislature next year, and that body, being almost solidly

Democratic, those interests can best be looked after by a Democratic representative."46

Democrats apparently did not limit their opposition to the Socialists to verbal assaults. A

week before the election, a "rock throwing mob attacked a socialist meeting at Terra

Ceia," a report confirmed by the Tampa Daily Times, but disputed by the Manatee River

Journal, which admitted only that "some small boys peppered the house with acorns.47

In either event, someone was throwing something at the Socialist meeting.

The Monday before the election Manatee County was engulfed by the first cold

front of the season. By Tuesday the skies were clear and the voters of Manatee County


45 Manatee River Journal, October 12, 1906.

46 Manatee River Journal, November 2, 1906.

47 Brad Alan Paul, "Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920," (PhD diss.,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 125.









journeying to the polls were greeted by cool and sunny weather. By mid-evening the

election returns were tallied and it was apparent that the Democratic-feared Socialist

conquest of Manatee County had not materialized. In the race for county tax assessor,

William Kretschmar was crushed by H. S. Dark by a margin of 650 to 81. The school

board races witnessed the overwhelming defeats of Dr. Furman Whitaker and O. T.

Lindsey. Whitaker was bested by his Democratic opponent by a margin of 368 to 187

and Lindsey fell by a count of 409 to 63.48 However, a ray of hope did filter down

through the ruins of the Socialist defeat. The Manatee River Journal described the

source of this hope when it wrote, "The real contest, however, in Manatee County, was

between Graham and Pettigrew for the legislature, in which Pettigrew has by the returns,

a small but safe majority."49

Pettigrew had, in fact, defeated John Graham by a margin of 395 to 363, or 52.1 to

47.9 percent. While Graham won narrow majorities in Bradentown, Manatee, and

Sarasota, the county's three largest communities, Pettigrew pieced together a victory by

drawing votes largely from the outlying citrus-growing and cattle-ranching precincts of

Terra Ceia, Ellenton, Palmetto, Mitchellsville, and Oak Hill.50 Included among the seven

Pettigrew precincts were the four rural precincts in which A. T. Cornwell had bested John

Graham by large margins in the May Democratic primary. These precincts were also the

same precincts that gave the Socialist candidates their highest vote totals in 1904. In



48 Manatee River Journal, December 7, 1906.

49 Manatee River Journal, November 9, 1906.

50 Manatee River Journal, November 9, 1906.









Manatee County, socialist electoral strength was centered in the rural, outlying areas,

while Democrat Graham carried the towns.

This electoral analysis undermines the explanation of Pettigrew's victory, advanced

by such Florida historians as W. T. Cash, Joel Eastman, and Charlton Tebeau, as merely a

protest vote in response to the anti-Graham campaign orchestrated by Claude L'Engle.51

Their interpretation cannot account for the geographical distribution of the Petitgrew

vote. Historian Brad Alan Paul, however, comes closer to the mark when he contends

that "the notion that the Tallahassee Sun, a newspaper published some three-hundred

miles to the north, could single handedly influence Manatee County's voting behavior

seems improbable." Contending that L'Engles' own self-congratulatory writings on the

subject influenced the assessments of Cash, Eastman, and Tebeau, Paul argues that "more

important to Pettigrew's success were the concerns of farmers, ranchers, and small

businessmen that their livelihood may have been adversely affected by 'progressive

boosters' and land speculators such as John Graham." To Paul, Manatee County's

craftsmen and citrus growers responded to the anti-monopoly strand of Pettigrew's

socialism as a means to safeguard their labor, land, and social status from the domination

of large capital and outside interests.52

Another factor underlying Pettigrew's victory not sufficiently emphasized by Paul

was the character and political savvy of the man himself. Other than Eugene Debs,

Pettigrew was the only Socialist in Florida to appear on a state-wide ballot more than


51 William T. Cash, History of the Democratic Party in Florida, 121; Joel Weeb Eastman, "Claude
L'Engle, Florida Muckraker," 248; Charlton Tebeau, A History ofFlorida, 340.
52 Brad Alan Paul, "Rebels of the New South" 126-128.









once. Within Manatee County, Pettigrew was the only Socialist ever to win an election

or ever to carry even a precinct and he accomplished this feat in three out of four

elections between 1904 and 1912. He narrowly lost his home precinct only once, in 1906

by a single vote. In his four electoral campaigns, Pettigrew's vote totals were always at

least twice as much as any other Manatee County Socialist. While this situation boded

well for Pettigrew as a candidate, it did not bode well for the Manatee Socialist Party as a

whole. Joe Humphries, editor of the Manatee River Journal, explained the party's

predicament when he wrote:

The relative strength of the two parties is an interesting feature of the election, on
account of the success of one of the Socialist candidates, but when the vote is
sifted, it will be seen that it was not a question of party but one of candidates.
Viewing the situation in this light, we can see nothing to encourage the Socialists of
the county to ever hope to accomplish anything politically, nor to ever claim more
strength than they developed in the election two years ago.53

Unfortunately for Manatee County Socialists, Humphries prediction would ring

true. In the 1908 elections they managed to field a candidate for every county race, but

were unable to find candidates for the state House and Senate slots.54 The year 1912

would find the Manatee Socialists capable of fielding only three candidates for county

offices. In neither of these elections did a Socialist candidate come close to winning. By

the 1916 elections, the Manatee County Socialist Party had ceased to exist at all.

If Pettigrew's election provided Manatee Socialists with a faint hope of creating the

cooperative commonwealth, his lone session in Tallahassee, despite some progressive

achievements, revealed the limitations of electoral politics. In a session dominated by


53 Manatee River Journal, December 7, 1906.

54 Manatee River Journal, September 4, 1908.









Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward's plan to drain the Everglades and a corruption

scandal involving the Internal Improvement Fund, Pettigrew was an active participant in

the proceedings.55 Mirroring the national party's legislative agenda, Pettigrew introduced

resolutions for the direct election of United States Senators and a federal income tax, both

of which would be adopted at the national level within a decade. His most controversial

offering was a bill to radically restructure the jury system. He proposed that verdicts be

decided on a majority basis: on a jury of twelve, nine votes would be required to render a

verdict, while a jury of six would require four votes. All the above bills died in

committee and never made it to the House floor for a vote. Pettigrew also pushed for a

wide-ranging system of popular initiative and referendum that surprisingly made it out of

committee, but failed to attract the three-fourths majority needed to pass the full House.56

Pettigrew's tenure in the legislature undoubtedly advanced the cause of certain

reform initiatives, including his support of laws regulating child labor, railroad license

taxes, and some temperance laws. Opinions, however, were varied on the effectiveness

of his time in Tallahassee. Writing in 1961, Manatee County historian Lillie B.

McDuffie observed that "A. J. Pettigrew, representative from Manatee County and the

only Socialist in the last legislature, came in for many jibes and sneers from his fellow

legislators."5 At the other extreme, Pettigrew's old friend Claude L'Engle was quite

impressed with the Manatee County Socialist's performance: "Do not fail to remember

that Mr. Pettigrew, the member from Manatee County, has made good in the legislature.


55 For coverage of the 1907 legislative session see the Tallahassee Sun, April 1 through May 23, 1907.

56 Journal of the Florida House ofRepresentatives of the Session of1907, (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing
Company, State Printer, 1907): 449, 591, 727, 900, and 1285.

57 Lillie B. McDuffie, The Lures of Manatee, 311.









He represents a minority of one politically, but the majority has been with him several

times on matters of interest to the state."8 Pettigrew, himself, was quite pleased by his

own performance. Writing in the Tallahassee Sun, Pettigrew noted that "my study of

socialism lends me to look for good and I hoped to get acquainted with good men and

help them pass good laws and defeat those not good. Here is where my hopes were most

realized. I feel that my attendance in Tallahassee was not in vain. I am sure I helped in

the cause of good government."59

A.J. Pettigrew's political career did not end with his service in the 1907 legislature.

In 1908 he was the Socialist standard-bearer for governor and in 1912 their nominee for

agricultural commissioner. In neither race he was able to duplicate his 1906 success.

Following his defeat in 1912, he retired from politics. By a quirk of ironic fate, Pettigrew,

who died in 1917, outlived the Manatee County Socialist Party by a year.


58 Tallahassee Sun, June 1, 1907.

59 Tallahassee Sun, June 22, 1907.














CHAPTER 4
HIGH NOON OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1908 AND 1912

Florida Socialists were optimistic following the 1906 off-year election. The period

between campaigns served as an instructional and learning opportunity for Socialist Party

members. The urban locals continued to conduct their weekly meetings. The rural locals

could not meet every week, especially during the harvest season, but they were expected

never to exceed a month between meetings. Discussions and lectures on Socialist

ideology remained at the heart of local meetings. Dues continued to be collected during

the non-election years.

Socialists also began a drive to educate the people of Florida on the merits of

socialism. More street meetings were held. More speeches were made and more letters

were sent to the state's newspapers attempting to cast the Socialist platform in a more

favorable light. Typical of these letters was one sent by J. D. Bennett, Secretary of the

Escambia County Socialist Party, to the editor of the Pensacola Journal. Bennett noted

that workers received only one-eighth of the benefit of their production and he called

owners and non-laborers nothing more than thieves. He added that "if the government

can build warships, operate navy yards and conduct a college, why could it not raise pigs,

run a dairy or conduct a kindergarten?"1 Through letters like Bennett's, Florida Socialists

attempted to gain additional public acceptance and recognition.





1 Pensacola Journal, October 18, 1908.









On July 4, 1908, the second state convention of the Socialist Party of America

convened in Tampa. The sixty delegates at least one from every county in the state -

elected George Mendenhall chairman of the convention. The fact that delegates were

present from every county demonstrated that the Socialists had succeeded in developing a

truly statewide organization. The convention selected A. J. Pettigrew as the party's

nominee for governor, and A. C. Sill of Ruskin for secretary of state. Other cabinet

nominees included Charles Meitin for comptroller, A. B. Kimball of Volusia County for

treasurer, Marion County's Charles Schneider for commissioner of agriculture, and Mrs.

S. F. J. Linn of Eustis for superintendent of schools. The convention failed to nominate

anyone for attorney general. The convention also chose candidates for Florida's five

presidential electors and three congressional districts.2

During the preceding four years, Florida Socialists had made positive and visible

gains they could celebrate at their convention. These included Socialist-based immigrant

hospitals in Tampa, public ownership of the water works in Pensacola, and the election of

Pettigrew to the state house.3 Henry L. Drake of Saint Petersburg, the state secretary and

a well known ex-newspaperman, announced a larger dues-paying membership than the

state party had ever had before. A. N. Jackson, a delegate from Jacksonville, noted that

party membership in Duval County had more than tripled during the past year. The

larger membership rolls were a reason for optimism, and it was this hope that led to a





2 Tampa Tribune, July 5, 1908; Florida Times-Union, September 6, 1908.

3 Gary Mormino and George Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin
Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987): 175-209; Pensacola Journal,
July 3, 1908.









motion to hold future state conventions earlier in the year in order to allow the candidates

for state offices more time to travel and campaign throughout the state.4

Partly because of the increased activity by the locals and partly because of

increasing membership, Florida Socialists were hopeful about their prospects in the

upcoming election. The most popular campaign forum remained the street meetings

sponsored by the various county locals. Pettigrew was one of the most appealing

speakers at these campaign gatherings. On October 10, he spoke at a street meeting in

Saint Petersburg, where he argued that there was "no need to fear socialism unless you

fear yourself, as the Socialists propose that a majority of the men and women shall have a

voice in every change of all public affairs." He claimed that the percentage of the

Socialist vote in Florida was the seventh highest in the Unites States, and he closed by

concluding that "the man who votes the Socialist ticket doesn't throw his vote away

because he votes for right and justice, and against exploitation, poverty, war and the

present bad system."5

When locals were unable to provide an appealing speaker, general discussions were

often the means of attracting large crowds. The Florida Times-Union, as well as other

newspapers, often advertised that the Socialist street meeting would feature a general

discussion in which the public was invited to participate. Another method of attracting

the public to these Socialist meetings was by having special outings and picnics.

Throughout the 1908 campaign, for example, the Jacksonville local sponsored monthly





4 Pensacola Journal, July 10, 1908.

5 St. Petersburg Times, October 14, 1908.









excursions to Green Cove Springs.6 Locals in Hillsborough, Escambia, and Duval

counties not only provided support for the party's statewide candidates, they also

continued their aggressive policy of nominating a full slate of candidates for county

offices as well.7

Though some Florida newspapers printed Socialist notices, the Florida press was

overwhelmingly Democratic, and as the Socialists gained strength in 1908, this

Democratic press grew increasingly caustic in its criticisms. For example, the Florida

Times Union accused Duval County Socialists of "believing in gnawing away at the vitals

of Democracy."8 In defending the Democratic Party from Republican charges of socialist

leanings, the Times-Union contended that socialism aimed at "nothing less than the

complete overturn of the existing industrial system; the end of credit, interest, rent and

profit; the destruction of all private property in factories, mines, railroads, [and]

telegraphs."9 Florida's other leading Democratic newspaper, the Tampa Tribune,

sounded a similar note when it reprinted an essay by processed food magnate C. W. Post

entitled, "They're After You," which warned readers that Socialists intended to seize

even the property of homeowners.10 Contending that the "Labor-Socialists" sought to

seize the property, including their homes, of the thrifty, in order to give it to those who

were "unthrifty, drinking, profligate or simply 'failures,'" Post and the Tribune argued



6 Florida Times-Union, August 16, 1908.

7 Tampa Tribune, May 2, 1908; Pensacola Journal, July 30, 1908; Florida Times-Union, September 8,
1908.

8 Florida Times-Union, September 6, 1908.

9 Florida Times-Union, August 25, 1908.

10 Tampa Tribune, March 17, 1908.









that "this is a contest between the unthrifty 'class' trying to wrest money, property and

power from the homeowning 'class.'"11 By invoking the "homeowner" and charging the

Socialists were out to seize homes, Democrats attempted to use scare tactics against the

Socialists, to divide from them those small property holders, like A. J. Pettigrew, who

often supported them.

Despite growing attacks on the part of the Democratic press, the 1908 election

returns reveal that the persistent efforts of Florida Socialists had paid off. The party's

electoral strength increased in number as well as percentage of the total vote in Florida.

Eugene Debs, Socialist candidate for president, received a total of 3,747 votes or 7.6

percent. Debs attracted a third as many votes as William Howard Taft, the Republican

nominee, and bested Taft in four counties: Lee, Manatee, Monroe, and Suwannee.

Debs' largest vote totals came from Hillsborough, Escambia, Monroe, Duval, and

Suwannee counties. He garnered 1,410 more votes in 1908 than he had received 1904, an

increase of 37.6 percent.

Pettigrew ran only slightly behind Debs, receiving 2,427 votes, or 5.8 percent.

Counties that provided Pettigrew with at least 100 votes included Hillsborough with 376,

Monroe 192, Suwannee 152, Escambia 131, Lee 123, Manatee 120, DeSoto 110, and

Jackson 104. Counties affording Pettigrew with at least 10 percent of their total vote

included Lee with 26.7 percent, Monroe 19.0 percent, Suwannee 17.6 percent, Manatee

14.9 percent, Taylor 12.5 percent, Hillsborough 10.5 percent, and Baker 10.1 percent.

Pettigrew defeated the Republican nominee in Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, and

Suwannee counties. In the state cabinet races, Charles Meitin received 1,977 votes (5.2


1 Tampa Tribune, March 17, 1908;









percent) for state comptroller, A. C. Sill garnered 2,182 votes (5.7 percent) for secretary

of state, Charles Schneider attracted 2,626 votes (7.8 percent) for agricultural

commissioner, A. B. Kimball received 3,528 votes (9.9 percent) for state treasurer, and

Mrs. S. F. J. Linn garnered 3,952 votes (10.4 percent) for superintendent of schools.12

Linn's candidacy marked the first appearance of a woman on a statewide ballot in

Florida political history. Her 10.4 percent share of the vote remains to this day the

highest percentage ever attained by a Florida Socialist in a statewide race. Historian

Sally Miller contends that the only type of position for which the Socialist Party turned

regularly to women nominees was in the field of education. In 1908, the Socialists

nominated thirteen women among its 271 candidates in state races, and of that number,

eight, including Linn, were candidates for superintendencies of schools. In 1910, of

sixteen of 255 Socialist candidates for state-level public office were women, half of

whom ran for educational posts. Linn, a Lake County schoolteacher, seems to fit nicely

within the Socialist women's sphere that Miller describes.13

Socialist strength in Hillsborough County, home of Tampa's Socialist cigar makers,

was enhanced by the formation in 1908 of Ruskin, a Socialist college town located in

southern Hillsborough County. This cooperative colony was the brainchild of George

McAnelly Miller, a former Chicago college professor and lawyer. Born in 1857, Miller

had previously been president of two Ruskin Colleges, the first in Missouri, and the

second in Illinois. Both were innovative, Socialist workers' colleges with short histories.




12 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1908 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1908.)

13 Sally Miller, ed., Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Twentieth-Century American Socialism (New
York: Garland Press, 1996): 102.









Strained relationships with their adjacent communities, coupled with internal strife, had

led to the colleges' demise.

Based on the educational ideals of British Socialist John Ruskin, the Florida college

provided courses toward a bachelor of arts degree to anyone willing to work for it.

Ruskin believed that higher education should be readily available to the working class,

and that the social ills of the Industrial Revolution could be eliminated only through the

education of the masses. Laboring men and women could lift themselves up, but not out

of, their own class in society by being trained in both agricultural and industrial skills.

Ruskin believed not only in the education of the intellect, but also emphasized the

character-building aspects of higher education. To Ruskin, the cultivation of emotions

and the development of a more intimate relationship with nature were more important

than the mere acquisition of knowledge. According to Ruskin, a student should engage

nature not as a mere spectator, but more like a painter would with watercolors and a

canvass. Ruskin maintained that all students should be required to do something with

their hands, for through manual labor they prepared to become productive working

members of the community.

With these ideals in mind, Miller began developing the Florida college. Funding

was procured from a ten-percent surcharge leveled on all sales of colony land. The first

college structures were dormitories fashioned out of rough, unplaned yellow pine. There

was one concrete-block classroom and the present-day Ruskin Women's Club served as

the main classroom facility. The curriculum offered three years of preparatory work and

four years of college-level studies. Art, drama, language, literature, music, social

sciences, and speech were among the academic offerings. Needy students could earn









their tuition and board by laboring on the college's twenty-acre farm. The students'

schedule was broken into three periods: Four hours of study, four hours of classes, and

four hours of work. At its peak, Ruskin College had a student body of 160.

As utopian as Ruskin College seemed, many of its students became disillusioned

with its tedious rural isolation. The urban pleasures of the big city prompted many of the

students to drift away. World War I emptied the college of most of its remaining young

adults. The men were drafted, and the women took jobs in war-related industries. In

1918 a disastrous fire swept through the campus and the college was closed. The final

blow to the college came in August 1919, when Miller died suddenly while on a lecture

tour to recruit settlers and students for the Socialist colony.14

Across Tampa Bay from Ruskin, in what was still (until 1911) Hillsborough

County, another center of Socialist strength emerged from the 1910 off-year elections in

the small town of Gulfport. Gulfport today is a working-class and retiree community

with a thriving fine arts scene, surrounded by the urban sprawl of Saint Petersburg. It is

best known nationally as the home of Florida's oldest law school, Stetson University

College of Law. But in 1910, nestled on the banks of Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport was a

small village of fishermen and ship builders. Gulfport was incorporated on October 12,

1910, in the Gulf Casino located on the dock of the Electric Railroad Company. Quite

unlike the New South envisioned by the likes of Hamilton Disston and Henry Flagler, the

founders of Gulfport embraced a distinctly different vision. Of those citizens who had






14 Lori Robinson and Bill DeYoung, "Socialism in the Sunshine: The Roots of Ruskin, Florida," Tampa
Bay History 4 (Spring/Summer 1982): 5-20.









voted for incorporation, several, including the elected mayor and the majority of the city

council, were members of the Florida Socialist Party.15

At the same incorporation meeting, Elmer E. Wintersgill captured 75 percent of the

vote and became the municipality's first mayor. A. L. Stefanski, Lester Wintersgill,

Joshua White, Henry Slaughter, and Henry Weathers were nominated for the city council.

Lacking any opposition, they were elected by acclamation. Of the five council members,

only Stefanski was not a member of the Socialist Party.16 Elmer Wintersgill and his

brother Lester had migrated to Gulfport from Jacksonville in 1907. Ship builders by

vocation, the brothers engaged in myriad endeavors from farming and real estate to

operating a ferry to the neighboring barrier island of Pass-A-Grille. Other Gulfport party

members included city Alderman Joshua White, a grocer and ship builder, and council

member Henry Slaughter, a farmer and sailor born in Madison County. Henry Weathers,

a Georgia native, arrived in Gulfport in 1901. In between, he worked as a circus

performer, fought in the Spanish-American War, and was employed as a carpenter and

millwright. 17

Much like their fellow Socialists in Manatee County, the immediate world of

Gulfport shaped the local party's interpretation of socialism. Still, the town's pastoral

ideals were increasingly threatened as it struggled with the pressures brought on by a land

boom in Saint Petersburg and the growing industrialization underway across the bay in

Tampa. Against this backdrop, Gulfport's Socialists accepted the region's transformation

15 Gulfport Historical Society, Our Story of Gulfport, Florida (Gulfport: Gulfport Historical Society,
1985): 17, 25, 79.
16 Our Story of Gulfport, Florida, 81.

1 Brad Alan Paul, "Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920," (PhD diss.,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 112-113.









and did not reject the area's growth out-of-hand, but rather sought to channel it as a

source for their own prosperity. Wintersgill's administration oversaw the expansion of

the city's water works, extension of rail lines to Saint Petersburg, and the creation of a

Citizen's Ice and Cold Storage facility.18 For Gulfport Socialists, positive progress was

limited to the types of growth that ensured more wealth secured in the hands of local

citizens. Gulfport socialists understood socialism as a force to protect the people against

the onslaught of industrialization, uncontrolled growth, and "outside booster" influence.

Brad Alan Paul contends that Gulfport Socialists viewed socialism as "a means to

maintain their independence from the corrupting influence of capitalism. Theirs was a

socialism dedicated to maintaining an existing order not overthrowing one."19

In light of these positive developments in the Tampa Bay area, and buoyed by their

electoral successes at the local and county levels, many Florida Socialists anxiously eyed

the election of 1912 as their best opportunity yet to capture a statewide office. With the

growth of the party amid the contemporary social conditions, many true believers were

convinced that the 1912 election would usher in the long anticipated cooperative

commonwealth. Capitalizing on this enthusiasm, the Socialists began their campaign

meetings earlier in the year. On January 25, Hillsborough County Socialists held a mass

meeting in Tampa to adopt a platform for the upcoming municipal elections. The public

was invited to attend, but only party members were allowed to participate in the platform

debates.20 A month following this meeting, on February 22, the Socialists gathered at the



18 Our Story of Gulfport, Florida, 17-25.

19 Paul, "Rebels of the New South," 114-115.

20 Tampa Tribune, January 25, 1912









Tampa local's headquarters on Florida Avenue to name a city ticket.21 At the same time,

Pinellas County Socialists nominated candidates for the offices of state representative,

county judge, sheriff, county treasurer, superintendent, school board, and county

commissioner.22 On May 20, the Socialists of Marion County held their convention in

Ocala, where they adopted the 1908 platform with a few amendments, and nominated a

full slate of candidates for the county ticket.23

The third state Socialist convention, which convened in Ocala on August 30, 1912,

was the culmination of the county conventions. This convention elected D. G. Robinson

of Tampa as chairman and E. E. Loomis of Palatka as convention secretary, and adopted

the platform committee report, which varied little from the 1908 platform. The state

committee was authorized to appoint a campaign committee of three to assist the state

secretary, A. N. Jackson of Jacksonville. The Florida Times-Union_reported "loud cheers

greeted the announcement of a visit to this state in the near future of vice presidential

candidate Emil Seidel."24 The convention next nominated the state ticket, deciding on

Thomas Cox of Jacksonville for governor, Fred Lincoln Pattison for secretary of state,

Abner D. Miller of Ruskin for attorney general, David Dunham of Saint Augustine for

comptroller, Karl Harter of Tampa for state treasurer, W. C. Edwards of Sebastian for

superintendent of schools, and A. J. Pettigrew for commissioner of agriculture.

Nominations were also made for all four of the state's congressional districts.25


21 Tampa Tribune, February 22, 1912.

22 St. Petersburg Times, February 22, 1912.

23 Florida Times-Union, May 22, 1912.

24 Florida Times-Union, September 2, 1912.

25 Florida Times-Union, September 2, 1912.









Florida Socialists approached the impending campaign with the idea of reaching

out to their less educated brethren, and decided to adopt a new style of oratory. The

national office suggested that Socialist speakers omit so-called "nine syllable words."

Following this policy perhaps a bit too literally, Walter Millard, who spoke in Tampa on

March 3, 1912, changed the title of his speech from "Economic Determinism" to "Why

Things Happen to Happen."26 Another method of arousing the interests of the masses

was the Socialist Lyceum course. The Lyceum course consisted of having a number of

traveling comrades conduct a series of lectures on varying aspects of socialism. Typical

of these Lyceum lectures was one given by Lena Morrow Lewis in Tampa on March 24,

1912. Lewis, speaking on the subject of "Socialists at Work," was described by the

Tampa Tribune as being "possessed of an unusually fine voice, a liberal education, and

fortified by years of experience upon the platform" and she "stands in the very front rank

of American orators." While the Lyceum course was an integral part of the non-election

year's activity, it was usually discontinued in election years by the end of March when

the formal lecture series was replaced by the street meetings, debates, and rallies typical

of election years.27

The highlight of the 1912 campaign for Florida Socialists was the appearance in

Tampa and Jacksonville of Emil Seidel, the party's vice presidential candidate. Speaking

in Jacksonville on September 13, Seidel characterized the Socialist Party's opposition to

the other parties: "The Republican Party stands for things as they are; it wants no change.

The Democratic Party stands for anything old; it wants the office. The Progressive Party


26 Tampa Tribune, March 3, 1912.

27 Tampa Tribune, March 24, 1912 and October 11, 1912.









stands for honesty on a platform of stolen planks. The Prohibition Party can only see

poverty when there is a beer sign in sight."28

Reflecting that at least some of the Socialist Party's optimism was realistic,

Democrats in 1912 expressed greater fear of the Socialists than of the Republicans. T. R.

Safford, a Democratic resident of Ruskin, claimed that a deputy sheriff, who was a

Socialist, was registering new residents who did not qualify to vote. The deputy

allegedly was conducting his registration efforts to assure that these new voters supported

the Socialist candidates. Safford also charged that the deputy was going to preside at the

Ruskin polls, and with the aid of other Ruskin Socialists, he was going to declare the

polling place a Socialist poll and thereby deny Ruskin Democrats the opportunity to vote

in the election.9

Hillsborough County Democrats used these allegations, whatever their merits, to

take matters in their own hands not an uncommon occurrence in the era shortly after the

disfranchisement of African American voters. In the final days before the June municipal

elections, the Tampa Tribune once again invoked the necessity of maintaining white

supremacy. The Tribune claimed that "the Socialists have used every effort to secure the

interest of the negro voters in their ticket and have been pointing out to them that they

ought to vote their ticket in retaliation for the actions of white citizens in establishing a

white primary, which destroyed negro influence in municipal elections and eliminated the

black balance of power which for so long operated to the detriment of clean politics in





28 Florida Times-Union, September 14, 1912.

29 Tampa Tribune, April 3, 1912.









this city."30 Democrats backed up their words with actions, as at least three Tampa

polling stations witnessed violence directed at Socialists or their supporters, and at two of

these, Socialist candidates Franklin Pimbley, a deputy sheriff, and C. C. Allen, were

beaten and jailed.31

Despite the white primary and voter intimidation, voter participation in the 1912

election was heavier than anticipated. The Tampa Tribune attributed the large turnout to

the heated rivalry between the Democrats and the Socialists. T. A. Saffold's worst fears

were realized as Ruskin voted overwhelmingly Socialist. In the city of Gulfport, Mayor

Wintersgill was reelected by a large margin and the composition of the city council

remained at four Socialists to one Democrat.32 Despite the fact that Woodrow Wilson, a

native Southerner, occupied the top of the Democratic ticket, 4,806 Floridians voted for

Eugene Debs, the Socialist standard-bearer. Debs received 9.3 percent of the total

Florida vote and ran ahead of Republican incumbent President William Howard Taft by

527 votes. Debs' increase of 1,059 votes in 1912 represented a 22 percent jump over his

1908 totals.33 Commenting on Debs's performance, the Florida Times-Union noted that

"we are now to recognize the fact that the Socialists are strong enough to command

consideration in Florida. We hope they will make their theories felt in the dispensation of

the government hereafter."34




30 Tampa Tribune, June 1, 1912.

31 Tampa Tribune, June 5, 1912.
32 Tampa Tribune, November 8, 1912.

33 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1912 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1912).

34 Florida Times-Union, November 23, 1912.









Thomas Cox, Socialist candidate for governor, received 3,467 votes (7.2 percent).

Counties that supplied Cox with at least 100 votes included Hillsborough with 554, Polk

238, Duval 173, Suwannee 173, Dade 171, Washington 141, Jackson 136, Pinellas 125,

Monroe 120, Lee 105, and Escambia 100. Counties in which Cox tallied at least 10

percent of the total vote included Polk with 16.6 percent, Suwannee 16.4 percent, Lee

15.4 percent, Hillsborough 14.8 percent, Calhoun 14.8 percent, Washington 13.5 percent,

Brevard 11.4 percent, and Monroe 10.1 percent. In the state cabinet races the Socialists

also made respectable showings. W. C. Edwards received 3,843 votes (8.9 percent) for

superintendent of schools, David Dunham tallied 3,680 votes (8.6 percent) for

comptroller, A. J. Pettigrew attracted 3,521 votes (8.5 percent) for commissioner of

agriculture, Abner D. Miller garnered 3,493 votes (8.4 percent) for attorney general, Fred

Lincoln Pattison received 3,327 votes (7.6 percent) for secretary of state, and Karl Harter

attracted 2,573 votes (6.3 percent) for state treasurer. Edwards, Pettigrew, and Pattison

beat their Republican opponents and finished second behind the Democratic winners.35

According to historian George Green, the 1912 Florida Socialist vote was the result

of a short-run combination of Populist remnants, insecure timber workers, hard-pressed

white tenant farmers, and foreign-born radicals.36 Although the Socialist vote in the 1912

gubernatorial contest tends to support Green's description of the Socialist coalition,

Green failed to account for the contributions rendered to the Socialist cause by Florida's

phosphate miners. Polk County, home to these struggling miners, supplied Thomas

Cox's gubernatorial bid with its highest vote percentage in any Florida county and trailed


35 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1912.

36 George N. Green, "Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912,"
(Master's thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 133-134.









only Hillsborough County in the total number of Socialist votes.37 Calhoun County,

which had supported the Populist gubernatorial candidate in 1892 and 1896, coupled with

Washington County, which had done the same in 1892, represented the Populist remnants

of Cox's Socialist coalition. The largest industry in Calhoun, Jackson, and Washington

counties was the production of turpentine and rosin. The naval stores industry employed

95.1 percent of Washington County's industrial workers, 92.2 percent in Calhoun

County, and 60.2 percent in Jackson County. The lumber and timber industry was the

largest employer in Suwannee and Dade counties, employing 56.8 percent of Suwannee's

wage earners and 35.2 percent of Dade's wage earners.38 Escambia County was the

export and processing center for north Florida's two timber industries. Agitated timber

workers from the above counties also contributed votes to Cox's gubernatorial quest.

White tenant farmers in Jackson and Suwannee counties, which contained the state's

highest and third highest white tenancy rates, joined with timber workers in their

respective counties to aid Cox's cause.39 The bulwark Socialist counties of Hillsborough,

Monroe, and Duval counties provided Cox with his foreign-born radical base. Rounding

out Cox's Socialist contingent was Pinellas County, home to the native-born Socialists of

Gulfport, and Lee County, whose Socialist strength derived from the declining ranks of

the Koreshan Unity.

If Florida Socialists had continued to maintain the electoral growth rates that they

had achieved between 1904 and 1912 they would have supplanted the Republicans as the

37 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1912.

38 The Third Census of the State ofFlorida, 1905 (Tallahassee: Capital Publishing Company, State Printer,
1906): 269, 273, 284-285, 299-300, 303.

39 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910: Statistics for Florida (Washington: Government Printing
Office, 1914): 629, 631.









state's second major political party. Eventually, perhaps, they might have even

threatened the Democrats' hold on Florida's political culture. World War I and its

complications ended that dream, whatever substance it might ever have had. Florida

Socialists, by achieving such a large vote in 1912, sealed their destiny and only

quickened their dissolution. Their increasing political influence dictated that one of the

major parties, in order to maintain their status, had to adopt some of the Socialist planks.

Most party members did not comprehend this fact. They thought that socialism would

continue to spread and secure victories in future elections. In the end, the election year of

1912 proved not to be the year of the long anticipated cooperative commonwealth, a year

destined never to arrive for Florida Socialists.

















CHAPTER 5
SUNSET OF FLORIDA SOCIALISM: THE ELECTIONS OF 1916 AND 1920

The election results of 1912 constituted "the Socialist moment of exultation," and,

given the large numbers of voters who chose the Progressive Party ticket nationwide -

voters whom many Socialists regarded as potential converts to socialism Socialists

around the country felt quite justified in believing that the potential of their movement

was limitless.1 Florida Socialists shared in this moment of optimism. Anticipating

further successes after the heady numbers achieved in 1912, Florida Socialists continued

their weekly meetings just as they had following previous elections, and likewise

resumed their instructional classes and Lyceum lecture series. Reflective of this Socialist

confidence was the December 1912 speech of Georgia Socialist organizer Max Wilk,

who praised the party faithful in St. Petersburg for their achievements in 1912, and

exhorted them that a more concentrated effort could attain even greater successes in

1916.2

Between 1912 and 1916, Florida Socialists sought to expand their ranks through a

variety of political and philosophical strategies. In the political realm, many Florida

locals took an active interest in the publication of a party-owned newspaper called the

Florida Beacon. At its inception in 1913, the Beacon's circulation corresponded to



1 Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982): 265.
2 St. Petersburg Times, December 4, 1912.









roughly half of the Socialist statewide vote of 1912, but circulation declined steadily,

leading to the newspaper's bankruptcy within a year. Following the Beacon's demise,

Charles T. Bailey of Bartow attempted to publish another Socialist organ, the Sledge

Hammer, but circulation woes similar to the Beacon's problems also undid Bailey's

tabloid.3 The difficulties Florida Socialists encountered in their endeavors to establish

Socialist media were reflective of a larger national trend. Between 1912 and 1916, the

nationwide Socialist press decreased by some 18 percent, a rate 50 percent greater than

the contemporaneous rate of general press decline.4

Philosophically, many Florida Socialists rebelled against religious conformity just

as they rebelled against political and economic orthodoxy. By the same token, many

Florida Socialists migrated to the party because capitalism had offended their Christian

beliefs, rather than because of exposure to dialectical materialism. Christian Socialists in

Florida, like their comrades in Oklahoma and Texas, attempted to use the electoral arena,

the press, and the pulpit to develop common ground between their political ideology and

the values of the Christian faith.5 Manatee County Socialists nominated and ran a

Presbyterian minister, J. A. Griffess, for school superintendent in 1904.6 In 1908, the St.

Petersburg Times, though a Democratic newspaper, published a short essay by local

Socialist M. C. Mohr on Christianity and Socialism. Mohr argued that "as the essence of



3 George N. Green, "Florida Politics and Socialism at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912,"
(Master's thesis, Florida State University, 1962): 127.

4 James Weinstein, "Socialism's Hidden Heritage: Scholarship Reinforces Political Mythology," Studies on
the Left 3 (Fall 1963): 96-97.

5 James Green, Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943 (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1978): 151-175.

6 Manatee River Journal, August 5, 1904 and November 25, 1906.









Christianity is love for man and God, it must stand for all that is good, just and righteous

in our relations man to man. As Socialism stands for these very principles, Socialism and

Christianity are in perfect harmony and complementary, the one to the other!"7 In that

same year, Reverend Thomas Calloway, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pensacola,

drew a large congregation to his church with the announcement of his sermon topic, "The

Problem of the Unemployed." Calloway praised Christian Socialism, which was

"earnestly seeking after the right solution to the problem of the unemployed and the

oppressed."8 Similar efforts continued in the years between 1912 and 1916, but bore

little fruit for the Socialist Party.

Despite their difficulties in establishing a party press and formulating a popular

synthesis between socialism with Christianity, Florida Socialists nevertheless proved

more successful than their national counterparts in attracting new members. Between

1913 and 1914, party membership increased from 560 to 696 dues-paying members, a

gain of 24.3 percent. Ironically, Florida's increase occurred even while membership in

the national party was suffering a steep decline. Between 1914 and 1915, the national

enrollment decreased by 20,626 members, a loss of 20 percent, owing largely to the

national party's expulsion of the Industrial Workers of the World.9

Between 1912 and 1916, international events also presented serious philosophical

issues for Socialists in Florida, as well as nationwide. In the late summer of 1914,

Americans were stunned to read in their newspapers that seemingly civilized Europe was


7 St. Petersburg Times, January 15, 1908.

8 Pensacola Journal, February 25, 1908.

9 Gerald Friedberg, "The Socialist Party of America: Decline and Fall, 1914-1918," Studies on the Left 4
(Summer 1964): 80, 82.









descending into the abyss of continent-wide war. One by one, the European nations

declared war upon one another. First, it was some obscure Balkan countries, about which

most Americans knew little and cared less. Soon, Austria and Germany, then Russia and

France, and finally Britain entered the war. Americans were bewildered by the rapid and

disastrous passage of events.

American Socialists were just as confused about the European war as the rest of

their fellow countrymen. Embroiled in its own internal struggles for party power,

concerned mainly with purely domestic problems, and having the faith of a younger

brother in the Socialist parties of Europe, the Socialist Party of America was poorly

prepared for the outbreak of war. In August 1914, the party blamed the start of the war

on the European "ruling classes" and pledged its support to "the Socialist parties of

Europe in any measures they may think it necessary to undertake to advance the cause of

peace and good-will among men." Therein lay the problem for American Socialists:

European Socialists had failed to prevent the war. Indeed, most of the European

Socialists actively supported their nation's war efforts. American Socialists found that

the constituents of the Second International were just as bellicose as the "capitalist

parties." How to explain this paradox was beyond the ability of American Socialists.10

While this issue would play a crucial role in the future breakup of the national party, it

appears not to have constituted a major conflict in Florida, at least not before the

elections of 1916.

On April 26, 1916, Florida Socialists held their fourth state convention in Tampa.

They did not realize it at the time, but this would be the last state convention that the

Florida Socialist Party would ever convene. Ruskin's C. C. Allen was selected as the

10 David Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, (New York: MacMillan, 1955): 82.









party's nominee for governor and R. L. Goodwin of Jacksonville was tabbed as the

party's candidate for the United States Senate. Nominees for the state cabinet included

Abner D. Miller of Ruskin for attorney general, Angelo Leto of Tampa for comptroller,

and Tampa's Karl Harter for state treasurer. For the first time since its birth, however,

the Florida Socialist Party failed to nominate a complete slate of candidates for statewide

office. Florida Socialists were unable to find candidates for the offices of secretary of

state, superintendent of schools, and agricultural commissioner.11 The lack of candidates

was a sign that the future did not bode well for the sunshine state's Socialists.

As in previous election years, Florida Socialists continued their pattern of holding

street meetings, open debates, picnics, and mass rallies. For example, Florida Socialists

held a major campaign rally in Tampa on May 31, 1916. Karl Harter, the Socialist

candidate for state treasurer (who was also running for mayor of Tampa), was the major

speaker. Harter pleaded with his audience to work hard during the campaign to increase

Socialist vote totals.12 On June 2, the Socialists also held rallies at Desoto Park and

Palmetto Beach.13 On September 10, the Jacksonville local held a picnic -- termed "a

great success" to raise donations for Eugene Debs, who was running for Congress from

Indiana's Fifth District.14

In July the state executive committee of the Socialist Party held a business meeting

in Jacksonville to discuss and formulate campaign strategy. The executive committee

adopted, with minor additions, the same platform for 1916 that it had in 1912. The

1 Tampa Tribune, April 27, 1916.
12 Tampa Tribune, June 1, 1916.

13 Tampa Tribune, June 4, 1916.
14 Florida Times-Union, September 11, 1916.









additional planks called for the election of the president and vice president by direct vote

and pensions for mothers. The committee also attempted to persuade Allan L. Benson,

the Socialist presidential candidate, to speak in Florida.15 Benson's trip to Florida never

materialized, another foreboding sign for the party's future.

Although Florida Socialists conducted their 1916 campaign as they had in previous

years, the results of that campaign proved utterly and disastrously different. Allen

Benson, the party's presidential candidate, received 4,316 votes or 5.2 percent of

Florida's totals. Benson's count represents a decline of 490 votes from Debs' 1912 vote

totals and a 10.2 percent decrease from the 1912 Socialist presidential vote. In Florida's

first direct election of a United States Senator, R. L. Goodwin attracted 3,304 votes or 4.7

percent of the totals.16

C. C. Allen received 2,470 votes (3 percent) for governor. Allen's tally reflected a

decrease of 997 votes when compared with Thomas Cox's 1912 totals. Allen's 1916

decrease in support represented a decline of 29 percent from the 1912 Cox vote.

Counties that supplied Allen with at least 100 votes included Hillsborough with 175,

Duval 174, Polk 147, Monroe 125, Dade 111, Volusia 106, Palm Beach 105, and Pinellas

101. Counties furnishing Allen with at least 5 percent of their vote included Palm Beach

with 7.8 percent, Monroe 7.3 percent, Bay 6.4 percent, Broward 6.4 percent, Osceola 5.8

percent, Calhoun 5.3 percent, Suwannee 5.2 percent, and Washington 5.0 percent.

Socialist cabinet candidates also endured declines in their electoral support. Abner D.

Miller garnered 4,993 votes (8 percent) for attorney general, Karl Harter received 4,232


15 Florida Times-Union, July 13, 1916.

16 Report of the Florida Secretary ofState, 1916 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1916).









votes (6.6 percent) for state treasurer, and Angelo Leto garnered 3,403 votes (5.4 percent)

for comptroller. All of these candidates, including C.C. Allen, finished dead last in their

respective races.1

Florida Socialists were shocked by the results of the 1916 elections. An even

greater shockwave would rock the party, however, in April 1917 with American entry

into the Great War. By early 1917, American Socialists found themselves facing the

same dilemma their European comrades had: how to reconcile socialist ideology, which

held that the war was the result of international capitalism, with their own feelings of

patriotism and love of country. They struggled to decide how to react as the nation

approached war. In March 1917, after the German navy resumed unrestricted submarine

warfare, the Socialist Party of America called an emergency convention to determine its

policy in the event the United States abandoned neutrality. By the time the two hundred

delegates met at the Planters Hotel in St. Louis, however, they were confronted with war

as afait accompli. President Woodrow Wilson and the Congress had beaten them by just

one day, for Congress had passed a war resolution with an easy majority.

The convention quickly learned that a great majority of the delegates strongly

opposed the war, and decided to oppose it regardless of the consequences. In response to

these sentiments, the convention adopted the St. Louis Proclamation, by a vote of about

three to one. The Proclamation called on Socialists to pursue "continuous, active, and

public opposition to the war, through demonstrations, mass petitions, opposition to

military conscription, sale of war bonds, and taxes on the necessities of life."18



17 Report of the Florida Secretary of State, 1916.

18 Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 93, 96.









Perhaps the stand of the Socialist Party would have been different had it known the

consequences that would befall its members during the war. In April 1917, the Socialist

Party did not fully comprehend what it might mean to be a dissenter in a total war. The

party also failed to envision just what degree of madness war-enraged people are capable

of. American Socialists soon found out.

Although the federal government was by no means a bulwark for the preservation

of civil liberties, mob action and the anti-Socialist measures of state and local officials

probably hurt the party more than Congress and the Wilson Administration. Socialists

had no recourse in law against mob action, for the law itself was being amended to

seriously restrict Socialist activities. Soon after the declaration of war, seven states,

including Florida, passed laws abridging freedom of speech and press. In June 1917, the

federal government followed suit by adopting the Espionage Act, which granted the

federal government the power to censor newspapers, ban them from the mails, and punish

obstruction of the draft with fines up to $10,000 and twenty years imprisonment.

Through prosecutions and convictions of such individuals as Victor Berger and Eugene

Debs, the federal government deprived the Socialist Party of some of its most forceful

leaders and inhibited the actions of many others.19

The Florida Socialist Party proved no more adept at avoiding governmental and

conservative hysteria than the national organization did. At no time were Florida

Socialists more on the defensive than during the World War I period. The April 1917

entry of the United States into the Great War resulted in a great quandary for Florida

Socialists. They faced the dilemma of opposing the war and being labeled traitors, or


19 Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 110.









supporting the war and fighting their fellow comrades in the Second International. As the

months of war continued, as the war-inspired nationalism intensified, Socialist strength in

Florida faltered before the onslaught of hostile public opinion. Socialists throughout the

state encountered difficulty renting meeting halls, had their meetings broken-up by local

police and patriotic vigilantes, and suffered economic discrimination from anti-Socialist

employers.20

No blind obedience to American patriotism characterized Florida's Socialists

during World War I. The war was not popular with party members, nor among Tampa's

draft-age Latins many of them radicals. Indeed, by late May 1917, many draft eligible

young men were voting with their feet by attempting to leave the country via the busy

port of Tampa.21 This placed Governor Sidney J. Catts, who had opposed American

entry into the war, in something of a dilemma. Nevertheless, Catts decided to stem the

tide of fleeing potential draftees by ordering deputies to inspect all ships leaving Tampa

for foreign countries.22

Finally, in the fall of 1918, the Allied armies began to force the Kaiser's armies

back, and mutinies and strikes broke out behind the German lines. On November 11, the

German government agreed to an armistice, and the four-year war was over. American

Socialists, including those in Florida, had little reason to celebrate on November 11,

1918. The war and war temper had not killed the party, but had weakened it

substantially. The party's press was impotent, many leaders were in prison or on their


20 Brad Alan Paul, Rebels of the New South: The Socialist Party in Dixie, 1892-1920 (PhD diss., University
of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1999): 197-199.
21 Tampa Tribune, May 23, 1917.

22 Tampa Tribune, May 31, 1917.









way, internal strife was more intense than it had ever been, relations with organized labor

were more strained, and the hostility of large segments of the public was greater than

ever.

American Socialists would have had even less reason to celebrate the armistice

could they have foreseen what the immediate future held for them. The worst was yet to

come. During the war, prosecutors and persecutors of Socialists justified their actions on

the grounds that Socialist opposition to the war endangered the nation. After the war,

conservative political reaction to the Russian Revolution of November 1917 the world's

first successful socialist revolution provided the justification for political repression of

the left. After November 1917, the more unrestrained members of the American right

persecuted Socialists merely because they were Socialists, and the end of the war

intensified, rather than diminished, anti-radical hysteria.23

Federal and state authorities monitored Socialist activities with scrupulous

attention, as they saturated Socialist strongholds such as Tampa's Ybor City with agents

and informants. The file drawers of the Bureau of Investigation reveal an unmistakable

pattern of government espionage, establishment violence, and deep paranoia over the

"Ybor City Problem." One federal agent reported "that the Italian Spanish colonies of

West Tampa and Ybor City, Florida are the most advanced towards the 'Social

Revolution.' I could say they have established here a Soviet on a small scale. I have the

impression of being in Russia."24 Indeed, Special agent A.V. French worried about the

possibilities for widespread violence, reporting that Tampa residents expressed their

23 Shannon, The Socialist Party ofAmerica, 121-122.

24 Gary R. Mormino and George Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City: Italians and Their Latin
Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987): 158-159.









willingness to forget law and order and take matters in their own hands. One

impassioned letter to the Bureau of Investigation reflected the sort of hostility to the

Tampa left to which French referred. This irate citizen claimed that:

Socialists discouraged enlistments in our Army and Navy and aided those who
wanted to evade the draft by giving them money to leave the country. After the
armistice, these men affiliated themselves with anarchists from Spain, Cuba, and
New York, and with Bolsheviki of Russia. These men were interested in doing
bodily harm to our president. They also tried to bring about a race riot by inciting
the negroes against the whites. They are also responsible for various strikes.25

As always, the anti-Socialist cause incited Tampa's elite, one of whom, former

mayor M. E. Gillet, wrote to Special Agent Frank Burke, explaining that:

A committee of prominent businessmen have requested me to write you and if
possible get you to send us a man, preferably a Latin who can get into the good
graces of the ring leaders here and get us a correct list of the undesirables. We will
do the rest. A number of years ago we deported a bunch of agitators to an island off
the coast of Honduras. Wish to God that the rest of them were all in the same
place.26

More concretely, local leaders itched to make a test case out of the 1919 May Day

rally in Ybor City. Local police arrested individuals caught posting notices of the

gathering, and on the appointed day city officials called in the National Guard to break up

the May Day rally itself. After dispersing a small crowd, troops drilled for three hours

"with shining guns and bayonets" near several large factories in an effort to intimidate

workers. One Socialist leader lamented:

Gone and forgotten are the beautiful daydreams of how wonderful and beautiful the
world would be when the German Kaiser had been put out of business. Now, a
27
greater struggle and more suffering.2



25 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City, 156.

26 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City, 159.

27 Mormino and Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City, 160.









The deportations, seizures, confiscation of records, closing of meeting halls, and

intimidation of leaders seriously weakened the Tampa Socialists, and with them, the

Florida Socialist Party as a whole. Florida Socialists paid a heavy price for their

opposition to the war and involuntary association with the Bolshevik Revolution. Not

only did the government greatly increase its surveillance and control, but the hostility of

the state's general population rose to new heights. The Socialist locals in particular,

perhaps because of their visibility and size, increasingly felt the pressure of negative

public opinion.

By the time of the 1920 elections the Florida Socialist Party was little more than a

hollow shell of its former self. The number of dues-paying party members had

plummeted to fewer than one hundred.28 For the first time since 1904, either out of fear

of reprisal or lack of interest, Florida Socialists did not hold a state convention to

nominate candidates for statewide office. In fact, Florida Socialists could find only two

candidates willing to sacrifice themselves in a bid for state office. Dr. Furman Whitaker,

a founding father of the Manatee County Socialist Party, showed once again his party

loyalty when he volunteered to become the Socialists' gubernatorial candidate. When he

announced his bid to become one of Florida's two United States Senators, M. J. Martin

became the Socialist Party's other political sacrificial lamb.29

The 1920 election returns in Florida merely confirmed what many knowledgeable

party members had long suspected: the Florida Socialist Party was for all practical

purposes dead. Eugene Debs, campaigning from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary,


28 Tampa Tribune October 29, 1920.

29 Tampa Tribune, September 16, 1920.









received 5,189 votes or 3.3 percent of Florida's presidential votes. Debs' vote total

represented a 65 percent decrease from the 9.3 percent he received in 1912. This decline

in vote percentage occurred even though the total number of votes that Debs received

increased by 383.30 Whitaker received 2,823 votes (2.1 percent) for governor. In

contrast, 1912 Socialist gubernatorial candidate Thomas Cox received 3,467 votes or 7.2

percent. Whitaker's vote totals represent a decrease of 56 percent from 1912. The

counties affording Whitaker at least 100 votes included Hillsborough with 523, Escambia

194, Dade 189, Duval 186, Polk 166, Manatee 113, Volusia 106, and Monroe 104.

Counties furnishing Whitaker with at least 4.5 percent of their vote included Flagler with

14.6 percent, Broward 6.4 percent, Monroe 6.3 percent, Washington 6.0 percent,

Hillsborough 4.7 percent, Suwannee 4.7 percent, Manatee 4.6 percent, and Escambia 4.5

percent. In the race for the United States Senate, M. J. Martin received 3,525 votes or 2.5

percent of the total.31 The Socialist Party of Florida, after a short but dramatic life, was

no more.

















30 This anomaly is explained by the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote,
which was ratified only weeks before the election. The effect of woman suffrage, of course, was to double
the size of the Florida electorate since the last general election.

31 Report of the Secretary of State. 1920 (Tallahassee: State Printers Office, 1920).














CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION: AN AUTOPSY OF THE FLORIDA SOCIALIST PARTY

By the election of 1920, under the impact of socialist revolutions in central and

eastern Europe, American Socialists had divided beyond the point of ever being capable

of reunion. The postwar "Red Scare" waned considerably after the election of 1920, and

Socialists began to be accorded their civil rights. By that time, however, neither the

Socialist Party nor the other parties of the left were potent enough to give nightmares

even to the most apprehensive conservative. By the time of the next resurgence of left-

wing politics in American life during the 1930s, the parties of the left played a decidedly

secondary role.

Similarly, the 1920 election effectively marked the end of an active Socialist Party

in Florida. While the failure of the Florida Socialist Party was directly related to the

party's stance on America's participation in World War I, the erosion of Socialist support

actually began much earlier. Historian George Green traces the origins of the party's

decline in Florida to the period shortly after the election of 1912. Even as early as 1912,

he argues, several factors emerged that would weaken the Socialist Party over the coming

years. He contends that the withdrawal of support for Socialist programs by old-line

progressive Democratic politicos, the disintegration of farm support owing to relative

prosperity, Woodrow Wilson's appeal to intellectuals, and the rigid doctrinal pressures

imposed on Socialist candidates by party locals led to the party's demise in Florida.1


1 George N. Green, "Florida Politics at the Crossroads of the Progressive Era, 1912" (Master's thesis,
Florida State University, 1962): 128-129.