200 years of Florida history through the stories of its governors
“A go-to book for all who want to know more about how Florida emerged from a wilderness territory to become the third most populous state in the country.”—from the foreword by Bob Martinez, former governor of Florida
“An exemplary book that broadens our knowledge of the state and its political leadership. Murphree and Taylor have brought together top scholars and writers to portray Florida’s gubernatorial achievements since Andrew Jackson, the state’s first territorial governor.”—David R. Colburn, author of From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans: Florida and Its Politics since 1940
“This long overdue book will stand as the final word on Florida’s governors. In a single volume, it tells the story of every governor and traces the state’s history through their actions and inactions.”—James C. Clark, author of Red Pepper and Gorgeous George: Claude Pepper’s Epic Defeat in the 1950 Democratic Primary
“Whether you read this book as a resource on just one or two governors or as a sweeping history of the state, it satisfies. Meticulously researched, it is invaluable for any student of Florida history.”—Mary E. Adkins, author of Making Modern Florida: How the Spirit of Reform Shaped a New State Constitution
“An important work for anyone interested in Florida history. This is the first volume to examine the lives and legacies of Florida’s governors beginning when the United States took possession of Florida in 1821.”—Evan P. Bennett, author of When Tobacco Was King: Families, Farm Labor, and Federal Policy in the Piedmont
The Governors of Florida is an unparalleled two-hundred-year history of Florida’s highest office. This volume provides the first in-depth examination of all of Florida’s chief executives from the acquisition of Spanish Florida by the United States and the appointment of Andrew Jackson as the territory’s first governor in 1821 to the end of Rick Scott’s tenure in 2019.
Each of the fifty chapters features the life and legacy of a different individual who held the governorship during Florida’s territorial or statehood periods. These brief biographies describe the backgrounds of the governors, the reasons they were elected or appointed, their legislative agendas, stories of how they dealt with crises, their successes and failures, and their impacts on the state. The chapters provide windows into the major issues each governor faced during office, including the Seminole Wars, slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, railroad building, Everglades drainage, World Wars I and II, the Cold War, civil rights, education reform, and the death penalty.
Detailing the personalities, decisions, and accomplishments of Florida’s governors as well as vividly portraying the eras they lived through, this is the definitive volume on the office and a fascinating historical journey through the Sunshine State.
R. Boyd Murphree, project manager at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries, is a former archivist for the State Archives of Florida and former assistant editor for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project. Robert A. Taylor is associate dean and head of the School of Arts and Communication and professor of history at the Florida Institute of Technology. He is the coeditor of This War So Horrible: The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams, 40th Alabama Confederate Pioneer.