Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Florida History: Two hogs and one good hound dog

Fort Lauderdale

By Jane Feehan

As the United States was about to end World War II in June 1945, Florida was embroiled in a war of sorts between its north and south. When population growth shifted to South Florida, debate arose over senatorial reapportionment. North Florida had 23 senators at the time for every 37,000 people. South Florida had 15 for every 100,000. A quagmire developed when northern legislators repeatedly voted down or blocked bills for reapportionment.

In an effort to break the deadlock the “Two Bit Club,” a group of lawyers, doctors and other professionals from Palm Beach County, telegrammed their representatives “to introduce a memorial memorializing the Congress of the United States to provide by proper action for a dividing of the State of Florida into two states.”

Also hoping to move things along, the Belle Glade Herald offered Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall a large part of Florida:

Extend your South boundary to the Gulf of Mexico due south on the western side in a generally south-southwest direction from the present southeast corner of your State – the State of Florida to accept in token payment from Georgia two 300-pound hogs and one good hound dog.

Gov. Arnall replied: “Georgia will be delighted to have all or any part of Florida. We like the people of Florida. We like the State. Many of your citizens are Georgians anyway.”

Tongue-in-cheek proposals aside, concessions were made over the years. But shifting populations continually drive redistricting. Since the debate of the 1940s however, only Key West has proposed secession – secession from the United States as the Conch Republic in 1982.

Palm Beach Post, June 3, 1945, p. 4.
Fort Lauderdale Daily News, June 5, 1945, p. 1.
Fort Lauderdale Daily News, June 6, 1945, p.1

Tags: Florida history, Florida secession, Florida reapportionment debate, Two Bit Club, 
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