This thesis places Florida's phosphate industry in the context of the New South and the state's fitful emergence into modernity. Historian Paul Ortiz has identified a long trend of "Florida exceptionalism" – the idea that Florida has been exempt from the conflicts characteristic of the New South. These conflicts are rooted in racial violence and inconsistent industrialization, which resulted in lagging wages, labor struggles, overproduction crises and sporadic capital investment. These Southern trends are likewise rooted in a national narrative of modernization, despite a tendency to consider the New South as in some sense outside of modernity. I argue that Florida has not been exempt from the conflicts characteristic of the New South or of modernity, and that the phosphate industry between 1900 and 1930 strikingly demonstrates these conflicts. Florida phosphate mining was one of the most capitalized and developed industries in Florida during these years; yet it has received essentially no attention from historians working in the relevant historiographies of labor, race, mining technology and political economy. In placing the industry into these contexts, the thesis proceeds analytically rather than narratively, making the argument by examining the industry from three distinct, but interrelated, perspectives, posed at increasing levels of generality: first, examining labor conflict and interracial organization in the industry; second, examining competitive pressures and technological change and third, examining the industry's vertical integration into the national fertilizer market.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Orr, Terrell, "Conflict and Modernity in New South Florida's Phosphate Mines" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4983.