During Reconstruction, many northern men and women contributed to Florida’s social, political, and economic life. Their efforts— and those of the northern institutions and organizations that supported them— provided immediate assistance to the needy and resulted, as well, in the establishment of churches, schools, and other institutions that endured the test of time. Nonetheless, most Floridians have gained only a one-dimensional understanding of the contributions of Northerners during Reconstruction, usually through the highly critical eyes of historians such as William Watson Davis. Of them, Davis, a disciple of Columbia University’s Dunning School of Reconstruction historiography, wrote: “The failure of the Republican government was . . . incident to the operations of a lot of self-seeking, reckless, shrewd, and grafting politicians, who were in local politics for all they could squeeze out of it, who controlled, by fair means or foul, the ignorant and often vicious negro majorities and therefore controlled the government and therefore the public purse-strings.“1
Foster, Jr., John T.
"The Last Shall Be First: Northern Methodists in Reconstruction Jacksonville,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 70:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol70/iss3/3