Stephen Kerber


On April 13, 1911, Representative Thomas F. West of Santa Rosa County introduced a joint resolution in Florida’s House of Representatives intended to amend the state constitution. 1 West’s proposal, designated as House Joint Resolution (HJR) 222, called for the adoption of two popular progressive-era reforms, the initiative and the referendum.2 Although strenuously opposed by a conservative minority in both legislative houses, HJR 222 achieved the necessary votes to gain passage with relative ease. The strongest opposition to these two innovations in direct democracy manifested itself several months later, during the summer and fall of 1912, when influential reactionaries successfully instituted legal proceedings to prevent the proposed amendment from appearing on the general election ballot.