Magazine article Humanities

Confederate Cattle Call

Magazine article Humanities

Confederate Cattle Call

Article excerpt

There is pleasure to be had in looking to the past for examples of the familiar or near familiar. But one can also look to it for a good blast of the freaky, the strange, and the unrecognizable. Reading the special Civil War issue of Forum magazine from the Florida Humanities Council, one finds no prototype of novelist Carl Hiaasen's dysfunctional natural paradise. There are no old folks' homes, nothing like Disney World. Instead, on the eve of the Civil War, Florida is barely populated in the southern half of the peninsula. Large herds of wild cattle roam the south and central prairies. Forty-five percent of the population is enslaved. Abraham Lincoln did not make it onto the recent presidential ballot. Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge carried the state. John McGhee, president of the convention to decide whether Florida would secede, argued that slavery was essential to Florida's way of life, its government, and its system of property rights. …

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