I saw that today marks the sale of Florida by Spain to the US in 1819, although I believe Britain controlled much of South Florida. One of the recent books on the Sunshine State is Michael Grunwald's The Swamp, which charts the tumultuous history of the Everglades and the last ditch effort to seal a deal to restore the national treasure before the Clinton administration folded its tents. There were some unlikely allies in this battle,
Elections, Mr. Grunwald points out, tend to be very good for the Everglades. In 2000, the $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was making its way through Congress. It passed because E. Clay Shaw Jr., the 10-term Republican congressman from Fort Lauderdale, found himself in a tight race, and the Republicans held a razor-thin majority in the House. The speaker, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, threw his full weight behind the plan. "We knew this could come down to two seats, and if that meant we had to spend $8 billion for Mr. Shaw, that's what we were going to do," an aide to Mr. Hastert recalled.
The Everglades has long captured my imagination ever since seeing Wind Across the Everglades.