Florida’s reputation as “the paradise of earth” for the working and middle classes doesn’t apply anymore.

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Florida’s reputation as “the paradise of earth” for the working and middle classes doesn’t apply anymore.

So long as they’ve been peddling swampland to northerners, Florida has sold itself on the promise of cheap living.

“To the wealthy planter, Florida is eminently inviting,” a delegate for a pre-statehood Florida wrote to a Washington, D.C., newspaper in the early 1840s, as the government attempted to draw new residents with free land. “But to the poor and the moderate in circumstance, it is, beyond comparison, the paradise of earth.”

Ever since, Florida’s reputation as the everyman’s Eden has defined it: Come for Mickey. Stay for the endless sunsets.

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