Nothing in Florida above the Nation’s Flag,” announced Sidney J. Catts’s 1916 gubernatorial campaign platform. “As Roman Catholicism puts her allegiance to the pope above the flag,” the statement continued, “Mr. Catts stands against the invasion of the state of Florida in her politics.” Catts hailed from Dallas County, Alabama. He was a Baptist minister in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, before taking up a career in insurance sales. Then, in 1916, despite having no political experience, Catts ran for and won Florida’s governorship, armed with a potent mix of populist appeal and anti-Catholicism.
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