Claude Pepper is a legend not only of Florida politics but national progressive politics. His brand of New Deal Liberalism and longevity as a prominent national ambassador for the ideology made him someone who appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1938, but again in 1983. In this week’s Florida History Podcast, we discuss Pepper.
A strong proponent of Franklin Roosevelt’s program of progressive reforms, Pepper’s style of liberalism was different than the prevailing conservative thought within Florida’s ruling class of Democrats.
Pepper’s defeat for reelection in the 1950 US Senate election in the Democratic primary at the hands of George Smathers in one of the most infamous campaigns in American history ushered in an era of McCarthyism.
But Pepper wasn’t done, getting elected to the US House in 1962 and by the early 1980’s he had become among Ronald Reagan’s least favorite Democrats in the country as a strong opponent of Reaganomics.
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