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Series Description

The Patriot Constitution, 1812

Series Number:

N2013- 6

Creator:

Republic of East Florida (1812)

Title / Date:

Patriot Constitution, 1812

Quantity:

66 pages approximately 18 x 23 cm

Biographical / Historical:

In March 1812, a group of Georgia settlers known as the Patriot Army, with de facto support from the U.S. government, invaded Spanish East Florida. The Patriots hoped to convince the inhabitants of Spanish East Florida to join their cause and proclaim independence from Spain. Once independence was achieved, the Patriots would transfer control of the territory to the United States. The Patriots seized control of Fernandina without firing a shot, but could not convince the government at St. Augustine to surrender. By July 1812, the "invasion" had reached a stalemate, with the Patriots encamped at Fort Mose, and the Spanish government firmly in control of St. Augustine and Castillo de San Marcos. Over the ensuing several months, the Patriots fought a series of skirmishes against the Spanish and their Seminole and black allies. The most significant fighting took place when the Patriots attempted to penetrate the strongholds of the Seminoles and their African-American allies near the Alachua Prairie. The Patriots eventually lost their tenuous support from the U.S. government and abandoned the Florida project in early 1813. During their time in control of Fernandina, the Patriots formed a temporary government and drafted a constitution to govern their territory. That document is transcribed and included here, along with other miscellaneous items related to the Republic of East Florida. The originals reside in the collections of the Florida Historical Society (FHS) in Cocoa. The FHS lent these documents to the State Archives in 2013 for digitization.

Description:

This series consists of a handwritten copy of the 1812 Patriot Constitution of the Republic of East Florida, and miscellaneous documents related to the Patriot Rebellion of 1812-1813. The location of the original, or any other copies, is unknown.

Ownership / Custodial History:

In 2013, the Florida Historical Society (FHS) lent the original Patriot Constitution and related documents to the State Archives for digitization. Upon completion of the digitization project, the originals will return to the FHS in Cocoa, Florida.

Publication Note:

Published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/264067

Constitution, 1838

Series Number:

S 1317

Creator:

Florida. Constitutional Convention (1838)

Title:

Constitution, 1838

Quantity:

1.00 item 54 x 45 cm

Biographical / Historical:

With the possibility of being admitted to statehood, an Act was passed by the Territorial Council in 1838, approved by Governor Richard Keith Call, calling for the election of delegates in October of 1838, to a convention to be held at St. Joseph, West Florida. The delegates were to draft a constitution and bill of rights for the Territory of Florida.

The Constitutional Convention convened on December 3, 1838 with Robert Raymond Reid presiding as president and Joshua Knowles secretary. The work of the Convention was carried out by eighteen committees, whose members were familiar with that particular area of government. The process was a relatively simple one, since they used the constitutions of several other southern states as models. Only on the subject of banking did much debate take place. The Convention adjourned sine die on January 9, 1839.

Description:

The series consists of a handwritten copy of the 1838 Constitution or "Form of Government for the People of Florida," signed by Convention President, Robert Raymond Reid, and Convention Secretary, Joshua Knowles. The original Constitution, signed by all the delegates, has never been found. Considered "a secretary's copy," this document is the only known copy of the 1838 Constitution.

Ownership / Custodial History:

Donor is a descendant of a participant in the Florida Constitutional Convention at St. Joseph. The Constitution was found in her home.

Publication Note:

Published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://www.floridamemory.com/collections/items/show/189087/

Constitution, 1861

Series Number:

S 972

Creator:

Florida Convention of the People

Title / Date:

Ordinance of secession, 1861

Quantity:

1.00 item

Biographical / Historical:

Pursuant to an Act of the Legislature approved November 30, 1860, Governor Madison S. Perry issued a proclamation calling an election on Saturday, December 22, 1860, for delegates to a Convention to address the issue of whether Florida had a right to withdraw from the Union. The Secession Convention met on January 3, 1861 in Tallahassee. John C. McGehee of Madison County was elected President. The Convention passed the Ordinance of Secession on January 10, 1861, declaring Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation." The Convention ratified the Constitution adopted by the Confederate States of America on April 13 and adjourned sine die on April 27, 1861 unless convened by the president on or before December 25.

Since the Convention generally approved of Governor Perry's actions it made no move to interfere with his administration; however, when Governor Milton took office in October of 1861 and reversed some policies of his predecessor, a move was started to reconvene the Convention. President McGehee issued a proclamation on December 13 for the convention to meet on January 14, 1862, at Tallahassee. McGehee expressed concern over two matters: the state's finances and the powers of the Governor during wartime. To remedy the later, the members appointed an Executive Council of four men to share the executive authority because they felt that the powers of a wartime executive should not be placed in the hands of one man. The Convention adjourned sine die on January 27, 1862.

Description:

The series contains a one page handwritten copy of the Ordinance of Secession passed on January 10, 1861 by the members of the Florida Convention of the People (commonly referred to as the Secession Convention).

Publication Note:

Published in: Journal of the proceedings of the Convention of the People of Florida, begun and held at the Capitol in the city of Tallahassee, on Thursday, January 3, A.D. 1861. Tallahassee : Office of the Floridian and Journal, 1861.

Also published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://floridamemory.com/items/show/189088

Constitution, 1865

Series Number:

S 58

Creator:

Florida. Constitutional Convention (1865)

Title / Date:

Constitution, 1865

Quantity:

1.00 item 32 x 49 cm

Biographical / Historical:

On October 10, 1865, the Constitutional Convention met in Tallahassee to nullify the Ordinance of Secession of 1861 and adopt a new constitution for the State of Florida. The new constitution went into effect on November 7, 1865, without being submitted to the people for ratification. The Constitution of 1865 was never fully effective. Federal military forces remained in command of the state until July, 1868, when a new constitution was written.

Description:

The series contains the 1865 Constitution for the State of Florida adopted by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1865. The 67-page document is handwritten. There are no proceedings to the 1865 Constitutional Convention in the Archives.

Publication Note:

Compiled general laws of Florida 1927 : vol. 5 miscellaneous / compiled and annotated by Harry B. Skillman. Atlanta : Harrison Co., 1928.

Also published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://floridamemory.com/items/show/189093

Constitution, 1868

Series Number:

S 1048

Creator:

Florida. Constitutional Convention (1868)

Title / Date:

Constitution, 1868

Quantity:

1.00 item 46 x 74 cm

Biographical / Historical:

Florida became subject to the military authority of the federal government in 1867. Pursuant to an Act of Congress, General John Pope, Commander of the 3rd Military District, issued an order on April 8, 1867, dividing the 39 counties of the State into 19 districts for the election of delegates to a convention to frame a new State Constitution. The Constitution had to conform with the Federal Constitution and with the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Convention met in Tallahassee on January 20, 1868. As the Convention began its functions, bitter factions were formed, and only under after federal government intervention was the Convention brought under control. The Convention reconvened on February 18, 1868, and Horatio Jenkins, Jr. was elected President. The Constitution was adopted by the people of Florida in May, 1868. It conferred electoral franchise upon "male persons" instead of "white male persons" as by the 1865 Constitution. With its acceptance by the federal military authorities, the State of Florida was recognized as being restored to the Union, and its Senators and Representatives were admitted to Congress.

Description:

The series contains the 1868 Constitution for the State of Florida drafted by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1868. The 33-page document is handwritten. There are no proceedings to the 1868 Constitutional Convention in the Archives.

Publication Note:

Published in: The Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of Florida at its First Session (1868) Under the Constitution of A.D. 1868.

Tallahassee : Hiram Potter, 1868.

Also published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://www.floridamemory.com/collections/

Constitution, 1885

Series Number:

S 539

Creator:

Florida. Constitutional Convention (1885)

Title / Date:

Constitution, 1885

Quantity:

1.00 item 59 x 47 cm

Biographical / Historical:

The 1885 Legislature enacted Chapter 3577 calling for a Constitutional Convention in order to revise the Constitution of 1868. In May, 1885 a general election for the selection of delegates was held throughout the state. The Convention met in Tallahassee from June 9 to August 3, 1885. Samuel Pasco of Jefferson County presided. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 1 of the Convention, the Constitution was submitted to the citizens of Florida for ratification in November of 1886. The 1885 Constitution was ratified by a 31,803 to 21,243 vote.

Description:

The series contains the 1885 Constitution for the State of Florida drafted by the Constitutional Convention in 1885. The 57-page document is handwritten. The related minutes of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention are located in Series 1049. The new constitution legitimized poll taxes as prerequisites for voting, thus contributing to the disenfranchisement of blacks.

Publication Note:

Compiled general laws of Florida 1927 : vol. 5 miscellaneous / compiled and annotated by Harry B. Skillman. Atlanta : Harrison Co., 1928.

Also published (with transcription) on the Florida Memory Project's Collections web page at http://floridamemory.com/items/show/189169