Constitution of 1838

In December 1838, delegates convened at St. Joseph to form Florida’s first state constitution. The convention completed its work in January 1839, although Florida was not officially admitted to the Union as a state until March 3, 1845.

Constitution of 1838


Section 4. No new county shall be entitled to separate representation, until its population equal the ratio of representation, then existing; nor shall any county be reduced in population by division, below the existing ratio.

Section 5. Until the apportionment of representation by the General Assembly, as directed in the foregoing section, the several counties shall be entitled to the following Representatives, vis:--Escambia three, Walton one, Washington one, Jackson three, Franklin two, Calhoun two, Gadsden four, Leon six, Jefferson three, Madison one, Hamilton one, Columbia two, Alachua two, Duval two, Nassau one, St. Johns three, Mosquito one, Dade one, Monroe one, Hillsborough one: And until the apportionment of Senators under the census as aforesaid, there shall be sixteen Senatorial Districts in this State, which shall be as follows: The county of Escambia, shall compose the first District. The counties of Walton and Washington, shall compose the second District. The county of Jackson, shall compose the third District. The county of Calhoun, shall compose the fourth District. The county of Franklin, shall compose the fifth District. The county of Gadsden, shall compose the sixth District. The county of Leon, shall compose the seventh District. The county of Jefferson, shall compose the eighth District The county of Madison, shall compose the ninth District. The county of Hamilton, shall compose the tenth District. The county of Columbia, shall compose the eleventh District. The county of Alachua, shall compose the twelfth District. The county of Duval, shall compose the thirteenth District. The county of Nassau, shall compose the fourteenth District. The counties of St. Johns and Mosquito, shall compose the fifteenth District. The counties of Dade, Monroe, and Hillsborough, shall compose the sixteenth District. And each Senatorial District shall elect one Senator, and the seventh District shall be entitled to two.





Section 1. The proceeds of all lands that have been or may hereafter be granted by the United States for the use of Schools, and a Seminary or Seminaries, of learning, shall be and remain a perpetual fund, the interest of which, together with all monies derived from any other source applicable to the same object, shall be inviolably appropriated to the use of Schools and Seminaries of learning respectively, and to no other purpose.

Section 2. The General Assembly shall take such measures as may be necessary to preserve from waste or damage all land so granted and appropriated to the purposes of Education.



Public Domain and Internal Improvements.


Section 1. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for the prevention of waste and damage of the public lands now possessed, or that may hereafter be ceded to the Territory or State of Florida, and it may pass laws for the sale of any part or portion thereof; and in such case provide for the safety, security, and appropriation of the proceeds.

Section 2. A liberal system of Internal Improvements being essential to the development of the resources of the country, shall be encouraged by the Government of this State, and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as practicable, to ascertain by law proper objects of improvement in relation to roads, canals and navigable streams, and to provide for a suitable application of such funds as may be appropriated for such improvements.