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


general law provide a summary process for the sequestration of its effects and assets, the appointment of officers to settle its affairs, and no forfeited charter shall be restored. The foregoing provision shall not be construed to prevent the General Assembly from imposing other restrictions and provisions in the creation of corporations.

Section 13. The General Assembly shall not pledge the faith and credit of the State, to raise funds in aid of any corporation whatsoever.

Section 14. The General Assembly shall at its first session, have power to regulate, restrain and control, all associations claiming to exercise corporate privileges in the State, so as to guard, protect, and secure the interests of the people of the State, not violating vested rights, or impairing the obligation of contracts.



Amendments and Revision of the Constitution.


Section 1. No Convention of the people shall be called, unless by the concurrence of two-thirds of each House of the General Assembly.

Section 2. No part of this Constitution shall be altered; unless a bill to alter the same, shall have been read three times in the House of Representatives, and three times in the Senate, and agreed to by two-thirds of each House of the General Assembly; neither shall any alteration take place until the bill so agreed to, be published six months previous to a new election for members to the House of Representatives; and if the alteration proposed by the General Assembly shall be agreed to at their first session by two-thirds of each House of the General Assembly, after the same shall have been read three times on three several days in each House, then and not otherwise, the same shall become a part of the Constitution.



The Seat of Government.

Section 1. The Seat of Government, of the State of Florida, shall be and remain permanent at the city of Tallahassee, for the term and time of five years, from and after the end of the first session of the General Assembly, to be holden under this Constitution; and after the expiration of the said five years, the General Assembly shall have power to remove the Seat of Government, from Tallahassee, and fix the same at any other point; Provided, that the General Assembly shall immediately after the expiration of ten years, from the end of the said first session thereof, fix permanently the Seat of Government.



General Provisions.


Section 1. The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves.

Section 2. They shall have no power to prevent emigrants to this State, from bringing with them, such persons as may be deemed slaves, by the laws of any one of the United States: Provided, they shall have power to enact laws to prevent the introduction of any slaves who may have committed crimes in other States.

Section 3. The General Assembly shall have power to pass laws to prevent free negroes, mulattoes, and other persons of color, from emigrating to this State, or from being discharged from on board any vessel, in any of the ports of Florida.

Section 4. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his confession in open court.

Section 5. Divorces from the bonds of matrimony shall not be allowed, but by the judgment of a court, as shall be prescribed by law.

Section 6. The General Assembly shall declare by law, what parts of the common law, and what parts of the civil law, not inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be in force in this State.