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 6. He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of this State, and of the Militia thereof.

Section 7. He may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Departments, on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.

Section 8. He may, by proclamation, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly at the seat of Government, or at a different place, if that shall have become dangerous from an enemy, or from disease; and in case of disagreement between the two Houses with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, not beyond the day of the next meeting designated by this Constitution.

Section 9. He shall, from time to time, give to the General Assembly information of the State of the Government, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.

Section 10. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Section 11. In all criminal and penal cases, (except of treason and impeachment,) after conviction, he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law; and in cases of treason, he shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to grant reprieves and pardons; and he may, in the recess of the Senate, respite the sentence until the end of the next session of the General Assembly.

Section 12. There shall be a seal of the State, which shall be kept by the Governor, and used by him officially, with such device as the Governor first elected may direct, and the present seal of the Territory shall be the seal of the State until otherwise directed by the General Assembly.

Section 13. All commissions shall be in the name, and by the authority of the State of Florida, be sealed with the State seal, and signed by the Governor, and attested by the Secretary of State.

Section 14. There shall be a Secretary of State appointed by joint vote of both Houses of the General Assembly, who shall continue in office during the term of four years; and he shall keep a fair register of the official acts and proceedings of the Governor, and shall, when required, lay the same and all papers, minutes, and vouchers, relative thereto, before the General Assembly, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by law.

Section 15. Vacancies that happen in offices, the appointment to which is vested in the General Assembly, or given to the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall be filled by the Governor during the recess of the General Assembly, by granting commissions, which shall expire at the end of the next session.

Section 16. Every bill, which shall have passed both Houses of the General Assembly, shall be presented to the Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon the journals, and proceed to re-consider it; and if, after such re-consideration, a majority of the whole number elected to that House, shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other House, by which it shall likewise be re-considered; and if approved by a majority of the whole number elected to that House, it shall become a law; but in such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for, or against the bill, shall be entered on the journals of each House respectively; and if any bill shall not be returned by the Governor, within five days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him the same shall be a law in like manner, as if he had signed it; unless the General Assembly by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case, it shall not be a law.

Section 17. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on questions of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor; and before it shall take effect, be approved by him, or being disapproved, be re-passed by both Houses, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.

Section 18. In case of the impeachment of the Governor, his removal from office, death, refusal to qualify, resignation, or absence from the State, the President of the Senate shall exercise all the power and authority appertaining to the office of Governor, during the term for which the Governor was elected; unless the General Assembly shall provide by law for the election of a Governor to fill such vacancy; or, until the Governor absent, or impeached, shall return, or be acquitted.

Section 19. If during the vacancy of the office of Governor, the President of the Senate shall be impeached, removed from office, refuse to qualify, resign, die, or be absent from the State, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall in like manner, administer the Government.