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 18. No Justice of the Supreme Court shall sit as Judge or take part in the Appellate Court on the trial or hearing of any case which shall have been decided by him in the Court below.

Section 19. The General Assembly shall have power to establish in each County, a Board of Commissioners for the regulation of the County business therein.

Section 20. No duty not Judicial shall be imposed by law upon the Justices of the Supreme Court, Chancellors, or the Judges of the Circuit Courts of this State. ______________



The Right of Suffrage and Qualifications of Officers; Civil Offices; and Impeachments, and Removals from Office.

Section 1. Every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, and who shall be at the time of offering to vote a citizen of the United States; and who shall have resided, and had his habitation, domicil, home, and place of permanent abode in Florida for two years next preceding the election at which he shall offer to vote; and who shall have at such time, and for six months immediately preceding said time, shall have had his habitation, domicil, home, and place of permanent abode in the County in which he may offer to vote, and who shall be enrolled in the Militia thereof, (unless by law exempted from serving in the Militia,) shall be deemed a qualified elector at all elections under this Constitution, and none others; except in elections by general ticket in the State or District prescribed by law, in which cases the elector must have been a resident of the State two years next preceding the election, and six months within the election district in which he offers to vote: provided that no soldier, seaman, or marine in the regular Army or Navy of the United States, unless he be a qualified elector of the State previous to his enlistment as such soldier, seaman, or marine in the regular Army or Navy of the United States or of the Revenue Service, shall be considered a resident of the State, in consequence of being stationed within the same.

Section 2. The General Assembly shall, at its first session, provide, for the registration of all the qualified electors in each county; and thereafter from time to time, of all who may become such qualified electors.

Section 3. No President, Director, Cashier, or other officer of any Banking company in this state, shall be eligible to the office of Governor, Senator or Representative to the General Assembly of this State, so long as he shall be such President, Director, Cashier, or other officer, nor until the lapse of twelve months from the time at which he shall have ceased to be such President, Director, Cashier, or other officer.

Section 4. The General Assembly shall have power to exclude from every office of honor, trust or profit, within the State, and from the right of suffrage, all persons convicted of bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime.

Section 5. No person shall be capable of holding, or of being elected to any post of honor, profit, trust, or emolument, civil or military, legislative, executive, or judicial, under the government of this State, who shall hereafter fight a duel, or send, or accept a challenge to fight a duel, the probable issue of which may be the death of the challenger, or challenged, or who shall be a second to either party, or who shall in any manner aid, or assist in such duel, or shall be knowingly the bearer of such challenge, or acceptance, whether the same occur, or be committed in or out of the State.

Section 6. No person who may hereafter be a collector, or holder of public moneys, shall have a seat in either House of the General Assembly, or be eligible to any office of trust, or profit, under this State, until he shall have accounted for, and paid into the Treasury, all sums for which he may be accountable.