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


and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit under this State; but the parties shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, and punishment according to law.





Section 1. All Militia officers shall be elected by the persons subject to military duty, within the bounds of their several companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, under such rules and regulations as the General Assembly may, from time to time, direct and establish.

Section 2. The Governor shall appoint all the officers of the executive staff, except the Adjutant General, and Paymaster General, who shall be appointed by the Governor, by, and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The majors general and brigadiers general, and commanding officers of regiments, shall appoint such staff officers as may be prescribed by law; provided, no person shall be eligible to any staff appointment, unless he hold a commission in the line.



Taxation and Revenue.


Section 1. The General Assembly shall devise and adopt a system of Revenue having regard to an equal and uniform mode of taxation, to be general throughout the State.

Section 2. No other or greater amount of Tax, or Revenue, shall at any time be levied, than may be required for the necessary expenses of Government.

Section 3. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of an appropriation by law and a regular statement of the receipts, and the expenditures of all public moneys shall be published and promulgated annually with the laws of the General Assembly.

Section 4. The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the several counties, and incorporated towns in this State, to impose taxes for county and corporation purposes, respectively, and all property shall be taxed upon the principles established in regard to State taxation.



Census and Apportionment of Representation.


Section 1. The General Assembly shall, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-five, and every tenth year thereafter, cause an enumeration to be made of all the inhabitants of the state, and to the whole number of free white inhabitants shall be added three-fifths of the number of slaves, and they shall then proceed to apportion the representation, equally among the different counties, according to such enumeration, giving however one representative to every county, and increasing the number of Representatives on a uniform ratio of population, according to the foregoing basis, and which ratio shall not be changed until a new census shall have been taken.

Section 2. The General Assembly shall also, after every such enumeration, proceed to fix by law the number of Senators which shall constitute the Senate of the State of Florida, and which shall never be less than one-fourth nor more than one-half of the whole number of the House of Representatives; and they shall lay off the State into the same number of Senatorial Districts, as nearly equal in the number of inhabitants as may be, according to the ratio of representation established in the preceding section, each of which Districts shall be entitled to one Senator.

Section 3. When any Senatorial District shall be composed of two or more counties, the counties, of which such district consists, shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another district, and no county shall be divided