Constitution of 1865

In October 1865, delegates convened to reestablish Florida as part of the United States by revoking the state’s Ordinance of Secession and passing a new state constitution. The state remained under martial law, however, and Congress refused to seat legislators from the former Confederate states until more stringent requirements were met. Florida ultimately scrapped the Constitution of 1865 in favor of a new version created in 1868.

Constitution of 1865


Section 1. That all freemen when they form a government, have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.

Section 2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and established for their benefit; and therefore they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter or abolish their form of government in such manner as they may deem expedient.

Section 3. That all men have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and that no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship in this State.

Section 4. That no property qualification for eligibility to office, or for the right of suffrage, shall ever be required in this State.

Section 5. That every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and no law shall be passed to curtail, abridge or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press.

Section 6. That the right of trial by jury shall forever remain inviolate.