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



Seat of Government.

The Seat of Government shall be and remain permanent at the City of Tallahassee, until otherwise provided for by the action of a Convention of the people of the State.


General Provisions.

Section 1. Whereas, slavery has been destroyed in this State by the Government of the United States; therefore, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall in future exist in this State, except as a punishment for crimes, whereof the party shall have been convicted by the courts of the State, and all the inhabitants of the State, without distinction of color, are free, and shall enjoy the rights of person and property without distinction of color.

Section 2. In all criminal proceedings founded upon injury to a colored person, and in all cases affecting the rights and remedies of colored persons, no person shall be incompetent to testify as a witness on account of color; in all other cases, the testimony of colored persons shall be excluded, unless made competent by future legislation. The jury shall judge