Congress passed a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts in 1867. These laws required the former Confederate states to dissolve existing state governments, register all eligible men (white or African-American) to vote, and then hold conventions to create new state constitutions. To be readmitted to the United States, each state’s constitution had to accept the end of slavery and adopt the 14th amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for all men, regardless of race. Florida’s voters selected delegates to a state constitutional convention in November 1867. The convention met on January 20, 1868, and the new constitution was ratified by the voters the following May.
We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings and form a more perfect government, insuring domestic tranquility, maintaining public order, perpetuating liberty and guaranteeing equal civil and political rights to all, do establish this Constitution.
The boundaries of the State of Florida shall be as follows: Commencing at the mouth of the river Perdido; from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects the south boundary line of the State of Alabama, and the thirty-first degree of north latitude; then due east to the Chattahoochee river; then down the middle of said river to its confluence with the Flint river; from thence straight to the head of the St. Marys river; then down the middle of said river to the Atlantic ocean; thence southeastwardly along the coast to the edge of the Gulf Stream; then southwestwardly along the edge of the Gulf Stream and Florida Reefs to and including the Tortugas Islands; thence northeastwardly to a point three leagues from the mainland; thence northwestwardly three leagues from the land, to a point west of the mouth of the Perdido river; thence to the place of beginning.
The seat of government shall be and remain permanent at the city of Tallahassee, in the county of Leon,