Constitution of 1868

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.

Constitution of 1868



Executive Department

Section 1. The supreme executive power of the State shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled the Governor of Florida.

Section 2. The Governor shall be elected by the qualified electors at the time and places of voting for the members of the Legislature, and shall hold his office for four years from the time of his installation Provided that the term of the first Governor elected under this Constitution shall expire at the opening of the regular session of the Legislature of A. D. 1873, and until his successor shall be qualified. He shall take the oath of office prescribed for all State officers.

Section 3. No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who is not a qualified elector, and who has not been nine years a citizen of the United States, and three years a citizen of the State of Florida, next preceding the time of his election.

Section 4. The Governor shall be Commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States.

Section 5. He shall transact all executive business with the officers of the government, civil and military, and may require information in writing from the officers of the administrative department upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.

Section 6. He shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.

Section 7. When any office, from any cause, shall become vacant, and no mode is provided by this Constitution or by the laws of the State for filling such vacancy, the Governor shall have the power to fill such vacancy by granting a commission, which