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


Section 19. The Governor shall appoint, by and with the consent of the Senate, in each county an assessor of taxes and a collector of revenue, whose duties shall be prescribed by law, and who shall hold their offices for two years, and be subject to removal upon the recommendation of the Governor and consent of the Senate. The Governor shall appoint in each county a county treasurer, county surveyor, superintendent of common schools, and five county commissioners, each of whom shall hold his office for two years, and the duties of each shall be prescribed by law. Such officers shall be subject to removal by the Governor when in his judgment the public welfare will be advanced thereby; Provided, No officer shall be removed except for wilful neglect of duty, or a violation of the criminal laws of the State, or for incompetency.

Section 20. The Governor and Cabinet shall constitute a Board of Commissioners of State Institutions, which board shall have supervision of all matters connected therewith, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.

Section 21. The Governor shall have power, in cases of insurrection or rebellion, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus within the State.


Judicial Department

Section 1. The judicial power of the State shall be vested in a Supreme Court, circuit courts, county courts, and justices of the peace.

Section 2. The style of all process shall be, "The State of Florida," and all prosecutions shall be conducted in the name and by the authority of the same.

Section 3. The Supreme Court shall consist of a chief justice and two associate justices, who shall hold their offices for life or during good behavior. They shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Section 4. The majority of the justices of the Supreme Court shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business. The Supreme Court shall hold three terms each year at the Supreme Court room at the seat of government.