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


fifteen years from the ratification of this Constitution, but the Legislature shall have the power to continue it by law.

Section 10. Each officer of the Cabinet shall make a full report of his official acts, of the receipts and expenditures of his office, and of the requirements of the same, to the Governor at the beginning of each regular session of the Legislature, or whenever the Governor shall require it. Such reports shall be laid before the Legislature by the Governor at the beginning of each regular session thereof. Either House of the Legislature may at any time call upon any Cabinet Officer for any information required by it.


Taxation and Finance

Section 1. The Legislature shall provide for a uniform and equal rate of taxation, and shall prescribe such regulations as shall secure a just valuation of all property both real and personal, excepting such property as may be exempted by law for municipal, educational, literary, scientific, religious, or charitable purposes.

Section 2. The Legislature shall provide for raising revenue sufficient to defray the expenses of the State for each fiscal year, and also a sufficient sum to pay the principal and interest of the existing indebtedness of the State.

Section 3. No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of law.

Section 4. No monies shall be drawn from the Treasury except in pursuance of appropriation made by law.

Section 5. An accurate statement of the receipts and expenditures of the public monies shall be published with the laws of each regular session of the Legislature.

Section 6. The Legislature shall authorize the several counties and incorporated towns in the State to impose taxes for county and corporation purposes, and for no other purpose, and all property shall be taxed upon the principle established for State taxation. The Legislature may also provide for levying a special capitation tax and tax on licenses. But the capitation tax shall not exceed one dollar per annum for all purposes, either for State, county, or municipal taxes.

Section 7. The Legislature shall have power to provide for issuing State bonds bearing interest, for securing the debt [of this State,] and for the erection of State buildings, support of State institutions, and perfecting public works.

Section 8. No tax shall be levied upon persons for the benefit of any chartered company of the State, or for paying the interest on any bonds issued by said chartered companies, or by counties or by corporations, for the above-mentioned purposes.