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

Transcript

Article

Census and Apportionment

Section 1. The Legislature shall, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, and every tenth year thereafter, cause an enumeration to be made of all the inhabitants of the State; and they shall then proceed to apportion the representation among the different counties, giving to each county one Representative at large, and one additional to every one thousand registered voters therein, but no county shall be entitled to more than four Representatives. The Legislature shall also, after every such enumeration, proceed to fix by law the number of Senators which shall constitute the Senate of Florida, and which shall never be less than one-fourth nor more than one-half of the whole number of the Assembly.

Section 2. When any Senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, the counties of which such district consists shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another district, and all counties shall remain as now organized, unless changed by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of the Legislature.

Article

Suffrage and Eligibility

Section 1. Every male person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, of whatever race, color, nationality, or previous condition, who shall, at the time of offering to vote, be a citizen of the United States, or who shall have declared his intention to become such in conformity to the laws of the United States, and who shall have resided and had his habitation, domicil, home, and place of permanent abode in Florida for one year, and in the county for six months, next pre-