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.
penalties, forfeitures, obligations, and escheats heretofore accruing to the State of Florida shall continue to accrue to the use of the State. All recognizances heretofore taken shall remain valid, and all bonds executed to the Governor of the State of Florida, either before or since the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, or to any other officer of the State in his official capacity, shall be of full force and virtue, for the uses therein respectively expressed, and may be sued for and recovered accordingly, unless they were contrary to the laws of the United States or to this Constitution, or to any ordinance or resolution adopted by this Convention; also all criminal prosecutions which have arisen may be prosecuted to judgment and execution in the name of the State. All actions at law or suits in chancery, or any proceedings pending in the courts of this State, either prior to or subsequent to the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, shall continue in all respects valid, and may be prosecuted to judgment and decree. All judgments and decrees rendered in civil causes in any of the courts of the State during the period of time above specified, are hereby declared of full force, validity, and effect; Provided, That unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, the statute of limitation shall not be pleaded upon any claim in the hands of any person for the period of time between the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, and the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865, whether proceedings at law had been commenced before the 25th day of October, 1865, or not; Provided, further,That all claims of widows, minors, and decedents which were not barred by the statutes of this State on the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, shall be considered good and valid for the period of two years from the ratification of this Constitution.
Section 4. That State treasury notes, all bonds issued, and all other liabilities contracted by the State of Florida or any county or city thereof, on and after the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, and before the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865, except such liabilities as may be due to the seminary or school fund, be and are declared null and void, and the Legislature shall have no power to provide for the payment of the same or any part thereof; but this shall not be construed so as to invalidate any authorized liabilities of the State contracted prior to the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, or subsequent to the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865.
Section 5. No money shall ever be appropriated by this state to reimburse purchasers of United States land who purchased the same of the State of Florida.
Section 6. All proceedings, decisions, or actions accomplished by civil or military officers acting under authority of the United States subsequent to the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, and prior to the final restoration of the State to the government of the United States, are hereby declared valid, and shall not be subject to adjudication in the courts of this State, nor shall any person acting in the capacity of a soldier or officer of the United States, civil or military, be subject to arrest for any act performed by him pursuant to authorized