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.
to authorized instructions from his superior officers during the period of time above designated.
Section 7. That in all cases where judgments have been obtained against citizens of the State after the tenth day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and previous to the twenty-fifth day of October, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and where actual service was not made on the person of any defendant, such defendant not served with process may appear in court within one year after the adoption of this Constitution, and make oath that injustice has been done, and that he or she has a good and valid defense, stating the defense, and upon making such oath and filing said defense the proceedings on the judgment shall cease until the defense is heard.