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.
Section 1. Any person debarred from holding office in the State of Florida by the third section [Section 3] of the fourteenth Article [Article XIV] of the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which is as follows: "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds [of each House,] remove such disability," is hereby debarred from holding office in this State; Provided, That whenever such disability from holding office shall be removed from any person by the Congress of the United States, the removal of such disability shall also apply to this State, and such person shall be restored in all respects to the rights of citizenship as herein provided for electors.
Section 2. Any person elected to the Senate of the United States by the Legislature of this State, or any person elected by the people, or appointed to office by the Governor of the State, or by any officer of the State, under the provisions of the Constitution adopted by the Convention of the people convened on the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865, shall not be empowered to hold such office after the same position or office shall have been filled by election or appointment under the provisions of this Constitution; Provided, That all officers holding office under the provisions of the Constitution adopted the 25th day of October, A. D. 1865, and not provided for in this Constitution, shall continue to hold their respective offices, and discharge the duties thereof, until the Governor shall, by his proclamation, declare such offices vacant.
Section 3. The several Judicial Circuits of the Circuit Courts shall be as follows: The First Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, and Jackson; the Second Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Gadsden, Liberty, Calhoun, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, and Jefferson; the Third Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Madison, Taylor, Lafayette, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Columbia; the Fourth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Nassau, Duval, Baker, Bradford, Clay, and St. Johns; the Fifth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Putnam, Alachua, Levy, Marion, and Sumter; the Sixth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, and Monroe; the Seventh Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Volusia, Brevard, Orange, and Dade.
Section 4. The salary of the Governor of the State shall be five thousand dollars per annum; that of the Chief Justice shall be four thousand five hundred dollars; that of each Associate Justice shall be four thousand dollars; that of each Judge of the Circuit Court shall be three thousand five hundred dollars; that of the Lieutenant Governor shall be two thousand five hundred dollars; that of each Cabinet Officer shall be three thousand