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


dollars. The pay of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be five hundred dollars per annum, and in addition thereto ten cents per mile for each mile travelled from their respective places of residence to the Capital, and the same to return. But such distances shall be estimated by the shortest general thoroughfare. All other officers of the State shall be paid by fees or per diem fixed by law.

Section 5. The Legislature shall appropriate two thousand dollars each year for the purchase of such books for the Supreme Court Library as the said Court shall direct.

Section 6. The salary of each officer shall be payable quarterly upon his own requisition.

Section 7. The tribe of Indians located in the southern portion of the State, and known as the Seminole Indians, shall be entitled to one member in each House of the Legislature. Such member shall have all the rights, privileges, and remuneration as other members of the Legislature. Such members shall be elected by the members of their tribe, in the manner prescribed for all elections by this Constitution. The tribe shall be represented only by a member of the same, and in no case by a white man; Provided, That the Representatives of the Seminole Indians shall not be a bar to the representation of any county by the citizens thereof.

Section 8. The Legislature may, at any time, impose such tax on the Indians as it may deem proper; and such imposition of tax shall constitute the Indians citizens, and they shall thenforward be entitled to all the privileges of other citizens, and thereafter be barred of special representation.

Section 9. In addition to other crimes and misdemeanors, for which an officer may be impeached and tried, shall be included drunkenness and other dissipations. Incompetency, malfeassance in office, gambling, or any conduct detrimental to good morals, shall be considered sufficient cause for impeachment and conviction. Any officer when impeached by the Assembly shall be deemed under arrest, and shall be disqualifed from performing any of the duties of his office until acquittal by the Senate. But any officer so impeached and in arrest may demand his trial by the Senate within one year from the date of his impeachment.

Section 10. The following shall be the oath of office for each officer in the State, including members of the Legislature: "I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and government of the United States, and of the State of Florida, against all enemies, domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, loyalty, and allegiance to the same, and that I am entitled to hold office under this constitution. That I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of __________, on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

Section 11. The Legislature may provide for the donation of the public lands to actual settlers. But such donation shall not exceed one hundred and sixty acres to any one person.

Section 12. All county officers shall hold their respective offices at the county seats of their counties.

Section 13. The Legislature shall provide for the speedy publication of all statutes and laws of a general nature. All decisions of the