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


Supreme Court, and all laws and judicial decisions shall be free for publication by any person. But no judgment of the Supreme Court shall take effect and be operative until the opinion of the court in such case shall be filed with the clerk of said court.

Section 14. The Legislature shall not create any office, the term of which shall be longer than four years.

Section 15. The Governor, Cabinet, and Supreme Court shall keep their offices at the seat of government. But in case of invasion or violent epidemics, the Governor may direct that the offices of the government shall be removed temporarily to some other place. The session of the Legislature may be adjourned for the same cause to some other place; but in such case of removal all the departments of the government shall be removed to one place. But such removal shall not continue longer than the necessity for the same shall continue.

Section 16. A plurality of votes given at any election by the people shall constitute a choice when not otherwise provided by this Constitution.

Section 17. The term of the State officers elected at the first election under this Constitution, not otherwise provided for, shall continue until the first Tuesday of January, A. D. 1873, and until the installation of their successors, excepting the members of the Legislature.

Section 18. Each county and incorporated city shall make provision for the support of its own officers, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law. Each county shall make provision for building a court house and jail, and for keeping the same in good repair.

Section 19. If, at the meeting of the senate at any session, the Lieutenant Governor has not been qualified or is not present, the Senate shall elect one of its members as temporary President before proceeding to other business.

Section 20. The Legislature shall, at the first session, adopt a seal for the State, and such seal shall be of the size of the American silver dollar. But said seal shall not again be changed after its adoption by the Legislature; and the Governor shall, by his proclamation, announce that said seal has become the Great Seal of the State.

Section 21. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and all the State officers elected by the people, shall be installed on the first day of the meeting of the Legislature, and immediately assume the duties of their respective offices.

Section 22. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor, shall have been, before their election to office, nine years citizens of the United States, and three years citizens of the State. All other officers shall have been one year citizens of the State, and six months citizens of the county from which they are elected or appointed. No person shall be eligible to any office unless he be a registered voter.

Section 23. The Governor, or any State officer, is hereby prohibited from giving certificates of election or other credentials to any person as having been elected to the House of Representatives of the United States Congress, or the United States Senate who has not been two years a citizen of the State, and nine years a citizen of the United States, and a registered voter.

Section 24. The property of all corporations, whether heretofore or hereafter incorporated, shall be subject to taxation, unless such corporation be for religious, educational, or charitable purposes.