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.
Done in open Convention. In witness whereof, we, the undersigned, President of said Convention and delegates, present, representing the people of the State of Florida, do hereby sign our names, this, the twenty-fifth day of February, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, and of the independence of the United States of America the ninety-second year—and the Secretary of said Convention doth countersign the same.
HORATIO JENKINS, Jr., President.
Countersigned by Sherman Conant, Secretary.
Those signing the Constitution were:
Ossian B. Hart, L. C. Armistead, William Bradwell, E. Fortune, J. T. Walls, Homer Bryan, N. C. Dennett, John W. Powell, John Wyatt, A. G. Bass, Green Davidson, R. Meacham, Richard H. Wells, Jesse H. Goss, J. E. Oates, Abram Chandler, Major Johnson, W. Rogers, W. J. Purman, S.B. Conover, J. E. A. Davidson, Auburn Erwin, M. L. Stearns, C. R. Mobley, Fred Hill, Jonathan C. Gibbs, J. W. Childs, John W. Butler, Thos. Urquhart, George J. Alden, Andrew Shuler, Lyman Rowley, David W. Mizell, John. L. Campbell, Anthony Mills, Roland T. Rombauer, T. W. Osborn, W. R. Cone, O. B. Armstrong, B. M. McRae, John N. Krimminger, Samuel J. Pearce, Wm. K. Cessna, Elbridge L. Ware.