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.
Be it ordained by the People of Florida, in Convention assembled, That the Ordinance adopted by the Convention of the people assembled on the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, and known as the Ordinance of Secession, is hereby declared null and void from the beginning, and of no effect.
Passed in open Convention, February 21, A. D. 1868.
HORATIO JENKINS, JR., President.
SHERMAN CONANT, Secretary.