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.
To provide for the Repeal of Unequal Taxation.
WHEREAS, The General Assembly of the Provisional Government of Florida passed an Act entitles “An Act concerning Schools for Freedmen,” approved January 16th, 1866, whereby a tax of one dollar each is assessed and levied upon all male persons of color between the ages of twenty-one years and fifty-five, and the proceeds of which are denominated a common school fund for the education of freedmen; AND WHEREAS, The said tax so unequally, discriminatingly, and injuriously levied and collected, has failed to result in any benefit in the least to those for whose education it was claimed to have been enacted, and is imposed in violation of public and impartial justice, and that civil and political equality which is now the inalienable franchise and birthright of every citizen of the State, without regard to race, color, or previous condition; therefore, Be it Ordained by the People of Florida in Convention assembled, That so much of said Act as provides for the assessment and levy of one dollar each upon all male persons of color between the ages of twenty-one and fifty-five, be and the same is hereby repealed, and all further assessment and collection of said tax shall be and the same is hereby estopped and prohibited.
Passed in open Convention, February 22, A. D. 1868.
HORATIO JENKINS, JR., President.
SHERMAN CONANT, Secretary.