Constitution of 1885

Delegates convened in June 1885 to revise Florida’s state constitution. The existing constitution had been in effect since 1868, when it was adopted as part of Florida’s reentry into the United States following the Civil War. The 1885 constitution legitimized poll taxes as a prerequisite for voting, which ultimately disproportionately disenfranchised African Americans and many poor whites.

Constitution of 1885




Section 1. A homestead to the extent of one hundred and sixty acres of land, or the half of one acre within the limits of any incorporated city or town, owned by the head of a family residing in this State, together with one thousand dollars worth of personal property, and the improvements on the real estate, shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and the real estate shall not be alienable without the joint consent of husband and wife, when that relation exists. But no property shall be exempt from sale for taxes or assessments, or for the payment of obligations contracted for the purchase of said property, or for the erection or repair of improvements on the real estate exempted, or for house, field or other labor performed on the same. The exemption herein provided for in a city or town shall not extend to more improvements or buildings than the residence and business house of the owner; and no judgment or decree or execution shall be a lien upon exempted property except as provided in this Article.

Section 2. The exemptions provided for in Section 1 shall inure to the widow and heirs of the party entitled to such exemption, and shall apply to all debts, except as specified in said section.

Section 3. The exemptions provided for in the Constitution of this State adopted in 1868 shall apply as to all debts contracted and judgments rendered since the adoption thereof and prior to the adoption of this Constitution.

Section 4. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to prevent the holder of a homestead from alienating his or her homestead so exempted by