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. All property, real and personal, of a wife owned by her before marriage, or lawfully acquired afterward by gift, devise, bequest, descent, or purchase, shall be her separate property, and the same shall not be liable for the debts of her husband without her consent given by some instrument in writing executed according to the law respecting conveyances by married women.

Section 2. A married woman's separate real or personal property may be charged in equity and sold, or the uses, rents and profits thereof sequestrated for the purchase money thereof; or for money or thing due upon any agreement made by her in writing for the benefit of her separate property; or for the price of any property purchased by her, or for labor and material used with her knowledge or assent in the construction of buildings, or repairs, or improvements upon her property, or for agricultural or other labor bestowed thereon, with her knowledge and consent.

Section 3. The Legislature shall enact such laws as shall be necessary to carry into effect this Article.