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. Institutions for the benefit of the insane, blind and deaf, and such other benevolent institutions as the public good may require, shall be fostered and supported by the State, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law.

Section 2. A State Prison shall be established and maintained in such manner as may be prescribed by law. Provision may be made by law for the establishment and maintenance of a house of refuge for juvenile offenders; and the Legislature shall have power to establish a home and work-house for common vagrants.

Section 3. The respective counties of the State shall provide in the manner prescribed by law for those of the inhabitants that, by reason of age, infirmity or misfortune, may have claims upon the aid and sympathy of society.

Section 4. The first Legislature that convenes after the adoption of this Constitution shall enact the necessary laws to carry into effect the provisions of this Article.