Constitution of 1865:
CONSTITUTION OR FORM OF GOVERNMENT
PEOPLE OF FLORIDA
We, the People of the State of Florida, by our delegates in Convention assembled, in the city
of Tallahassee, on the 25th day of October, in the year of our Lord 1865, and of the Independence
of the United States the 90th year, in order to secure to ourselves and our posterity the enjoyment
of all the rights of life, liberty and property, and the pursuit of happiness, do mutually agree, each with
the other, to form the following Constitution and form of Government in and for the said State.
Declaration of Rights.
That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and
established, we declare:
Section 1. That all freemen when they form a government, have certain inherent and indefeasible
rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; of acquiring, possessing and
protecting property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
Section 2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded
on their authority, and established for their benefit; and therefore they have at all times an inalienable
and indefeasible right to alter or abolish their form of government in such manner as they may deem
Section 3. That all men have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according
to the dictates of their own conscience, and that no preference shall ever be given by law to any
religious establishment or mode of worship in this State.
Section 4. That no property qualification for eligibility to office, or for the right of suffrage, shall
ever be required in this State.
Section 5. That every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects,
being responsible for the abuse of that liberty; and no law shall be passed to curtail, abridge or restrain
the liberty of speech or of the press.
Section 6. That the right of trial by jury shall forever remain inviolate.
Section 7. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from
unreasonable seizures and searches; and that no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person
or thing, shall issue without describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized,
as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
Section 8. That no freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or
privileges, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or
property, but by the law of the land.
Section 9. That courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his lands, goods,
person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law; and right and justice administered
without sale, denial or delay.
Section 10. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard by himself or
counsel, or both; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the
witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in all
prosecutions by indictment or presentment, a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county
or district where the offense was committed; and shall not be compelled to give evidence against
Section 11. That all persons shall be bailable by sufficient securities, unless in capital offenses,
where the proof is evident, or the presumption is strong; and the habeas corpus act shall not be
suspended unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
Section 12. That excessive bail shall in no case be required; nor shall excessive fines be imposed;
nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted.
Section 13. That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.
Section 14. That private property shall not be taken or applied to public use, unless just
compensation be first made therefor.
Section 15. That in all prosecutions and indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence;
and if it shall appear to the jury that the libel is true, and published with good motives, and for
justifiable ends, the truth shall be a justification; and the jury shall be the judges of the law and facts.
Section 16. That no person shall be put to answer any criminal charge, but by presentment,
indictment or impeachment, except in such cases as the Legislature shall otherwise provide: but the
Legislature shall pass no law whereby any person shall be required to answer any criminal charge
involving the life of the accused, except upon indictment or presentment by a Grand Jury.
Section 17. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
Section 18. That retrospective laws punishing acts committed before the existence of such laws,
and by them only declared penal or criminal, are oppressive, unjust and incompatible with liberty;
wherefore no ex post facto law shall ever be made.
Section 19. That no law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.
Section 20. That the people shall have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together to
consult for the common good; and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for
redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.
Section 21. That no soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any house without the consent
of the owner; nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.
Section 22. That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the Legislature; and the
military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Section 23. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free people, and
ought not to be allowed.
Section 24. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors, shall be granted or conferred
in this State.
Section 25. That a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to
preserve the blessings of liberty.
Section 26. That, to guard against transgressions upon the rights of the people, we declare that
everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever
remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.
Distribution of the Powers of Government.
Section 1. The powers of the government of the State of Florida shall be divided into three
distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate body of Magistracy, to-wit: those which
are Legislative to one, those which are Executive to another, and those which are Judicial to another.
Section 2. No person or collection of persons, being one of these departments, shall exercise any
power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instance expressly provided in this
Section 1. The Supreme Executive power shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be
styled the Governor of the State of Florida.
Section 2. The Governor shall be elected for four years, by the qualified electors, at the time and
place they shall vote for representatives, and shall remain in office until a successor shall be chosen
Section 3. No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor unless he shall have attained the
age of thirty years, shall have been a citizen of the United States ten years, and shall have been a
resident of Florida at least five years next preceding his election.
Section 4. There shall be elected at the same time, for the same term and with like qualifications
as the Governor, a Lieutenant Governor, who shall be ex-officio President of the Senate, but shall
have no vote except in cases of a tie, and during the session of the General Assembly, he shall receive
such compensation as shall be allowed to a Senator.
Section 5. The returns of every election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be sealed
up and transmitted to the seat of government, directed to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, who shall, during the first week of the session next after their election, open and
publish them in the presence of both Houses of the General Assembly; and the persons having the
highest number of votes for the respective offices, shall be Governor and Lieutenant Governor; but
if two or more shall be equal and highest in votes for the office of Governor, one of them shall be
chosen Governor by the joint vote of the two Houses and in like manner, if two or more shall be equal
and highest in votes for the office of Lieutenant Governor, one of them shall be chosen Lieutenant
Governor, by the joint vote of the two Houses. And contested elections for Governor and Lieutenant
Governor shall be determined by both Houses of the General Assembly, in such manner as shall be
prescribed by law.
Section 6. The Governor shall at stated times receive a compensation for his services, which shall
not be increased or diminished during the term for which he shall have been elected; but such
compensation shall never be less than three thousand dollars per annum.
Section 7. He shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of this State, and of the
Section 8. He may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Department,
on any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.
Section 9. He may by proclamation, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly
at the Seat of Government, or at a different place, if that shall have become dangerous from an enemy
or from disease; and in case of disagreement between the two Houses, with respect to the time of
adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he may think proper, not beyond the day of the
next meeting designated by the Constitution.
Section 10. He shall, from time to time, give to the General Assembly information of the state of
the Government, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient.
Section 11. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Section 12. In all criminal and penal cases, (except of impeachment) after conviction, he shall have
power to grant reprieves and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and
regulations as shall be prescribed by law.
Section 13. The State Seal last heretofore used, (until altered by the General Assembly,) shall
continue to be the Great Seal of the State, and shall be kept by the Governor for the time being, and
used by him officially.
Section 14. All commissions shall be in the name and by the authority of the State of Florida, be
sealed with the State Seal, and signed by the Governor and attested by the Secretary of State.
Section 15. There shall be a Secretary of State elected by the qualified electors of the State at the
same time, and who shall continue in office for the same term of years as the Governor of the State;
and he shall keep a fair register of the official acts and proceedings of the Governor, and shall when
required lay the same, and all papers, minutes and vouchers relative thereto, before the General
Assembly, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by law.
Section 16. Vacancies that happen in offices, the appointment to which is vested in the General
Assembly, or given to the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall be filled by the
Governor during the recess of the General Assembly, by granting commissions which shall expire at
the end of the next session.
Section 17. Every bill which shall have passed both Houses of the General Assembly, shall be
presented to the Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his
objections to the House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon
the journals, and proceed to reconsider it; and if, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the whole
number voting shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other House, by
which it shall be reconsidered; and if approved by two-thirds of the whole number voting, it shall
become a law: but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be by yeas and nays, and the names
of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each House
respectively; and if any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within five days (Sundays excepted,)
after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it,
unless the General Assembly by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be law.
Section 18. Every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of both Houses may be
necessary, (except on questions of adjournment,) shall be presented to the Governor, and before it
shall take effect, be approved by him, or being disapproved, be re-passed by both Houses, according
to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.
Section 19. In case of the impeachment of the Governor, his removal from office, death, refusal
to qualify, resignation, or absence from the State, the Lieutenant Governor shall exercise all the
power and authority appertaining to the office of Governor until the Governor absent, or impeached,
shall return, or be acquitted, or until the Governor next regularly elected shall be duly qualified, as
the case may be; and for the time the Lieutenant Governor shall occupy the office of Governor, he
shall receive the same compensation as shall be allowed by law to the regularly elected Governor.
Section 20. In case of the impeachment of both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, their
removal from office, death, refusal to qualify, resignation, or absence from the State, the Speaker of
the House of Representatives shall in like manner administer the Government, unless the General
Assembly shall otherwise provide; and for the time he shall occupy the office of Governor, he shall
receive the same compensation as shall be allowed by law to the Governor.
Section 21. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for the purchase or erection
of a suitable building for the residence of the Governor, and the Governor shall reside at the seat of
government; but whenever, by reason of danger from an enemy, or from disease, the Governor may
deem the capital unsafe, he may, by proclamation, fix the seat of government at some secure place
within the State, until such danger shall cease.
Section 22. No person shall hold the office of Governor and any other office or commission, civil
or military, either in this State, or under any State, or the United States, or any other power, at one
and the same time, except the Lieutenant Governor or the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
when he shall hold the office as aforesaid.
Section 23. A State Treasurer and Comptroller of Public Accounts shall be elected by the qualified
electors of the State at the same time, and who shall continue in office for the same term of years as
the Governor of the State, and until their successors shall have been duly commissioned and qualified.
Section 1. The Legislative power of this State shall be vested in two distinct branches, the one
to be styled the Senate, the other the House of Representatives, and both together "The General
Assembly of the State of Florida," and the style of the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the State of Florida in General Assembly convened."
Section 2. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by the qualified voters,
and shall serve for the term of two years from the day of the general election, and no longer: and the
sessions of the General Assembly shall be annual, and commence on the second Wednesday in
November in each year.
Section 3. The Representatives shall be chosen every two years on the first Monday in the month
of October, until otherwise directed by law.
Section 4. No person shall be a Representative unless he be a white man, a citizen of the United
States, and shall have been an inhabitant of the State two years next preceding his election, and the
last year thereof a resident of the County for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age
of twenty-one years.
Section 5. The Senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors for the term of two years, at the
same time, in the same manner, and at the same places where they vote for members of the House
of Representatives; and no man shall be a Senator unless he be a white man, a citizen of the United
States, and shall have been an inhabitant of this State two years next preceding his election, and the
last year thereof a resident of the District or County for which he shall be chosen, and shall have
attained the age of twenty-five years.
Section 6. The House of Representatives, when assembled, shall choose a Speaker and its other
officers, and the Senate, its other officers, and in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, a President
pro tempore, and each House shall be judge of the qualifications, elections, and returns of its
members; but a contested election shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law.
Section 7. A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller
number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such
manner and under such penalties as each House may prescribe.
Section 8. Each House may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish its members for
disorderly behavior, and with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for
the same cause.
Section 9. Each House, during the session, may punish, by imprisonment, any person not a
member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior in its presence, or for obstructing any of its
proceedings, provided, such imprisonment shall not extend beyond the end of the session.
Section 10. Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and cause the same to be
published immediately after its adjournment; and the yeas and nays of the members of each House
shall be taken and entered upon the Journals upon the final passage of every bill, and may, by any two
members, be required upon any other question; and any member of either House shall have liberty to
dissent from, or protest against, any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public, or
an individual, and have the reasons of his dissent entered on the journal.
Section 11. Senators and Representatives shall in all cases, except of treason, felony, or breach
of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the General Assembly, and in going to,
or returning from the same, allowing one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from
the place at which the General Assembly is convened, and for any speech or debate in either House
they shall not be questioned in any other place.
Section 12. The General Assembly shall make provision by law, for filling vacancies that may
occur in either House by the death, resignation, (or otherwise) of any of its members.
Section 13. The doors of each House shall be open when in legislative session, except on such
occasions as, in the opinion of the House, the public safety may imperiously require secrecy.
Section 14. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three
days, nor to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.
Section 15. Bills may originate in either House of the General Assembly; and all bills passed by
one House may be discussed, amended or rejected by the other; but no bill shall have the force of law,
until on three several days it be read in each House and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless in
cases of urgency, four-fifths of the House in which the same shall be depending, may deem it
expedient to dispense with the rule; and every bill having passed both Houses, shall be signed by the
Speaker and President of their respective Houses.
Section 16. Each member of the General Assembly shall receive from the public Treasury such
compensation for his services as may be fixed by law; but no increase of compensation shall take
effect during the term for which the Representatives were elected, when such law passed.
Section 17. The sessions of the General Assembly shall not extend in duration over thirty days,
unless it be deemed expedient by a concurrent majority of two-thirds of the members of each House;
and no member shall receive pay from the State for his services after the expiration of sixty days
continuously from the commencement of the session.
Section 18. The General Assembly shall by law authorize the Circuit Court to grant licenses for
building Toll-Bridges, and to establish Ferries, and to regulate the tolls of both; to construct dams
across streams not navigable; to ascertain and declare what streams are navigable; but no special law
for such purpose shall be made.
Section 19. The General Assembly shall pass a general law prescribing the manner in which names
of persons may be changed, but no special law for such purpose shall be passed; and no law shall be
made allowing minors to contract, or manage their estates.
Section 20. The General Assembly shall pass a general law for the incorporation of Towns,
Religious, Literary, Scientific, Benevolent, Military and other Associations, not Commercial,
Industrial or Financial; but no special act incorporating any such association shall be passed.
Section 21. No act incorporating any Railroad, Banking, Insurance, Commercial or Financial
corporation shall be introduced into the General Assembly, unless the person or persons applying for
such corporation shall have deposited with the Treasurer the sum of one hundred dollars as a bonus
to the State.
Section 22. Officers shall be removed from office for incapacity, misconduct or neglect of duty,
in such manner as may be provided by law, when no mode of trial or removal is provided in this
Section 1. The Judicial power of this State, both as to matters of law and equity, shall be vested
in a Supreme Court, Courts of Chancery, Circuit Courts, and Justices of the Peace, provided the
General Assembly may also vest such civil or criminal jurisdiction as may be necessary in Corporation
Courts, and such other courts as the General Assembly may establish; but such jurisdiction shall not
extend to capital cases.
Section 2. The Supreme Court, except in cases otherwise directed in this Constitution, shall have
appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive with the State, under such restrictions and
regulations, not repugnant to this Constitution, as may from time to time be prescribed by law,
provided that the said court shall always have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, quo
warranto, habeas corpus, and such other original and remedial writs as may be necessary to give it
a general superintendence and control of all other courts.
Section 3. The Supreme Court shall be holden at such times and places as may be prescribed by
law; and two Judges of the Circuit Court may be added to the Supreme Court, when in session, at
the discretion of the Legislature; and the court so composed shall constitute the Supreme Court of
the State, when the Legislature shall so direct.
Section 4. The State shall be divided into convenient Circuits; and for each Circuit there shall be
a Judge, who shall, after his election or appointment, reside in the Circuit for which he has been
elected or appointed; and shall, as well as Justices of the Supreme Court, receive for his services a
salary of not less than twenty-five hundred dollars per annum, which shall not be diminished during
his continuance in office; but the Judges shall receive no fees, perquisites of office, nor hold any other
office of profit under the State, the United States, or any other power.
Section 5. The Circuit Courts shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, not
otherwise excepted in this Constitution.
Section 6. A Circuit Court shall be held in such counties and at such times and places therein, as
may be prescribed by law; and the Judges of the several Circuit Courts may hold courts for each
other, either for the entire Circuit or for a portion thereof, and they shall do so when required, by
order of the Governor or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; and they may exercise jurisdiction in
cases of writs of habeas corpus in any Judicial Circuit in which the Judge may happen to be at the
time the case arises.
Section 7. The General Assembly shall have power to establish and organize a separate court or
courts of original equity jurisdiction; but until such court or courts shall be established and organized,
the Circuit Courts shall exercise such jurisdiction.
Section 8. There shall be elected in each county of this State, by the qualified voters, an officer
to be styled the Judge of Probate, to take probate of wills, to grant letters testamentary, of
administration and guardianship, to attend to the settlement of the estates of decedents and minors,
and to discharge the duties usually appertaining to Courts of Ordinary, and such other duties as may
be required by law; subject to the direction and supervision of the Circuit Courts, as may be provided
Section 9. A competent number of Justices of the Peace shall be from time to time elected in and
for each county, in such mode and for such term of office as the General Assembly may direct, and
shall possess such jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law; and in cases tried before a Justice of the
Peace, the right of appeal shall be secured under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by
Section 10. There shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, a Chief Justice and two associate Justices of the Supreme Court of this State, who shall reside
in this State, and hold their office for the term of six years from their appointment and confirmation,
unless sooner removed under the provisions of this Constitution, for the removal of Judges by address
or impeachment: and for wilful neglect of duty or other reasonable cause, which shall not be sufficient
ground for impeachment, the Governor shall remove any of them on the address of two-thirds of the
General Assembly: Provided, however, That the cause or causes shall be notified to the Judge so
intended to be removed, and he shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defense, before any vote for
such removal shall pass, and in such case, the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays, and entered on
the journal of each House respectively, and in case of the appointment to fill a vacancy in said offices,
the person so appointed shall only hold the office for the unexpired term of his predecessor.
Section 11. There shall be elected, at the time and places prescribed by law, by the qualified
electors of each of the respective Judicial Circuits of this State, one Judge of the Circuit Court, who
shall reside in the Circuit for which he may be elected, and the said Circuit Judges shall continue in
office for the term of six years from the date of their respective elections, unless sooner removed,
under the provisions in this Constitution for the removal of Judges by address or impeachment; and
for wilful neglect of duty, or other reasonable cause, which shall not be sufficient for impeachment,
the Governor shall remove any of them, on the address of two-thirds of the General Assembly:
Provided, however, That the cause or causes shall be stated at length in such address and entered on
the journals of each House: And provided, further, That the cause or causes shall be notified to such
Judge so intended to be removed, and he shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defense before any
vote or votes for such removal shall pass; and in such cases the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays
and entered on the journals of each House respectively.
Section 12. The appointment of Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court shall
be made every sixth year after their first appointment, and the election of Judges of the Circuit Court,
and Judges or Chancellors of the Chancery Court, when established, shall be held in every sixth year
after their first elections, at the same time and places as the elections for members of the General
Section 13. That whenever the General Assembly shall create a Chancery Court, under the
provisions of this Constitution, the Judges thereof shall be elected in the manner provided in the last
two sections of this article, and shall hold their offices and be subject to all the provisions of said
sections: Provided, however, That the said Judges shall be elected by general ticket or by districts,
as the General Assembly may direct.
Section 14. That should a vacancy occur either in the Chancery or Circuit Courts, by death,
removal, resignation or otherwise, it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue a writ of election to
fill such vacancy, and he shall give at least sixty days notice thereof by proclamation: and the Judge
so elected to fill said vacancy shall continue in office from the time he qualifies under his commission,
until the expiration of the term of his predecessor: Provided, however, That should it become
necessary to fill any such vacancy before an election can be held under the provisions of this
Constitution, the Governor shall have power to fill such vacancy by appointment, and the person so
appointed shall hold his office from the date of his commission until his successor shall be duly elected
Section 15. The Clerks of the Circuit Courts of the several Circuits of this State, shall be elected
by the qualified voters in their several counties at such times and places as are now or may be
provided by law: Provided, however, That the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the
Chancellors of the Court of Chancery, when such courts shall be established, shall have the power
to appoint the Clerks of their respective courts.
Section 16. The Justices of the Supreme Court, Chancellors and Judges of the Circuit Courts,
shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace throughout the State.
Section 17. The style of all process shall be "The State of Florida," and all criminal prosecutions
shall be carried on in the name of the State, and all indictments shall conclude, "against the peace and
dignity of the same."
Section 18. There shall be an Attorney General for the State, who shall reside at the seat of
government, and he shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law; he shall be elected by the
qualified voters of the State, at the same time and in the same manner that the Comptroller, Secretary
of State and Treasurer are elected, and his term of office shall be the same; but he may be removed
by the Governor, on the address of a majority of the two Houses of the General Assembly, and shall
receive for his services a compensation to be fixed by law.
Section 19. There shall be one Solicitor for each Circuit, who shall reside therein, to be elected
by the qualified electors of the Circuit, who shall hold his office for the term of four years, and shall
receive for his services a compensation to be fixed by law.
Section 20. No Justice of the Supreme Court shall sit as a Judge, or take part in the Appellate Court on the trial or hearing of any case which shall have been decided by him in the Court below.
Section 21. The General Assembly shall have power to establish in each county a Board of
Commissioners, for the regulation of the county business therein.
Section 22. No duty not judicial shall be imposed by law upon the Justices of the Supreme Court,
Chancellors or the Judges of the Circuit Courts of this State, except in cases otherwise provided for
in this Constitution.
The Right of Suffrage and Qualifications of Officers, Civil Officers, and Impeachments, and
Removals from Office.
Section 1. Every free white male person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, and who
shall be, at the time of offering to vote, a citizen of the United States, and who shall have resided and
had his habitation, domicil, home, and place of permanent abode in Florida, for one year next
preceding the election at which he shall offer to vote, and who shall, at such time, and for six months
immediately preceding said time, have had his habitation, domicil, and place of permanent abode in
the county in which he may offer to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector at all elections under the
Constitution, and none others; except in elections by general ticket in the State or District prescribed
by law, in which cases the elector must have been a resident of the State one year next preceding the
election, and six months within the elective district in which he offers to vote: Provided, That no
officer, soldier, seaman or marine, in the regular army or navy of the United States, or any other
person in the employ or pay of the United States, unless he be a qualified elector of the State previous
to his appointment or enlistment as such officer, soldier, seaman or marine, in the regular army or
navy of the United States, or of the revenue service, shall be considered a resident of the State in
consequence of being stationed within the same.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall have power to exclude from every office of honor, trust,
or profit within the State, and from the right of suffrage, all persons convicted of bribery, perjury or
other infamous crime.
Section 3. No person shall be capable of holding or being elected to any post of honor, profit,
trust or emolument, civil or military, legislative, executive or judicial, under the government of this
State, who shall hereafter fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge to fight a duel, the probable issue
of which may be the death of the challenger or challenged, or who shall be a second to either party,
or who shall, in any manner, aid or assist in such duel, or shall be knowingly the bearer of such
challenge or acceptance, whether the same occur or be committed in or out of the State; but the legal
disability shall not accrue until after trial and conviction, according to due form of law.
Section 4. No person who may hereafter be a collector or holder of public monies shall have a
seat in either House of the General Assembly, or be eligible to any office of trust or profit under this
State, until he shall have accounted for and paid into the Treasury all sums for which he may be
Section 5. No Governor, member of Congress, or of the General Assembly of this State, shall
receive a fee, be engaged as counsel, agent or attorney, in any civil case or claim against this State,
or to which this State shall be a party, during the time he shall remain in office.
Section 6. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he shall have been
elected, be appointed to any civil office of profit under this State, which shall have been created, or
the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during such term, except such offices as may be
filled by elections by the people.
Section 7. Members of the General Assembly, and all officers, civil or military, before they enter
upon the execution of their respective offices, shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I do swear
(or affirm) that I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the office
to which I have been elected (or appointed,) and will, to the best of my abilities, discharge the duties
thereof, and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States of
Section 8. Every person shall be disqualified from serving as Governor, Senator, Representative,
or from holding any other office of honor or profit in this State, for the term for which he shall have
been elected, who shall have been convicted of having given or offered any bribe to procure his
Section 9. Laws shall be made by the General Assembly to exclude from office, and from
suffrage, those who shall have been, or may hereafter be convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or
other high crime or misdemeanor; and the privilege of suffrage shall be supported by laws regulating
elections and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon, from power, bribery,
tumult, or other improper practices.
Section 10. All civil officers of the State at large shall reside within the State, and all district or
county officers within their respective districts or counties, and shall keep their respective offices at
such places therein as may be required by law.
Section 11. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to regulate by law in what cases and what
deduction from the salaries of public officers shall be made, for any neglect of duty in their official
Section 12. Returns of elections for members of Congress and the General Assembly shall be made
to the Secretary of State, in manner to be prescribed by law.
Section 13. In all elections by the General Assembly the vote shall be viva voce, and in all elections
by the people the vote shall be by ballot.
Section 14. No member of Congress or person holding or exercising any office of profit under the
United States, or under any foreign power, shall be eligible as a member of the General Assembly of
this State, or hold or exercise any office of profit under the State; and no person in this State shall
ever hold two offices of profit at the same time, except the office of Justice of the Peace, Notary
Public, Constable, and Militia offices, except by special act of the Legislature; but the Legislature shall
never unite in the same person two offices, the duties of which are incompatible.
Section 15. The General Assembly shall, by law, provide for the appointment or election, and
removal from office, of all officers, civil and military, in this state, not provided for in this
Section 16. The power of impeachment shall be vested in the House of Representatives.
Section 17. All impeachments shall be tried by the Senate; when sitting for that purpose the
Senators shall be upon oath or affirmation; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence
of two-thirds of the members present.
Section 18. The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor
in office, but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office and
disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under this State; but the parties
nevertheless shall be liable to indictment, trial and punishment according to law.
Section 1. All Militia officers shall be elected or appointed, under such rules and regulations as
the General Assembly may from time to time direct and establish.
Section 2. All offenses against the Militia laws shall be tried by Court Martial, or before a court
and jury, as the General Assembly may direct.
Section 3. No commission shall be vacated except by sentence of a Court Martial.
Taxation and Revenue.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall devise and adopt a system of revenue, having regard to
an equal and uniform mode of taxation, throughout the State.
Section 2. No other or greater amount of tax or revenue shall at any time be levied, than may be
required for the necessary expenses of the Government.
Section 3. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of an appropriation
by law, and a regular statement of the receipts and expenditures of all public monies shall be published
and promulgated annually with the laws of the General Assembly.
Section 4. The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the several counties and
incorporated towns in this state to impose taxes for county and corporation purposes, respectively,
and all property shall be taxed upon the principles established in regard to State taxation.
Section 5. The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the levying of a capitation tax.
Census and Apportionment of Representation.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven,
and in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, and every tenth year thereafter, cause
an enumeration to be made of all the inhabitants of the State; and to the whole number of white
inhabitants shall be added three-fifths of the number of colored people; and they shall then proceed
to apportion the representation equally among the different counties, according to such enumeration,
giving, however, one representative to every county, and increasing the number of representatives
on a uniform ratio of population, according to the foregoing basis, and which ratio shall not be
changed until a new census shall have been taken.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall also, after every such enumeration, proceed to fix by law
the number of Senators which shall constitute the Senate of the State of Florida, and which shall
never be less than one-fourth nor more than one-half of the whole number of the House of
Representatives; and they shall lay off the State into the same number of Senatorial Districts, as nearly
equal in the number of inhabitants as may be, according to the ratio of representation established in
the preceding section, each of which districts shall be entitled to one Senator.
Section 3. When any Senatorial District shall be composed of two or more counties, the counties
of which such district consists shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another
district, and no county shall be divided in forming a district.
Section 4. No county now organized shall be divided into new counties, so as to reduce the
inhabitants of either below the ratio of representation.
Section 5. The several counties of this State shall be entitled to the following Representatives,
viz: Escambia three, Santa Rosa two, Walton two, Holmes one, Washington one, Calhoun one,
Franklin one, Jackson four, Gadsden three, Leon four, Wakulla one, Liberty one, Jefferson three,
Madison two, Hamilton two, Lafayette one, Taylor one, Suwannee one, Columbia two, Baker one,
Bradford one, Alachua two, Nassau one, Duval two, Clay one, St. Johns one, Putnam one, Marion
two, Sumter one, Orange one, Volusia one, Brevard one, Levy one, Hernando one, Hillsborough one,
Manatee one, Monroe one, Dade one, and Polk one. There shall be twenty-nine Senatorial Districts
in this State, which shall be as follows: The county of Escambia shall compose the First district; the
county of Santa Rosa shall compose the Second District; the county of Walton shall compose the
Third District; the counties of Washington and Holmes shall compose the Fourth District; the county
of Franklin shall compose the Fifth District; the county of Calhoun shall compose the Sixth District;
the county of Jackson shall compose the Seventh District; the county of Gadsden shall compose the
Eighth District; the county of Liberty shall compose the Ninth District; the county of Leon shall
compose the Tenth District; the county of Wakulla shall compose the Eleventh District; the county
of Jefferson shall compose the Twelfth District; the county of Madison shall compose the Thirteenth
District; the county of Hamilton shall compose the Fourteenth District; the counties of Lafayette and
Taylor shall compose the Fifteenth District; the county of Columbia shall compose the Sixteenth
District; the county of Suwannee shall compose the Seventeenth District; the counties of Baker and
Bradford shall compose the Eighteenth District; the county of Alachua shall compose the Nineteenth
District; the county of Nassau shall compose the Twentieth District; the counties of Duval and Clay
shall compose the Twenty-First District; the counties of St. Johns and Putnam shall compose the
Twenty-Second District; the county of Marion shall compose the Twenty-Third District; the county
of Sumter shall compose the Twenty-Fourth District; the counties of Orange and Volusia shall
compose the Twenty-Fifth District; the counties of Levy and Hernando shall compose the Twenty-Sixth District; the counties of Hillsborough and Manatee shall compose the Twenty-Seventh District;
the counties of Polk and Brevard shall compose the Twenty-Eighth District; and the counties of
Monroe and Dade shall compose the Twenty-Ninth District; and each Senatorial District shall be
entitled to one Senator.
Section 1. The proceeds of all lands for the use of Schools and a Seminary or Seminaries of
Learning shall be and remain a perpetual fund, the interest of which, together with all monies accrued
from any other source, applicable to the same object, shall be inviolably appropriated to the use of
Schools and Seminaries of Learning, respectively, and to no other purpose.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall take such measures as may be necessary to preserve from
waste or damage all lands so granted and appropriated for the purpose of Education.
Public Domain and Internal Improvement.
Section 1. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide for the prevention of waste and
damage of the public lands, that may hereafter be ceded to the State of Florida, and it may pass laws
for the sale of any part or portion thereof; and, in such cases, provide for the safety, security and
appropriation of the proceeds, but in no wise to affect the purposes for which said lands have
heretofore been appropriated.
Section 2. A liberal system of Internal Improvements being essential to the development of the
resources of the State, shall be encouraged by the government of this State; and it shall be the duty
of the General Assembly, as soon as practicable, to ascertain by law proper objects for the extension
of Internal Improvements, in relation to roads, canals and navigable streams, and to provide for a
suitable application of such funds as may have been, or may hereafter be appropriated by said General
Assembly for such improvements.
Section 3. That the General Assembly may at any time cede to the United State Government a
sufficient parcel or fraction of land for the purpose of coast defense and other national purposes.
Section 1. The boundary of the State of Florida shall be as follows: commencing at the mouth of the river Perdido, from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects the southern boundary line of the State of Alabama, on the thirty-first degree of North latitude; then due East to the Chattahoochee river; thence down the middle of said river to its confluence with the Flint river;
from thence straight to the head of the St. Marys river; thence down the middle of said river to the
Atlantic Ocean; thence southwardly to the Gulf of Florida and Gulf of Mexico; thence northwardly
and westwardly, including all islands within five leagues of the shore, to the beginning.
Banks and Other Corporations.
Section 1. The General Assembly shall pass no act of incorporation, nor make any alteration in
one, unless with the assent of at least two-thirds of each House, and unless public notice in one or
more newspapers in the State shall have been given for at least three months immediately preceding
the session at which the same may be applied for.
Section 2. No bank charter, nor any act of incorporation granting exclusive privileges, shall be
granted for a longer period than twenty years.
Section 3. Banks chartered by the General Assembly shall be restricted to the business of
exchange, discount and deposit, and they shall not deal in real estate, nor in merchandise nor chattels,
except as security for loans or discounts, or for debts due to such bank; nor shall they be concerned
in insurance, manufacturing, exportation, or importation, except of bullion, or specie; nor shall they
own real estate or chattels, except such as shall be necessary for their actual use in the transaction of
business, or which may be received in payment of previously contracted debts, or purchased at legal
sales to satisfy such debts, of which they shall be required to make sale within three years after the
Section 4. The capital stock of any bank shall not be less than one hundred thousand dollars, to
be paid in suitable instalments, and shall be created only by the payment of specie therein.
Section 5. All liabilities of such banks shall be payable in specie, and the circulation of no bank
shall exceed three dollars for one of capital actually paid in.
Section 6. No dividends or profits exceeding ten per centum per annum on the capital stock paid
in shall be made; but all profits over ten per centum per annum shall be set apart and retained as a
Section 7. Stockholders in a bank, when an act of forfeiture is committed, or when it is dissolved
or has expired, shall be individually and severally liable for the redemption of the outstanding
circulation, in proportion to the stock owned by each, and no transfer of stock shall exonerate such
stockholders from this liability, unless such transfer was made at least two years previous to said
forfeiture, dissolution or expiration.
Section 8. Banks shall be open to inspection under such regulations as may be prescribed by law,
and it shall be the duty of the Governor to appoint a person or persons not connected in any manner
with any bank in the State, to examine at least once a year into their state and condition; and the
officers of every bank shall make quarterly returns under oath, to the Governor, of its state and
condition, and the names of the stockholders, and shares held by each.
Section 9. Non user for the space of one year, or any act of a corporation, or those having the
control or management thereof, or intrusted therewith, inconsistent with, or in violation of the
provisions of this Constitution, or of its charter, shall cause its forfeiture, and the General Assembly
shall by general law provide a summary process for the sequestration of its effects and assets, and the
appointment of officers to settle its affairs, and no forfeited charter shall be restored.
Section 10. The General Assembly shall not pledge the faith and credit of the State to raise funds
in the aid of any corporation whatever.
Amendments and Revisions of the Constitution.
Section 1. No part of this Constitution shall be altered except by a Convention duly elected.
Section 2. No Convention of the people shall be called unless by the concurrence of two-thirds
of all the members of each House of the General Assembly, made known by the passing of a bill,
which shall be read three times on three several days in each House.
Section 3. Whenever a Convention shall be called, proclamation of an election for Delegates shall
be made by the Governor at least thirty days before the day of election. Every County and Senatorial
District shall be entitled to as many Delegates as it has representatives in the General Assembly. The
same qualifications shall be required in Delegates, and in Electors, that are required in members of
the General Assembly, and voters for the same respectively, and the elections for Delegates to a
Convention, and the returns of such election, shall be held and made in the manner prescribed by law
for regulating elections for members of the General Assembly, but the Convention shall judge of the
qualifications of its members.
Seat of Government.
The Seat of Government shall be and remain permanent at the City of Tallahassee, until
otherwise provided for by the action of a Convention of the people of the State.
Section 1. Whereas, slavery has been destroyed in this State by the Government of the United
States; therefore, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall in future exist in this State, except
as a punishment for crimes, whereof the party shall have been convicted by the courts of the State,
and all the inhabitants of the State, without distinction of color, are free, and shall enjoy the rights of
person and property without distinction of color.
Section 2. In all criminal proceedings founded upon injury to a colored person, and in all cases
affecting the rights and remedies of colored persons, no person shall be incompetent to testify as a
witness on account of color; in all other cases, the testimony of colored persons shall be excluded,
unless made competent by future legislation. The jury shall judge the credibility of the testimony.
Section 3. The Jurors of this State shall be white men, possessed of such qualifications as may
be prescribed by law.
Section 4. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering
to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the
testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his confession in open court.
Section 5. Divorces from the bonds of matrimony shall not be allowed but by the judgment of
a court, as shall be prescribed by law.
Section 6. The General Assembly shall declare by law what parts of the common law, and what
parts of the civil law, not inconsistent with this Constitution, shall be in force in this State.
Section 7. The oaths of officers directed to be taken under this Constitution, may be administered
by any judge, or justice of the peace, in the State of Florida, until otherwise provided by law.
Schedule and Ordinance.
Section 1. All the laws of the State passed during and since the tenth session of the Legislature
thereof, in 1860, not repugnant to the Constitution of this State, or of the United States, shall be
valid; all writs, actions, prosecutions, judgments and decrees, of the courts of the State, all
executions and sales made thereunder, and all acts, orders and proceedings of the Judges of Probate,
and of Executors, Administrators, Guardians and Trustees, provided they were in conformity to the
laws then in force, and not fraudulent, shall be as valid as if made under the usual and ordinary
legislation of the country, provided that the same be not repugnant to the Constitution of the state
and of the United States.
Section 2. All fines, penalties, forfeitures, obligations and escheats, heretofore accruing to the
State of Florida, and not made unlawful by the Constitution or laws of the United States, shall
continue to accrue to the use of the State.
Section 3. All recognizances heretofore taken shall remain valid, and all bonds executed to the
Governor of the State of Florida, either before or since the first day of January, 1861, or to any other
officer of the State in his official capacity, shall be of full force and virtue for the uses herein
respectively expressed, and may be sued for and recovered accordingly; and all criminal prosecution
and penal actions which have arisen may be prosecuted to judgment and execution in the name of the
Section 4. The Provisional Governor of this State is hereby requested to authorize the civil
officers of this State who were discharging the duties of their offices prior to, or during the month
of May, A. D. 1865, to resume the exercise of the functions of their respective offices, and to make
such other appointments to office as may be necessary or proper to reorganize or re-establish the civil
government of this State; and all actions at law, or suits in chancery, or any proceeding pending in
any of the courts of this State, prior to, or during the said month of May, 1865, and either before or
subsequent to the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861, shall continue in all respects valid, and may be
prosecuted to judgment and decree: and all judgments and decrees rendered in civil causes in any of
the courts in this State during the period of time last above specified, and not repugnant to the
constitution of the United States, are hereby declared of full force, validity and effect.
Section 5. The Provisional Governor of the State is hereby requested and authorized, at as early
a day as practicable, to issue writs of election to the proper officers in the different counties in this
State, and make proclamation for an election for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State,
Treasurer, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Attorney General, Circuit Judges, Judges of Probate,
Sheriffs, Clerks of Circuit Courts, Solicitors, Representative in Congress, Senators and
Representatives of the General Assembly, County Commissioners, Coroners, Justices of the Peace,
County Surveyors, and all other officers provided for by this Constitution. The said election shall be
held on the 29th day of November, A. D. 1865. The said election shall be conducted according to
the existing laws of the State of Florida, and shall take place on the same day throughout the State,
the returns to be made according to law. The members of the General Assembly so elected shall
assemble on the 3d Monday in December, A. D. 1865. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor,
Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Attorney General, Circuit Judges,
Judges of Probate, Sheriffs, Clerks of Circuit Courts, Solicitors, Representative in Congress, Senators
and Representatives of the General Assembly, County Commissioners, Coroners, Justices of the
Peace, County Surveyors and all other officers provided for by this Constitution, shall enter upon the
duties of their respective offices immediately after their election, and shall continue in office in the
same manner and during the same period they would have done had they been elected on the first
Monday in October, A. D. 1865. The Representative in Congress shall continue in office in the same
manner and during the same period he would have done, had he been elected on the first Monday in
October, A. D. 1865.
Section 6. The Statutes of Limitation shall not be pleaded upon any claim in the hands of any
person whomsoever, not sued upon when such claim was not barred by the Statutes of Limitation on
the 10th day of January, A. D. 1861.
Section 7. No law of this State providing that claims or demands against the estates of decedents
shall be barred if not presented within two years, shall be considered as being in force within this State
between the 10th day of January, 1861, and the 25th day of October, 1865.
Done in open Convention. In witness whereof, the undersigned, the President of said
Convention, and Delegates present, representing the people of Florida, do hereby sign our names, this
the seventh day of November, Anno Domini, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-five, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the ninetieth year, and the Secretary of said
Convention doth countersign the same.
E. D. TRACY, President
A. J. PEELER, Secretary.
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