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Record Group Number: 001000
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Creator: State Constitutional Records
Title, Dates: State Constitutional Records record group.
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Biographical/Historical Note:     The State of Florida has been governed by six constitutions, written in the years 1838, 1861, 1865, 1868, 1885, and 1968.  This record group contains original constitutions and records documenting their development.

    The 1838 Constitution was written in order to provide for a government when the territory became a state.  The document created a bicameral legislature; a four year term for the Governor; the posts of Secretary of State, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Treasurer; and a traditional three branch government.

    The 1861 Constitution provided for Florida's governing as part of the Confederacy and cut the terms of the Governor and Cabinet to two years after the current office holders had left.  The 1865 Constitution annulled the 1861 Ordinance of Secession, created the post of Lieutenant Governor, and would have elected the Cabinet officers, but it was superseded by the 1868 Constitution.

    The 1868 Constitution granted suffrage to males of all races and created the Board of Education and the posts of Lieutenant Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The 1885 Constitution made elective the Cabinet posts of Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Comptroller, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the newly created Commissioner of Agriculture.  In addition, the 1885 Constitution abolished the post of Lieutenant Governor.  The 1885 Constitution was often amended until its revision 1968.

    The 1968 Constitution revived the post of Lieutenant Governor, provided for the future revision of the Constitution, and authorized the current department system of state government.

    Of the five handwritten constitutions prior to 1968, only four survive:  1838, 1865, 1868, and 1885.  The 1861 Constitution has been lost, and the 1838 Constitution is an original clerk's copy.  Also surviving is the 1861 Ordinance of Secession.
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