Tag Archives: Florida Constitution Convention

Reflections–Florida’s Constitutional Convention of 1885

As I prepare myself for the continuation and 2018 closure of the Constitution Revision Commission, I am reviewing my history. Thanks to my parent’s historic Florida book collection, I did not have to go any further than their living room bookshelves…

The 1968 Constitution is credited with “making modern Florida,” as written about by Mary E. Atkins. It was the 1885 constitution that was “remade.”

According to historical records, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Constitution_of_1885 ) the 1885 constitution ratified at the convention passed with a vote of 31,804 to 21,243. It was “the model” of Florida’s government until 1968 and “represented the regression to racial discrimination which was occurring throughout the South in the post-Reconstruction period.”

The Constitution was weighted in favor of counties. Each new county was entitled to one to three representatives according to population…This overrepresentation of rural areas led to increasing tension in twentieth-century Florida politics, as central and then south Florida grew. It was a major factor leading to the current Constitution of 1968, which changed apportionment.”

It remains interesting to note the eloquence and tone of the times…

There is always something “good” and something “bad” to learn from history. It will be most interesting to see the history the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission leaves behind (https://www.flcrc.gov).

Temporary Chairman, Judge A.E. Maxwell, of Escambia, First Day, Tuesday, June 9, 1885:

...”The unusual and exceeding importance of the work before us can be estimated by the fact that we are the delegates of the people, acting in their sovereign capacity, emphatically delegates, but empowered to construct for them a system of State Government —a Constitution–that fundamental frame work which defines rights of persons and property and at the same time provides an organization by which their rights are to be secured, protected and defended. I trust we are all fully impressed with the heavy responsibilities of such a position, and that we will not permit ourselves to be led away from the discharge of its duties by any petty personal ambition or by any selfish schemes. The people who have put their trust in us feel that they have a guarantee of our good faith in their behalf and our devotion to their interest, in the fellowship which ties us to them as being ourselves a part of the people; and therefore, entirely identified with them in the desire and purpose to establish such government as will relive them from the evils of the present system, and ensure to them and their prosperity the blessings of civil and religious liberty.” 


Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 CRC: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

Calendar for upcoming CRC meetings (subject to change) https://www.flcrc.gov/Meetings/Calendars/2017