Floridians wrote their first constitution in the winter of 1838-1839 in the panhandle town of St. Joseph. It was implemented in 1845 when Florida was admitted to the Union.1 Writing a constitution that would pass congressional inspection was an essential step in completing the process from territorial status to statehood in accordance with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.2 It had become customary for constitutional conventions to rely on models from older states. From 1776 to 1838, the older states had made 41 different constitutions, giving Florida’s founders an extensive and lively constitutional tradition from which to draw.3 They used Alabama’s 1819 Constitution as their principle guide, but also consulted the fundamental laws of Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and several of the New England states.
Moussalli, Stephanie D.
"Florida's Frontier Constitution: The Statehood, Banking & Slavery Controversies,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 74:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol74/iss4/5