Friday, December 31, 2021

Why FL Officers Loyal to Government

 If you read my previous article Why FL Officers Loyal to Government, you know that the Florida Constitution requires Florida's public officers to swear loyalty to the US and Florida Governments, as well as their Constitutions. You also know that's a bad thing because a public officer will not remain loyal to the Constitutions if his Government boss threatens to fire him for it.

Now, I shall show how the words "and Government" became part of the public officer oath.

Read the brief History of Florida's Constitutions below.  It shows that the US military forced Florida's public officers to change the Constitution by adding the words "and Government" to the oath - to punish Florida for participating in the rebellion and joining the Confederate States of America during the Civil War era.

Now, read the actual Public Officer Oath text in Florida's Constitutions below.  Notice that the offensive wording "and government" exists in Florida's Constitutions of 1868, 1885, 1968, and the amended (current) version of 1998.  The constitutions themselves do not explain why Government added the text "and government" to the public officer oath.  But we now know why.  In spite of good intentions, the addition constituted an illegal act, violative of both US law and US Constitution, as the above-linked article proves.

You might wonder what binds public officers and registered voters, all of whom purportedly have sworn the oath, to behave with loyalty to their constitutions. People keep swearing loyalty oaths because nothing bad happens to those who later breach those oaths.  Furthermore, the loyalty oaths are lies to begin with because few if any who swear the oaths have bothered to read the constitutions they swore to support. To that end, you might enjoy reading additional considerations in my article Is Your Word Your Bond; Are Some Lies Good?

If you want to see the Public Officer oath stripped of its offensive "and Government" wording, become a vocal, annoying activist.  Call and write your legislators and other government officers and demand that they initiate legislation to remove the offending words "and Government" from all loyalty oaths.

History of Florida's Constitutions

Florida's constitution outlines its form of government, including the powers and responsibilities of state and county officials. The current constitution was framed by a constitutional revision commission and approved in 1968, but many of its provisions date back to the 19th century.

Included here are the original manuscripts or contemporary copies of each of Florida's 19th century constitutions, plus the 1812 constitution of the short-lived Republic of East Florida and the state's 1861 Ordinance of Secession.

"Patriot Constitution" of the Republic of East Florida, 1812

In March 1812, a group of Georgians and residents of Spanish East Florida attacked and occupied Fernandina on Amelia Island. Calling themselves the “Patriot Army,” they aimed to convince more citizens of East Florida to join their movement and overthrow the Spanish colonial government. Their hope was for East Florida to then be annexed to the United States as a territory. The so-called Republic of East Florida was short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful, but its leaders did produce this constitution.

Constitution of the State of Florida, 1838

Florida’s original state constitution was drafted by a convention of 56 prominent Floridians in the coastal town of St. Joseph in late 1838 and early 1839. The delegates drew inspiration for the document from neighboring states, especially Alabama. The people of Florida ratified the new constitution, but only barely, and Congress did not admit the territory as a new state until 1845.

Ordinance of Secession, 1861

Many Floridians interpreted the election of President Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 as a dangerous step toward the abolition of slavery. When the Florida Legislature convened later that month, the members passed a law calling for a “Convention of the People” to determine how the state would respond to the crisis. Delegates were elected by popular vote in December, and the convention met in Tallahassee in January 1861. The delegates voted 62-7 to withdraw Florida from the Union, making it the third state to secede. The convention also made numerous changes to the state constitution, altering the terms of office for many officials and deleting references to the United States.

Constitution of the State of Florida, 1865

Civil government was suspended when the Union military first occupied Florida in May 1865. Hoping to return the former Confederate states to the Union as quickly as possible, President Andrew Johnson appointed Judge William Marvin of Key West as provisional governor and directed him to call a constitutional convention. The delegates annulled the Ordinance of Secession and framed a new state constitution that recognized the end of slavery. The life of this document was a short one, however. The Republican majority in Congress, unsatisfied with the former Confederate states’ limited acceptance of freedom for African Americans, passed the Reconstruction Acts over President Johnson’s veto and reestablished military control in the South.

Constitution of the State of Florida, 1868

Under the Reconstruction Acts, Congress assumed control over readmission of the former Confederate states to the Union. The United States military reoccupied those states and caused all eligible men over 21, regardless of race, to be registered to vote. Each state’s newly enfranchised electorate then selected delegates to frame a new state constitution and submit it to Congress for approval. Florida’s constitutional convention met in January 1868, and the voters ratified the final document on May 4, 1868. Congress officially declared Florida back in the Union later that year on July 25.

Constitution of the State of Florida, 1885

The contents of Florida’s 1868 constitution were profoundly shaped by the dominance of the Republican Party and the enfranchisement of African Americans for the first time. By the early 1880s, however, conservative Democrats controlled state politics and wanted to reverse some of the old document’s provisions. A convention met in Tallahassee in June 1885 and drafted a new state constitution, which was ratified by the people in November 1886. Many offices that had previously been filled by appointment were made elective under the new document. Segregation of public schools was made mandatory, poll taxes were legalized and intermarriage between whites and African Americans was prohibited.

https://www.floridamemory.com/discover/historical_records/constitution/


Public Officer Oath in Florida's Constitutions

Florida Constitution of 1838 Article VI

Section 11. 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.

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1838con.html


Florida Constitution of 1861 Article VI

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 Confederate States of America.

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1861con.html


Florida Constitution of 1865 Article VI

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 America."

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1865con.html


Florida Constitution of 1868 Article XVI

Section 10. The following shall be the oath of office for each officer in the State, including members of the Legislature: "I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and government of the United States, and of the State of Florida, against all enemies, domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, loyalty, and allegiance to the same, and that I am entitled to hold office under this constitution. That I will well and faithfully perform all the duties of the office of __________, on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1868con.html


Florida Constitution of 1885 Article XVI

Section 2. Each and every officer of this State, including the members of the Legislature, shall before entering upon the discharge of his official duties take the following oath of office: I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of _____________ on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1885con.html


Florida Constitution of 1968 Article II

Section 5. Public Officers.

(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of (title of office) on which I am about to enter. So help me God.", and thereafter shall devote personal attention to the duties of the office, and continue in office until his successor qualifies.

http://library.law.fsu.edu/Digital-Collections/CRC/CRC-1998/conhist/1968con.html


Florida Constitution of 1998 Article II

Section 5. Public Officers.

(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of   (title of office)   on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”, and thereafter shall devote personal attention to the duties of the office, and continue in office until a successor qualifies.


Bob Hurt






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