JULY 6, 1887

HAWAIIAN KING DAVID KALĀKAUA SIGNS PRO-AMERICAN “BAYONET CONSTITUTION”

The 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai’i was a document prepared by white anti-monarchists to strip the monarchy of much of its authority and thereby initiate a transfer of power to American and European elites, including the Dole family. The document became known as the “Bayonet Constitution,” due to the use of intimidation by the armed militia known as the Honolulu Rifles in what was known as the Rebellion of 1887.  The king essentially had a choice–sign or be deposed.  The anti-monarchists who crafted the document, known as the Hawaiian League, were mainly men of North American origin. They quickly appointed themselves as government officials, providing themselves with almost complete control of the government.

Source:  Forbes, David W., Hawaiian national bibliography, 1780–1900 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003). pp. 232–233.  Retrieved 7/5/2019, https://books.google.com/books?id=jAuzOipG26YC&pg=PA232#v=onepage&q&f=false
Photo:  James J. Williams (1853-1926), circa 1882.  Hawaii State Archives.   Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less. 

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