AUGUST 20, 1864


Kamehameha V, ascending the throne in 1863, believed that the king should control the government of Hawai’i.  Opposing portions of the 1852 Constitution, he refused to take an oath to it.  Instead, he called for a constitutional convention.  However, when the delegates were not able to agree on Kamehameha V’s constitution, he dissolved the convention and drafted his own constitution.  The Constitution of 1864 brought several changes, including:  Abolishment of the office of kuhina nui (Hawaii’s version of the Prime Minister); change of the Hawaiian legislature from a bicameral legislature to a unicameral legislature called the Legislative Assembly; property requirements for representatives; and new voting requirements requiring voters born after 1840 to pass a literacy test and meet certain property requirements.  It remained Hawaii’s constitution from 1864 through 1887, during the reigns of kings Kamehameha V, Lunalilo, and Kalākaua.

Sources:  Pratt, Richard C., Zachary Alden Smith, Hawai'i Politics and Government: An American State in a Pacific World (Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 2000), p. 96.  Retrieved 7/10/2019, Potter, Norris Whitfield, Lawrence M. Kasdon, Ann Rayson (2003). History of the Hawaiian Kingdom (Honolulu: Bess Press, 2003), p. 114.  Retrieved 7/10/2019,
Painting:  William F. Cogswell (1819-1903), circa 1873.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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