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What is the “Ke Kumukānāwai a me nā Kānāwai o ko Hawai’i Pae ‘Āina?”

October 8th

hi12October 8, 1840 — “Ke Kumukānāwai a me nā Kānāwai o ko Hawai’i Pae ‘Āina, Honolulu, 1840” was the first fully written constitution for the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

More similar to a declaration of rights, it stated that the government was based on Christian values and equality.

Incorporating the 1839 document, the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai’i was a turning point in Hawai’i for it organized the power of government and its functions by defining the House of Representatives as the legislative body.

It also gave the people the power to vote, established of the office of Kuhina Nui, and created the office of royal governors of the various islands. It also recognized Christianity as an authority.

Words of Wisdom

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, BOTH OF THE PEOPLE AND CHIEFS. God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men and all chiefs, and all people of all lands.These are some of the rights which He has given alike to every man and every chief of correct deportment; life, limb, liberty, freedom from oppression; the earnings of his hands and the productions of his mind, not however to those who act in violation of laws.

God has also established government, and rule for the purpose of peace; but in making laws for the nation it is by no means proper to enact laws for the protection of the rulers only, without also providing protection for their subjects; neither is it proper to enact laws to enrich the chiefs only, without regard to enriching their subjects also, and hereafter there shall by no means be any laws enacted which are at variance with what is above expressed, neither shall any tax be assessed, nor any service or labor required of any man, in a manner which is at variance with the above sentiments.


— Kingdom of Hawai`i Constitution of 1840

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