August 20, 1864: Constitution Granted by King Kamehameha V
As explained in Chapter 1 of Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise, the 1864 Constitution was established amidst contentious circumstances. See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 138 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015). Indeed, due to a dispute over universal male suffrage, the Kingdom was without a Constitution for a week:
When Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV, took the throne in 1855, he felt that the Constitution of 1852 placed unacceptable limitations on his royal authority. Lot Kapuāiwa, Kamehameha V, who came to the throne in 1863, refused to take an oath to maintain the constitution. Instead, a constitutional convention was convened. When the convention became deadlocked over the question of universal male suffrage, which the king opposed, the convention was dissolved and the constitution abolished. For a week, Hawai‘i was without a constitution, until Kamehameha V signed the Constitution of 1864, which reasserted the monarch’s powers.
Below is a transcript for the first three paragraphs of the 1864 Constitution:
I HAAWIIA E KA MOI KAMEHAMEHA V., MA KA LOKOMAIKAI O KE AKUA, KE ALII O KO HAWAII PAE AINA, MA KA LA 20 O AUGATE, M. H. 1864
Pauku 1. Ua haawi mai ke Akua i na kanaka a pau he mau pono e pili paa loa ia lakou; oia hoi, o ke ola, o ka noho hoopilikia ole ia mai, a me na pono e loaa mai ai, a e maluhia io ai ka waiwai, a e imi aku i na mea e oluolu ai ka noho ana.
Pauku 2. E hoomaluia na kanaka a pau i ko lakou hoomana ana ia Iehova e like me ko lakou manao; aole nae e hanaia malalo iho o keia haawina maikai kekahi hana kolohe, a me ke kue i ka maluhia a me ka pono o ke Aupuni.