Chapter 1, Section 1
In Progress

A New Constitution

Kamehameha V was very firm in his dealings with people. He expected them to work hard and to save most of what they earned. When he came to the throne, he refused to accept the old constitution. For one, he was not in favor of everyone’s having the right to vote. So, the constitution of Kamehameha IV’s time had to be changed, and a new constitution would be adopted. The 1864 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i gave the king more power. The people, especially the maka‘āinana, felt that their rights had been taken away. Some of the members of the House of Representatives were opposed to the control of the House of Nobles, where some were foreigners working together with the king to have more control over the common people. Some members of the House of Nobles were foreigners who had become citizens of the kingdom of Hawai‘i and then had been elected to this governmental group.

In America, at this time, not everyone was allowed to vote and not everyone had the rights of citizenship. For example, slavery still existed and only white men could vote. There were certain rules for voting in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i as well. Early in the kingdom, these included owning property, having money, being male, and being able to read and write. The Constitution of 1852 had given the power of spending to the House, and more people could vote without owning property or having money. But the Constitution of 1864, even though not all of the people approved of it, would last for twenty-three years, longer than any other.

King Kamehameha V in chair
Kamehameha V
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