Kalākaua Takes the Throne
Kalākaua was elected by the legislature in 1874. Its members had been elected by the people, so they made the choice for the new king. Queen Emma maintained a strong group of supporters and earned six legislative votes. However, Kalākaua won with thirty-nine. The day after the election, a riot of Queen Emma’s supporters broke out but was soon quieted. Queen Emma followed by giving her support to Kalākaua and asking her supporters to do the same.
Kalākaua promised that he would always look after the interests of the Hawaiian people and said that Hawaiians, especially those who were descendants of ali‘i, should rule in Hawai‘i. The Constitution of 1864 gave the king broad powers, and Kalākaua used them. His reign began well. He put good men in office. Then he began to change the members of his cabinet and appoint new men. This he did several times because he had the power as a king to do what he wished. Not everyone was pleased with the many changes he made, especially a group called the “Missionary Party.” They wanted a monarchy that was less in charge and more for show, called a “Constitutional Monarchy.” They wanted the legislature to have the real power of the government.