Legal Archives Collection | Constitutions

Constitutions

Hawaiʻi's unique constitutional history can be traced to 1839 when it existed as a sovereign independent nation. On June 7, 1839, Kauikeaouli promulgated Ke Kumu Kanawai A Me Ke Kanawai Hooponopono Waiwai No Ko Hawaii Nei Pae Aina. Some historians have termed it the Hawaiian Declaration of Rights, while others have referred to it as the Hawaiian Magna Carta. Because it includes the term "Kumu Kanawai," (literally "fundamental law") and the same title is used for subsequent constitutions, the 1839 Ke Kumu Kanawai is included below.

Various constitutions have been promulgated for the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi (1840, 1852, 1864, 1887), the Republic of Hawaiʻi (1894), the Territory of Hawaiʻi, and the State of Hawaiʻi. We are working with the Hawaiʻi State Archives to provide digitized copies of Hawaiʻi constitutions prior to 1900, in English and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. Most of the original archival materials may be found using this call number: KFH 25 .A24 and KFH 561 .A3. For ease of reference, we have also included links to the session laws containing various constitutional amendments.

A complete compilation of Hawaiʻi constitutions are contained in Ka Hoʻoilina, The Legacy: Puke Pai ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi - Journal of Hawaiian Language Sources. The materials contained in Ka Hoʻoilina are incredibly helpful because it presents materials using modern standardized orthography.

Further information about Hawaiʻi's early constitutional history may be found in Constitutional Documents of the United States of America 1776-1860, Supplement: Hawaiʻi and Liberia, in Constitutions of the World from the Late 18th Century to the Middle of the 19th Century (Robert Stauffer & D. Elwood Dunn eds., 2008).

Please click on the following links to access this digitized collection.

1839
- Ke Kumu Kanawai a me Ke Kanawai Hooponopono Waiwai, 1840

1840
- Ke Kumu Kanawai a me Ke Kanawai, 1841
- Translation of the Constitution and Laws, 1842
- Ke Kumu Kanawai a me Na Kanawai, 1841

1852
- Kumukanawai i Haawiia e Ka Moi, 1852
- Constitution by His Majesty, 1852
- He Kumukanawai a me Na Kanawai, 1852
- Constitution and Laws, 1852
- Amendments to Articles 27, 29, 32, 43, 54, 61, 72, 100 of the 1852 Constitution (Sept. 15, 1856): Hawaiian | English
- Hoololi Hou - Kumukanawai, 1851

1864
- Kumukanawai i Haawiia e Ka Moi, 1864
- Kanawai o ka Moi, 1865
- Constitution by his Majesty, 1864, English copy contained on pages 85-97
- Amendments to Articles 62 and 63 of the 1864 Constitution (July 13, 1874): Hawaiian | English

1887
- Kumukanawai o ko Hawaii Pae Aina, 1887 (Papakilo Database: Nupepa Kuokoa: July 2, 1887)
- Constitution by his Majesty, 1887
- Amendment to Article 55 of the Constitution of 1887 (Nov. 29, 1892): Hawaiian | English
- Amendment to Article 83 of the Constitution of 1887 (Nov. 29, 1892): Hawaiian | English

1893 - Draft of January 14, 1893 Constitution
- Constitutions of Hawaii, 55th Cong., 2d Sess., Sen. Doc. No. 109 (1898)

1894
- Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, 1894
- Kumukanawai a me Na Kanawai o ka Repubalika o Hawaii, 1895
- Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Hawaii, 1895

1905
- Kumukanawai o Na Mokuaina Huiia o Amerika, Ke Kanawai Okana Aina, 1905