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Constitution of 1840

Following a Declaration of Rights promulgated by Kamehameha III in 1839, the introduction of Hawaii's first constitution in 1840 established a new era of constitutional monarchy. The 1840 document contained a revised version of the Declaration of Rights (modeled after the American Declaration of Independence) and essentially codified existing governmental structure and practice.

Hawaii's government, as authored by Hawaii's chiefs and the king, operated as partially separated executive, legislative and judicial branches. A house of nobles continued to exist with membership based on heredity but an elected house of representatives was added to create a bicameral legislative body. The constitution also created a supreme court for adjudicating legal questions. The document also included a process for constitutional amendment.

 Sites for further information

The actual text of the Constitution of 1840

Another Version of the Actual Text of the Constitution of 1840

A Section describing the development of the Constitution of 1840 (National Park Service)

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