Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, July 4, 2024
The 1840 Hawaiian Constitution and the Fourth of July
By Grassroot Institute @ 12:02 AM :: 20372 Views :: Hawaii History

The 1840 Hawaiian Constitution and the Fourth of July

by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, July 4, 2014

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a statement known today as the Declaration of Independence. The 13 American colonies not only declared their independence from Great Britain, but established the foundation for a new nation of free and sovereign states - the United States. July 4, 1776 is familiar to all as the birthday of our country, but it is also the intellectual and spiritual birthday of all freedom-loving countries which trace their philosophical origins to the Declaration of Independence. 

Hawaii was one such country. 

In 1840 the Kingdom of Hawaii adopted a constitution with strong parallels to the Constitution of the United States, but its framers were concerned with more than the structure of government.  They wanted to make certain that the proper philosophy underlying government would guide the interpretation of their constitution. Thus, they included the essential philosophy of the Declaration of Independence as the very preamble of their constitution: 

"God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men and all chiefs, and all people of all lands.  These are some of the rights which He has given alike to every man and every chief of correct deportment; life, limb, liberty, freedom from oppression; the earnings of his hands and the productions of his mind, not however to those who act in violation of laws."

The language which opens the Kingdom of Hawaii Constitution clearly echoes and amplifies the earlier language of the Declaration of Independence which states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Moreover, the constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, as a comprehensive document, helped ensure that its constitutional laws were to be interpreted in light of its philosophy of unalienable, God-given rights. 

In contrast, with the rise of American Pragmatism in the 19th Century and the progressive movement, the United States Constitution has been increasingly interpreted apart from the context of the Declaration of Independence.  The consequence is that the rule of law is now often practiced without a fundamental commitment to the unalienable, God-given rights of the individual. 

On this Fourth of July, let us come full circle and learn from the spirit of the Kingdom of Hawaii which now resides in the 50th state, that the philosophy of the Declaration of Independence must precede and inform our nation's laws and practice of government.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii