1894 Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention, 1894

According to the proclamation of January 17, 1893 by the Committee of Safety which abrogated the monarchy, the Provisional Government was intended to be an interim regime until the Hawaiian Islands were annexed by the United States. The subsequent withdrawal of the annexation treaty in the United States, along with increasing partisan strife over domestic issues, caused the leaders of the Provisional Government to seek more systematic procedures of governance. In the opening address to the Constitutional Convention Sanford B. Dole said, “The delay which the project of political union between Hawaii and the United States of America has experienced has brought up the question of modifying the present provisional system in order to give the Government a permanent form, and to more fully introduce the principle of representation by the people.”

On March 15, 1894 President Dole approved Act 69 of the Executive and Advisory Councils, which provided for the convening of a Constitutional Convention, subject to the call of the President. It stipulated that the convention be composed of the President, members of the Executive and Advisory Councils, and eighteen elected delegates, and be presided over by the chairman of the Executive and Advisory Councils. The act further stipulated the qualifications for electors and delegates.

Pursuant to Act 69, on March 19, 1894 the Minister of the Interior issued a proclamation calling for election of delegates on May 2nd; on May 10th President Dole issued a proclamation summoning the members of the convention to convene on May 30, 1894.

President Dole called the convention to order in the hall of the Judiciary Building. The convention hired the necessary staff and established four standing committees, which investigated and made recommendations on controvertible propositions. A draft constitution was submitted by the Executive Council and passed two readings in the Committee of the Whole. In convention it was read for a third time in order to make revisions, and a fourth time for corrections.

The constitution was signed on July 3, 1894 and promulgated the next day in special ceremonies, thereby establishing the Republic of Hawaii. The convention then adjourned sine die on July 5th, the twenty-fourth day of proceedings.

The records of the Constitutional Convention of 1894 include stenographic recordings and minutes of the proceedings, committee reports, resolutions, petitions, amendments, four drafts of the constitution, outgoing correspondence, election results, record of disbursements, sample vouchers for election expenses, and miscellaneous material that were kept by C. T. Rodgers, secretary of the convention. The original constitution is in box CC1894-4.

Below are the digitized Records of the 1894 Constitutional Convention. The originals remain physically at the Hawaiʻi State Archives.

Constitutional Convention Records, 1894
Call No. Item Description
CC1894-1-1 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 1-4
CC1894-1-2 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 5-6
CC1894-1-3 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 7-8
CC1894-1-4 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 9-10
CC1894-1-5 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 11-12
CC1894-1-6 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 13-14
CC1894-1-7 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 15-16
CC1894-1-8 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 17-18
CC1894-1-9 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 19-20
CC1894-1-10 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 21-22
CC1894-1-11 Stenographic Record of Proceedings, Days 23-24
CC1894-2-1 Minutes
CC1894-2-2 Reports of Committee – First Reading of Constitution
CC1894-2-3 Reports of Committee – Second, Third, Fourth Readings of Constitution
CC1894-2-4 Amendments – First Reading of Constitution
CC1894-2-5 Amendments – Second, Third, Fourth Readings of Constitution
CC1894-2-6 Resolutions
CC1894-2-7 Voting Record
CC1894-2-8 Delegate Roll and Convention Opening
CC1894-2-9 Second Draft of Constitution – Hawaiian
CC1894-2-10 Drafts of Constitution – Secretary’s Working Copy
CC1894-3-1 Outgoing Correspondence
CC1894-3-2 Election Returns
CC1894-3-3 Sample Election Expenses
CC1894-3-4 Record of Disbursements
CC1894-3-5 Petitions
CC1894-3-6 Petition of Women’s Suffrage
CC1894-3-7 Petition for Chinese Rights
CC1894-3-8 Petition of Election, Henry Klemme
CC1894-3-9 Miscellaneous
CC1894-4 Constitution of the Republic of Hawaiʻi, Promulgated July 4th, 1894

See also other related materials:
      [Call No. 342 H385p] Constitutional Convention Proceedings, 1894
      [Call No. 263 vol INT39] Act 69, 1894

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