Legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Legislative Assembly of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Coat of arms or logo

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1845 to 1893
Bicameral (1840-1864)
Unicameral (1864-1893)
Houses House of Nobles3
House of Representatives3
Established 1840
Disbanded 1893
Preceded by Council of Chiefs
Succeeded by Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii
House of Nobles voting system
Appointed by the Monarch with the advice of the Privy Council
House of Representatives voting system
Elected by popular vote
Meeting place
Aliiolani Hale, Honolulu
1Name of Parliament from 1852 to 1864
2Name of Parliament from 1864 to 1893
3Structure in place from 1840 to 1864

The Legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii was the bicameral (later unicameral) legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A royal legislature was first provided by the 1840 Constitution[1] and the 1852 Constitution was the first to use the term "Legislature of the Hawaiian Islands", and the first to subject the monarch to certain democratic principles. Prior to this the monarchs ruled under a Council of Chiefs.


The Legislature from 1840 to 1864 was bicameral and originally consisted of a lower House of Representatives and an upper House of Nobles as provided for under the Constitutions of the Kingdom of 1840 and 1852, until abolished by the 1864 Constitution which then provided for a unicameral Legislature.

House of Nobles

The members of the upper House of Nobles were appointed by the Monarch with the advice of his Privy Council. It also served as the court of impeachment for any royal official. Members were usually Hawaiian aliʻis, nobles, and royals or wealthy individuals. The position had no salary. It originally consisted of the King (or Queen) plus five women and ten men (contrastingly, women did not universally get the right to vote in the mainland U.S.A. with women's suffrage until 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution).[2] After the overthrow of the Kingdom and the subsequent United States annexation in 1898, this body was reconstituted as a Senate under the territorial constitution of the Territory of Hawaii.

House of Representatives

The members of the lower House of Representatives were elected by popular vote from several districts in the Kingdom. Revenue-oriented bills were issued through the House of Representatives, and it also served as the "grand inquest" of the Kingdom.


From 1840 to 1864, it existed as a bicameral parliament. However, with the 1864 Constitution, the Legislature was temporarily unified into a single-house (unicameral) legislature. This Constitution also created property and literacy requirements for both Legislature members and voters; these requirements were later repealed by the Legislature in 1874 during the reign of King Lunalilo. The subsequent 1887 Constitution restored the two chambers as a bicameral Legislature and made the revived upper House of Nobles elected to six-year terms, with higher property ownership requirements.[3]

After 1893, and the Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, it became the Legislature of the brief Republic of Hawaii, followed in 1898 by the Territory of Hawaii after the American annexation. This was followed 61 years later by the present Hawaii State Legislature in 1959 after the admission to the Union of the Territory as the 50th State. It now consists of the lower Hawaii House of Representatives and upper house of the Hawaii Senate as the bicameral legislative body of the State of Hawaii under the 1959 Hawaii Act of Admission and Constitution

Presidents of the House of Nobles

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Presidents of the Legislature

Vice-Presidents of the Legislature

Further reading


  1. "The 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii". Hawaiian Electronic Library. 1840. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  2. "Women and the Law". Hawaiian Journal of History. Hawaii Historical Society. 11. 1977. hdl:10524/444.
  3. Anne Feder Lee (June 30, 1993). The Hawaii state constitution: a reference guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0-313-27950-8.
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