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Annexation of Hawaii

"Sovereignty of Hawai'i was formally transferred to the United States at ceremonies at 'Iolani Palace on Aug. 12, 1898.   Sanford Dole spoke as the newly appointed governor of the Territory of Hawai'i.   The Hawaiian anthem, ''Hawai'i Pono 'I" -- with words written by King Kalakaua -- was played a[s] the Hawaiian flag was lowered, and replaced by the American flag and "The Star-Spangled Banner."   The Hawaiian people had lost their land, their monarchy and now their independence."
The Overthrow of the Monarchy
Spirit of Aloha, May 1994
More Quotes
Honolulu - 1898: 

Sanford B. Dole is the self-proclaimed President of the Republic of Hawai'i, inaugurated July 4, 1894, under a constitution that was also declared law by proclamation.  Dole's supporters are businessmen, primarily American by birth, who have long pressed for annexation, the group known as the Committee of Safety, who had overthrown the Hawaiian Constitutional Monarchy in 1893 and set up a provisional government.  

Lili'uokalani, the last queen of Hawai'i, and other supporters, have visited Washington to request help to reinstate the monarchy.  One or more petitions with more than 20,000 signatures (1) has been sent to the U.S. Congress opposing annexation, and the Republic of Hawai'i has been  petitioned to put the annexation question to a public vote.  

Nevertheless, an annexation treaty (not the first) has been sent to the U.S. Senate.

Washington, DC - 1898:  

William McKinley is President of the United States, elected in 1896 by the largest margin of popular votes in more than 20 years.  He favors US expansion and has submitted the Treaty of Annexation to the US Senate.  

Because of concerns surrounding the Cuban war for independence, the US declares war on Spain in April, and the war will be quickly concluded in less than four months.  The US will press for acquisition of Spain's colonies (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines) as a condition of peace.  The plan to cede the Pacific territories increases the strategic value of the Hawaiian islands, especially control over Pearl Harbor.

More Resources

The Reciprocity Treaty (1875) and Supplementary Convention (1884) between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom (covering trade and use of Pearl Harbor by the US) provides additional background on Hawaii's relationship with the United States.

In addition to the sources and references highlighted here, Chapter Seven of Shoal of Time by Gavan Daws provides insight and perspective.  Titled "Aloha Oe", this chapter covers the period from 1887, the "Bayonet Constitution", to 1900, when Hawai'i was made a territory of the United States under The Organic Act.

The Kapi'olani Community College Library maintains a collection of political cartoons (Circa 1875-1905) which are an excellent glimpse into the events as viewed by the public and by those trying to influence public opinion.  Another excellent resource is Denounce the Annexation.

Annexation Links

More Quotes

"[Union] despite successive denials and postponements, has been merely a question of time.   [...]   the delay of four years having abundantly sufficed to establish the right and the ability of the Republic of Hawaii to enter, as a sovereign contractant, upon a conventional union with the United States ... Under such circumstances annexation is not a change.  It is a consummation."
President McKinley quoted
from Shoal of Time, p. 286
"Two points should be made clear here.  First, history records no event in which the Hawaiians were given the opportunity to determine whether or not to become annexed to the United States.    [...]    Second, the McKinley administration, in its fever to annex Hawaii ignored the U.S. Constitutional requirement of 2/3 Senate consent.   Thus, this 'Treaty of Annexation' was never adopted by the U.S. in accordance with its own Constitutional mandate."
HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY
(a historical approach)
"And so I am an anti-imperialist.  I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."
Mark Twain (about the Philippines)
"To understand how and why I pledge my allegiance to Hawaii only and not to the United States, you will need to know the history of Hawaii, particularly that part dealing with the 'annexation' of Hawaii to the United States."
HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY
(a historical approach)

Annexation Links

Treaty of Annexation completed June 16, 1897; ratified by the Senate of the Republic of Hawai'i in September; never ratified by the U.S. Senate because the required two-thirds majority was believed lacking and therefore a vote was never called.

Official Protest to the Treaty of Annexation, presented by Lili'uokalani in Washington D.C., June 17, 1897.

Joint Resolution to Provide for Annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. Resolution No. 55, known as the "Newlands Resolution," 2nd Session, 55th Congress, July 7, 1898.

Annexation Timeline - Key people and events leading to annexation of Hawai'i by the U.S. 

Mark Twain's Hawaii
A series of articles by Jim Zwick, who inspired my research into the Imperialist Movement in the U.S. and the connection to the annexation of Hawai'i following the treaty with Spain.


(1) the probable existence of petitions with at least 29,000 signatures was documented in The Overthrow of the Monarchy Spirit of Aloha, May 1994. Subsequently, documents evidencing more than 21,000 signatures were found and have been displayed at the Bishop Museum, the state capitol and other locations.  These signatures were obtained through the efforts of Kui Aloha 'Aina.   There are reportedly other petitions that would bring the total to more than the 29,000 first estimated, though there might be duplication of names among the different petitions.  The challenge here is that very few people talked about any of this after the annexation due to fear.  Descendants of those who led the petition drive have been surprised to learn of the connection because "it just wasn't talked about".  Sources:  KGMB Historic Petitions on Display; and other TV news reports at the time the documents were located and put on display.  More on Annexation Protest Past and Present.


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