Thursday, July 9, 2015

U.S. vs Hawaii War of 1894 -- Part Four

For the record, the Kingdom of Hawaii lasted from 1810 to 1893.

Kamehameha the Great conquered the other Hawaiian Islands with help of European war fighting technology in 1798 and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. It is said that by developing alliances with the major Pacific world and keeping colonial powers like Great Britain, France, and Germany at bay, Kamehameha the Great preserved Hawaii's independence.

In the 1895, a Counter-Revolution took place in Hawaii. A group led by former Queen Liliuokalani, Colonel Robert Nowlein, Minister Joseph Nawahi, members of the Royal Household Guards, and of course the very traitorous Robert Wilcox, attempted to overthrow the new Republic of Hawaii. The conspirators were captured and sentenced to death, but had their sentences reduced or commuted by President Dole. And yes, that was when the Queen abdicated again -- this time she swore allegiance to the Republic of Hawaii.

While under arrest, she wrote, "I hereby do fully and unequivocally admit and declare that the Government of the Republic of Hawaii is the only lawful Government of the Hawaiian Islands, and that the late Hawaiian monarchy is finally and forever ended, and no longer of any legal or actual validity, force or effect whatsoever."

As for the last coup in Hawaii in 1895, while the coup's leaders including Liliuokalani, were captured, convicted, and imprisoned, and sentenced to hang, many others were deported. It's true. A list of names were gathered by the Republic of Hawaii of anyone belonging to any club or political organization which was not friendly to the government. Those on the list were rounded up and held for months in some cases. Some were summarily tried, while others were simply rounded up, held, then deported back to where they came from. If a man was a citizen of another country, and he attended a meeting with people who wanted to overthrow the Hawaiian government, that person was sent back to his nation of origin.

The Republic of Hawaii would pay the ship's Captain whatever it was to put the deported person in steerage and send him back to where he came from. In most cases it was with just the clothes on his back after pulling him out of being held in jail. No trial, no money, no possessions -- just passage and a swift kick in the bottom on the way a board. It was the Republic of Hawaii's preferred method of Homeland Security -- deportation.

As for the U.S. vs Hawaii War of 1894?

Well, though the United States threatened to go to war with Hawaii if the Hawaiian government did not put the Queen back on the throne, the U.S. vs Hawaii War of 1894 did not take place. It was simply all a hoax in an attempt to intimidate the Republic of Hawaii into putting the Queen back on the throne. It didn't work.

In 1897, pro-Hawaii annexation Republican William McKinley succeeded Grover Cleveland as president of the United States. After McKinley's inauguration as president of the United States on March 4, 1897, the Republic of Hawaii resumed negotiations for annexation, Negotiations continued into the summer of 1898.

Some say that by this time, President McKinley saw the islands as having gained a new strategic relevance in the wake of the Spanish-American War. But frankly, since the U.S. treaty with Hawaii served the purpose fine during that war, I believe McKinley and other political leaders in the U.S. were more fearful that the islands might be annexed by Great Britain, France, Germany, or even Japan by that time.

It is a historical fact that Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan at the time had also shown interest in annexing the islands for themselves for the reason of strategic relevance. These other nations had their eyes on Hawaii for years, and the U.S. knew that if any of those nations annexed Hawaii first then that action would render the U.S./Hawaii reciprocity treaty null and void.

Faced with an urgency of sorts, and knowing that the Senate would not approve Hawaii annexation, President William McKinley called for a joint resolution of Congress -- the exact same way that the United States had acquired Texas when Congress didn't want to approve its annexation.

Annexation supporters took extreme measures by passing the Newlands Resolution through which the cession was accepted, ratified and confirmed by a vote of 42 to 21 in the Senate. The House of Representatives accepted the Newlands Resolution by a vote of 209 to 91. President McKinley signed the bill authorizing annexation of the Republic of Hawaii on July 7, 1898.

The Newlands Resolution was passed in the United States Congress on July 7, 1898, On June 16th of 1898, a new treaty of U.S. annexation was signed. Annexation was acknowledged in Hawaii on August 12, 1898, when the formal claim of transfer of sovereignty took place with the hoisting of the flag of the United States over Iolani Palace and renaming the islands the Territory of Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Islands became the Territory of Hawaii, a United States territory, with a new government established on February 22, 1900. Sanford Dole was appointed as the first territorial governor of Hawaii. Iolani Palace served as the capitol of the Hawaiian territorial and then state governments until a new state capital was built in 1969.

After a century of being a part of the United States, many Native Hawaiians remain bitter about how the United States acquired the islands that sit 2,500 miles from America's West Coast. For those who say that the Republic of Hawaii was a puppet government of the United States, that the United States was behind the overthrow of the Queen, and that the United States wanted Hawaii for it's strategic location, they may want to revisit the evidence that says the contrary.

Remember, President Grover Cleveland withdrew the treaty "for the purpose of re-examination." He received Queen Liliuokalani, and replaced the American flag in Honolulu with the Hawaiian flag. He ordered a study of the overthrow. President Cleveland threatened the Republic of Hawaii with war and invasion, and demanded the monarchy be restored. The U.S. Senate refused to act on annexation while the House of Representatives voted to censure the U.S. minister to Hawaii and adopted a resolution opposing annexation. None of that sounds like a U.S. backed coup! 

So let's face facts, if it were not for the demonstrated interest of other nations to annex Hawaii first, it appears that the United States did not want Hawaii. 

The evidence goes against the popular myth that the United States was behind the overthrow or in favor of annexation. Being objective, ask yourself, if indeed the United States wanted Hawaii so badly, why did they drag their feet in ratifying annexation?

Contrary to what conspiracy theorists say, the United States did not want Hawaii when the Queen was overthrown. And frankly, since strategically the U.S. had a standing reciprocity treaty with the Hawaiian government, why would the United States government have wanted or needed to annex Hawaii? There wasn't a need to do that. The U.S. and Hawaii already had a standing treaty, and the U.S. was Hawaii's largest trading partner -- even to the extent of making Hawaii's goods tariff free when shipped to the United States.

For me, I see only one reason for the United States annexation of the Republic of Hawaii. I believe it was to keep Great Britain, France, Germany, or Japan from taking over that independent nation for themselves. I believe it goes back to the very first negotiations in the 1850's when King Kamehameha III had secretly asked the United States to annex Hawaii as a state, but Secretary of State Daniel Webster declined, saying "No power ought to take possession of the islands as a conquest...or colonization."

When King Kamehameha III expressed a desire for annexation with the United States, it was for self-preservation in a world threatened by the imperialist powers of Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. It appears that King Kamehameha III knew the future.

That's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

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