Saturday, April 16, 2016

The United States Didn't Want Hawaii

Back on June 19th, 2011, I posted an article about how the Hawaiian legislature elected a new King and the turmoil and revolution that vote actually started. The article is titled: When King Kalakaua Needed U.S. Marines in 1874

Over the years, while I get a lot of email about most of what I write, this article has generated a lot of e-mail. Much of it was absolutely great and I can only say thanks for the great words of encouragement. I'm very happy that you like my work. While that is more the case than not, others are not very nice. But being honest, I sort of expected that when I wrote something that I knew some folks just don't want to hear.

I knew that some of the responses would not be what I hoped. But while that's the case, I didn't expect people to write things that I can hardly believe. And frankly, some people have actually wrote me saying that I made up the whole thing to discredit the Kingdom of Hawaii for some reason. Some have written saying that I'm simply trying to rewrite history, and that my article is a work of fiction.

To those out there saying that I made up the story, no I didn't make it up! I'm simply not that creative. I could never create the treachery and deceit, the power grabs, the turncoats, the coup after coup. I'm not able to disregard of real honest and factual events that took place like those who only focus on things that meet their agenda.

For me, I have no agenda when it comes to reporting history. Whether it's exploring the truth using available evidence to support what did or did not take place with people or places in the Old West or other periods of American history, I like my history real and supported by fact and not unsubstantiated myth. It don't like trying to connect the dots using conjecture that's not supported with hard facts.

As for Hawaii, I love Hawaii and would never try to discredit Hawaii for any reason. My family originates from Hawaii. I have grandparents, great-grandparents, even great-great-grandparents buried there. When my family left Portugal back in the mid 1800's, they arrived in Hawaii as "Contract Labor," other wise known as "Indentured Servants." And yes, the Kingdom of Hawaii brought them there. My family arrived during the times of Kings and Queens. While not Hawaiians by blood, Hawaiians as subjects under the Monarchy. Yes, they were in fact Hawaiian Subjects long before they became Americans. And yes, because I can trace my roots to those Hawaiians, I treasure my Hawaiian heritage no less than someone of Hawaiian blood.

As for those saying that I'm trying to rewrite Hawaiian history, you're a fool if you think so! I simply report history with as much of an objective eye as one can have. I love history and hate those who try to rewrite it. I see history as our best form of education. So really, why would I want to rewrite what took place when I love it's lessons and love what it teaches us about ourselves.

My interest in history goes back to when my grandfather would tell me stories about the way things once were, how people did things, about old technologies, how the blending of cultures took place, the way people fought to survive during tough times, and how people did things for others. I admire those people because of what made them who they were -- they ethics, morals, their will to prevail.
Anyone who has read my articles, especially those on Old West history, knows that I do a lot of research to give you my readers the real story and not the fabrication that many of us are lead to believe is true.

I was called all sorts of things when I wrote about Wild Bill Hickok ambushing David McCanles. I was told that Wyatt Earp couldn't have been a pimp, and arrested as a pimp at the time when many say he was supposed to be a Buffalo Hunter. I was told that I had to be wrong about Doc Holliday being a bad shot or when I said that Tom Horn's hanging was nothing special. I can deal with name callers. They mean very little to me. What I hate are those who rewrite history to benefit themselves or their cause.

Like it or not, it is a historical fact that as a result of the Hawaiian government's request, two Marine Detachments were landed to restore order to the rioting in Honolulu. It is just the truth that American Marines fought a rebellion instituted by the opposition candidate there, restored order, took over the government, and after a few weeks of being in complete control of the Hawaiian government actually handed it back to the Hawaiian monarchy and assisted with the orderly coronation of King David Kalakaua in 1874.

It is a fact that during the fighting, U.S. Marines actually seized government buildings. They occupied the Palace grounds but did not the Palace itself, seized the city armory, the Hawaiian treasury, the Hawaiian Police station house, the Honolulu jail, and the Honolulu Courthouse which was their main objective. All in just a few days, and in just over a week restored order.

Lately, I've been told that a plot to overthrow King Kalakaua in 1888 and a revolt in 1889 never took place. I'm told that Liliuokalani, who planned an insurrection against her own brother King Kalakaua never happened. Really, did I really make that up?

Facts are facts, and in July of 1889, Liliuokalani planned an insurrection against her own brother King Kalakaua. And yes, with the help of Robert Wilcox and 150 armed men occupied the Palace and attempts to have King Kalakaua either abdicate or proclaim that the 1864 Constitution was to replace the 1887 Constitution.

Fact is supporters of King Kalakaua did take up arms against those insurgents. Volunteer riflemen from what was called the Missionary Party turned out to support the government. A legation was on hotel premises where Mr. Merrill, the U.S. Minister requested U.S. Marines again be landed to assist in the matter.

It is a fact that a duel between Liliuokalani's insurgents and volunteers began with rifle fire. Some say small artillery was moved into position but never used. By evening the fighting ended, and the insurgents surrendered to the U.S. Marines and the Missionary Party. These are historical facts!

King Kalakaua reigned for 17 years until his death in 1891. He decided to take a trip to San Francisco to visit America and improve his health. The great King died of a stroke, kidney failure, and liver cirrhosis in San Francisco California on January 20th, 1891.

In keeping with King Kalakaua's wishes, his sister Liliuokalani ascended the throne becoming Queen on January 29, 1891. And whether people want to accept it or not, it's true that her monarchy would be faced with scandal, attempted coups, revolution, all one after the other. Like it or not, her reign reads like a road map to abdication. And as I said before, the only question is "to who?"

I'm told I'm making it up, but the facts don't lie. On March 1892, an abortive revolution was led by the Ashford brothers and R.W. Wilcox of the Liberal Party. The objective was to establish a Republic and then educate the people for future annexation to United States. Ironically, the very same conspirator leader Robert Wilcox who was so willing to help Liliuokalani overthrow her brother, then wanted to overthrow her.  After being arrested. a month later all charges were dropped and the conspirators were released.

I love history. I think movie makers and writers can do more with real history. I think the real story is, in most cases, a lot more fascinating than the legend and the fabricated made-up make-believe garbage that many accept as true. In the case of the Old West, many of the colorful personalities of the times were made even more colorful by way of bullshit artist called Dime Novelists. I find that today's movie makers are full of those same Dime Novelists who it seems can't tell the truth if their lives depended on it. But friends, my grandfather was right when he said, "Just tell the truth, people won't believe it anyway." Besides, I believe real history makes a better story.

And yes, I love history's ironies. I find it an irony that Queen Liliuokalani supported the same Wilcox in an attempted coup against her own brother King Kalakaua -- only to have the same man attempt one against her. It seemed as though karma came around full swing.

Less than a year later, on January 14, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani proposes to promulgate a new constitution that would give her powers of virtually absolute monarch not seen since Kamehameha The Great. She wanted to take control of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of government in the Kingdom. Many in Hawaii, including many in the government, saw this as too much intrusion by the Queen. That was when a group of mostly European, German, American, Hawaiian business leaders, and other Hawaiian subjects who formed a "Committee of Safety" over-threw the Kingdom to seek annexation by the United States.

United States Government Minister John L. Stevens, responding to a request from the "Committee of Safety," and requested that the a company of Marines aboard the USS Boston be sent to the palace.

From January 16th to April 1st of 1893, the U.S. Marines were back in Hawaii. Fact is that the Marines again landed to protect American lives and property there, and at the request of the Hawaiian government. Yes, it was the government that requested the Marines. They simply didn't just land on their own or at the orders of the American government. Besides, why would the American government want to "invade" Hawaii since the United States already had a Reciprocity Treaty with the Hawaiian government which gave them all sorts of benefits to use the harbors in Hawaii?

Unlike in 1874, in 1893 the American Marines did not fire a shot. They did not take control of any government building, seize any property, jail anyone, or conduct any combat action. They were positioned across from the Palace at the request of the Hawaiian government in charge and waited for orders. That's it. They did nothing else but wait.

The fact is that they were there because of the potential unrest as the internal crisis within the Hawaiian government continued. About 160 Marines landed, and were given specific orders by Captain G. C. Wiltse to "land in Honolulu for the purpose of protecting our legation, consulate, and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order."

Friends, that sounds a great deal like why they were called up in 1874. And yes, the Marines had seen the riots and rebellion of 1874 in Hawaii, and it was less then 20 year past that they had to "preserve public order" in Honolulu. They understood very well just how bad it could get.

Like it or not, from what I've read, the Marines were there as "U.S. Peace-Keepers" only. Marines were at the time stationed at Arion Hall, the U.S. Consulate, and the U.S. Legation, under "orders of strict neutrality" and to stay out of any potential line of fire between the Provisional Government and Royalist Forces. They were not to take sides and wait for the outcome of Hawaii's internal political mess..

Hawaiian History says that the Queen surrendered to "the superior force of the United States of America," but what did the under 200 Marines do to make her think they were a "superior force"? Besides the fact that they would have been outnumbered but the Hawaiian people, they didn't do anything but camp out and await orders.

As I've said before, American Marines landed and positioned themselves at the legislation building across from Iolani Palace and camped out. They sat and waited for orders, and when they were told to return to their ship -- they returned to their ship the USS Boston.

On January 27th, 1893, following the overthrow of the monarchy, the Provisional Government created Hawaiian military forces which was put under the command of Colonel John Harris Soper.

The Hawaiian military forces consisted of four Infantry Companies: three National Guard companies and one Regular Army company. The Hawaiian national guard companies were Company A which was made up of ethnic German volunteers, commanded by Charles W. Zeiler; Company B which was made up of members of the Honolulu Rifles, commanded by Hugh Gunn; and Company C was made up of ethnic Portuguese volunteers, my great-grandfather was supposedly a part of that unit, commanded by Joseph M. Camara. The regulars, not volunteers, were Company D, made up like B Company, from the Honolulu Rifles, commanded by John Good.

I'd like to see the look on the face of some of my relatives when they find out that the Provisional Government who over-threw Queen Liliuokalani actually had formed an Infantry Company made up of ethnic Portuguese volunteers, a few who were relations, to ensure they stay in power.

All of the Hawaiian military was active under the Provisional Government of Hawaii. And yes, they were used in the Leprosy War in 1893.

In 1894, the Republic of Hawaii increased the Hawaiian National Guard and its Regular Army by 1,000 when the United States threatened to invade Hawaii. Yes, the United States threatened to invade they island nation of Hawaii if those who overthrew the Queen did not but her back on the throne. Yes, that is a part of history that is conveniently left out of today's Hawaiian History books.

The Hawaiian National Guard and Regular Army were also used under the authority of the Republic of Hawaii during the 1895 attempted coup lead by Robert Wilcox and the former Queen.

After Hawaii was annexed becoming the Territory of Hawaii in 1898, all of the Hawaiian military forces entered service in the Army National Guard system and became part of the Hawaii Army National Guard there. Am I making this up? No. This is all a matter of historical record.

So now, ever wonder what Texas and Hawaii have in common when it comes to joining the United States?

Could it be that so-called "American expansionists" didn't want Texas or Hawaii? It's true, but we'll look at that in a few moments.

If you didn't know that the United States threatened to go to war with Hawaii in 1894, and invade the island nation of Hawaii, if those who overthrew the Queen did not but her back on the throne? That really happened!

The rest of the story regarding why the United States didn't want Hawaii has to do with United States President Grover Cleveland wanting absolutely nothing to do with Hawaii as a territory or a state or anything. He wanted the Provisional Government, and then the Republic of Hawaii, to simply give the government back to the Queen.

As for the Queen, she was all for regaining her throne. But also, it is said that she wanted to behead all involved in her overthrow. At least, that was her position at first.

In the last days of President Benjamin Harrison's administration, the new government of Hawaii led by Sanford Dole petitioned for annexation by the United States. The United States consul in Hawaii John L. Stevens took it upon himself to recognize the new government on February 1, 1893 and forwarded their proposals to Washington D.C..

With just one month left before leaving office, the Harrison administration signed a treaty on February 14th and submitted it to the Senate the next day with President Harrison's lackadaisical recommendation for annexation. President Harrison may have realized that Americans did not want Hawaii as part of the United States the same way Americans didn't want Texas in the 1840s.
Since the U.S. Senate was against Hawaii Annexation, they refused to vote on it. Since in-coming President Grover Cleveland was against it, he withdrew the treaty shortly after taking office.

In late 1893, James H. Blount, Cleveland's newly appointed American minister to Hawaii arrived in Hawaii and expressed President Cleveland's desire to give Hawaii back to the Queen. It is a fact that Blount spoke with the Queen and all interested parties -- which included the Annexationists in power and the Restorationists who wanted to put the Queen back on the throne.

President Cleveland agreed with Minister Blount in that Queen should be restored. Albert S. Willis replace James Blount as President Cleveland's next American minister to Hawaii. He too set out to negotiate with all parties and even offered the crown back to the Queen on the condition that she pardon and grant general amnesty to those who had dethroned her.

She initially refused and wanted to behead all involved in her overthrow, but soon changed her mind and offered clemency. The problem was that this delay is said to have compromised her political position, and by then President Cleveland wanted nothing more to do with Hawaii or its request for annexation. He in fact released the entire issue of the Hawaiian revolution and possible annexation to the United States Congress for debate. He knew full well that there were many anti-Annexationists in Congress, especially the Senate, that it would linger there for years without any action being taken.

People can say that Hawaii was part of some supposedly American expansionist policy, a supposed American Imperialism of some sort, but from what I can see -- they are wrong.

Fact is President Cleveland saw Hawaiians no differently than he saw the American Indian, which he saw as being nothing but a problem. He saw them aw being possible wards to be taken cared of like the way he saw the tribes of the American Indians. For this and a few other reasons, including his belief that America should not be like the European Imperialists who wanted their flags planted in every piece of foreign soil they could, President Cleveland was totally against having Hawaii join the United States.

Remember, between 1865 and 1898, America had military involvement in Panama, China, Mexico, Nicaragua, Formosa, Japan, Uruguay, Colombia, Hawaii, Egypt, Argentina, Chili, Korea, Haiti, and even Samoa. None of which became American colonies.

In fact, if the United States wanted to take over Hawaii, why did the United States give it back to the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1874 when United States Marines took over all of the government there? Instead of just reinstating order and handing it over to the Hawaiian monarchy, America was in the perfect position to declare it their own -- but didn't.

President Cleveland did not want Hawaii to be part of the United States and said so in many letters. His fervent objections to allowing Hawaii to become part of the United States proves that the United States government was not behind the overthrow. And yes, besides President Cleveland, the U.S. Senate at the time did not want Hawaii to become part of the United States. These fact alone shoots down the claim that the United States was behind the Queen's overthrow. But no, those facts don't serve the anti-American attitude in Hawaii by some today.

Frankly, let's be honest here and look at what took place. If the United States was behind the overthrow, then they had a strange way of showing it. For instance, if the United States was behind the coup, why be against taking over Hawaii once the coup was successful?

Why be against annexation? Why even go so far as to threaten the Hawaiian Republic with war if those involved in the Queen's overthrow don't put her back on the throne?

Does that make any sense if the United States was really behind the overthrow? Why threaten war and demand that people reinstate the Queen if you supported the people who overthrew the Queen?

Fact is, since the United States didn't want to annex Hawaii, for the United States to annex Hawaii -- believe it or not, Annexationsists in Hawaii had to actually go to Washington D.C., and bypass the President to lobby Congress for annexation. Friends, while the lobbying paid off in the House, it did not work in the Senate which was staunchly against annexation of Hawaii..

On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford B. Dole as president was proclaimed. It was recognized immediately by the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, and other governments.

Upon the inauguration of William McKinley as President of the United States on March 4, 1897, the Republic of Hawaii resumed pushing for annexation with the United States with the hopes of finding a more receptive president in the White House. They already had two American presidents who passed the buck and didn't want Hawaii to join the United States, so their prayers were answered in President McKinley.

By 1898, President McKinley saw the islands as having gained a strategic relevance in the wake of the Spanish-American War. But frankly, it was a lot more than just the Spanish-American War which made President McKinley give serious consideration to Hawaii.

Although the United States was secure in knowing that it had a good relationship built on trade and military assistance, which included a treaty with Hawaii, at the time, Britain, France, Germany, the Dutch, and Japan had shown interest in annexing the islands for themselves.

Great Britain, Germany, France, the Dutch, and the Japanese all had holding in the Pacific, and all were interested in Hawaii's ports. While some wanted Great Britain over the Japanese and the French, there were those in Hawaii who wanted Hawaii to be part of the Japanese Empire because Japan's Empire stretched far into the Pacific. And yes, Hawaii had already started to recognize a growing Japanese population in Hawaii.

After researching this over the years, I truly believe that a number of factors had to come together to enable a new treaty of annexation to be signed with the United States on June 16th, 1898. But even then, there was no guarantee that it would take place.

Was it a sure thing to be ratified by Congress? Absolutely not. And frankly, it was because the United States really didn't want it. Two facts that people should understand about the times. First, while many make it sound as if the United States was an Imperialist power out planting the American flag everywhere in the world, that simply was not the case. American Imperialism had to do with business instead of gaining territory. If you don't think so, ask yourself why Americans didn't plant our flag in places like Egypt, Haiti, Panama, Korea, and many other places where we saw military intervention while actively protecting American lives from 1865 to 1900.

Don't think so, read this: The Late 1800s - U.S. Military Action Abroad

After reading that information, ask yourself if we had the opportunity to plant our flag but didn't -- especially when comparing our lack of wanting foreign territory to that of Great Britain, Germany, France, and others who were expanding their empires.

And while Americans could have planted our flag in Hawaii very easily, especially in 1874 when we had complete control of the Kingdom's government structure, most Americans didn't want Hawaii because they saw Hawaii as being a foreign land.

So where does Texas fit in to this story?

Well, while people make all sorts of claims about how American expansionism was in full gear to cobble up territory, most people do not realize that Americans were against the annexation of Texas in the 1840s. Yes, this was the case. In fact, the people in Texas took the American refusal of annexation to heart and actually looked into alternatives to joining the United States. One alternative, believe it or not, included negotiating a return to Mexico at one point. Yes, it's true.

Yes, a treaty regarding the annexation of Texas could not be passed until some political maneuvering took place. Some even called it manipulating the U.S. Constitution. And my point is this, if this is how Americans felt about Texas, I really don't think it mattered to most Americans if Hawaii was returned to the Hawaiian monarchy.

As for what took place with the problems and reluctance of the U.S. Senate to approve the annexation of Texas, the success of the joint Congress vote on Texas annexation did in fact set a precedent, known as the "Tyler Precedent," that would be applied to how the United States dealt with a vote on Hawaii's annexation.

Yes, since annexation of Texas could not be approved in the Senate, both houses of Congress met in a Joint Session to vote on Texas annexation. That's how Texas annexation got around the Senate denying them entry. This same ploy was used to get Hawaii admitted to the United States. Trickery or not, it worked in favor of those who wanted Texas and later Hawaii as parts of the U.S..

I know it is hard to believe that Americans were not the "expansionists" which History Revisionists want us to believe. But evidence shows that Washington D.C. was against annexation of Hawaii in the exact same way as they were against American expansion and the annexation of Texas in the 1840s.

Yes, it is a matter of historical fact that Americans were not in favor of the annexation of Texas or Hawaii, and only political maneuvering and a vote by a Joint Session of Congress allowed them to join the United States. Frankly, reading everything that I have on the annexation of Texas and Hawaii, as unbelievable as it sounds, it is very easy for anyone to conclude that the United States may have been for expanding West but really did not want both Texas or Hawaii.

So why all of the trickery to get Hawaii admitted?

Well, remember that for most of the 1800s, there were many in Washington who were concerned that Hawaii might become part of a European nation's empire -- like say that of Great Britain, France, or Germany. This belief was spurred on during the 1830s when Britain and France forced the Hawaiian monarchy to accept treaties giving Britain and France economic privileges.

In 1842, Secretary of State Daniel Webster sent a letter affirming U.S. interests in Hawaii and opposing annexation by any other nation. He stated that no nation should seek special privileges or engage in further colonization of the islands.

In 1849, the United States and Hawaii concluded a treaty of friendship that served as the basis of official relations between the two nations. But in the 1850s, the Hawaiian monarchy requested annexation with the United States. It was then that Hawaii set about plans to join the United States. And yes, part of the reason was that Hawaii's economy became increasingly integrated with the United States.

The 1875 trade reciprocity treaty was a "free-trade" treaty which benefited the economies of both Hawaii and the United States. This resulted in closer ties, but that treaty would be void if Hawaii was annexed by a European power. And yes, by 1897, that possibility became real and of concern to the McKinley administration.

Remember, in 1893 out-going Republican President Benjamin Harrison attempted to annex Hawaii through a Senate treaty but failed. When that failed, President Harrison was asked to consider the "Texas Precedent," also known as the "Tyler Precedent," for a Joint Session of Congress vote for annexation of Hawaii but he declined.

Since Democrat President Grover Cleveland did not want anything to do with the annexation of Hawaii, he actually tried to kill the question. Then when President William McKinley took office in 1897, he resubmitted legislation to acquire Hawaii.

President McKinley knowing that the two-thirds of the Senate support was not going to take place, he invoked the "Tyler Precedent" for the Joint Session of Congress resolution. That was how President McKinley successfully applied the same means of annexing Texas in the 1840s to annexing Hawaii in July of 1898.

As the Senate appeared against the idea of ratifying the new treaty, its supporters took extreme measures by passing the Newlands Resolution. That made the "Tyler Precedent" of the Joint Session of Congress accepted, and the Senate subsequently ratified and confirmed the Newlands Resolution by a vote of 42 to 21. The House of Representatives accepted the Newlands Resolution by a vote of 209 to 91. With that, President McKinley signed the annexation bill on July 7th, 1898.

So there you have it. After 5 years of trying to give it back to the Queen, with even the threat of going to war, annexation of Hawaii was like that of Texas in that it was passed from one president to another for three administrations almost like an unwanted stepchild -- all until it was finally passed using the same political maneuvering that brought Texas into the Union.

The formal claim of transfer of sovereignty took place on August 12th, 1898 with the hoisting of the flag of the United States over Iolani Palace.

This is all history. And no, I don't have make it up. It's all there for anyone to find. If one wants to know the truth about what took place, the truth is out there. But frankly, people are not going to find out what took place by being narrow minded and only accept what those with an anti-American agenda want us to think.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. Wait, what? The United States didn't want Hawaii? More like Aloha Ouch. Haha.


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