IntroductionFrom the beginningof history within the United States, expanding control on territories abroadand near had been a major goal. Historically, we are a country infested with”old-fashioned habits of greed, selfishness, great-power competition, andimperialism” (Van Dyke). At the conclusion of the Manifest Destiny era, theUnited States was filled with growing opportunities and modernization, and wasbecoming increasingly known in “world affairs” (Van Dyke). November of 1896when “William McKinley, a Republican Senator from Ohio, defeated DemocratGrover Cleveland as President, and took office four months later in March 1897″(Van Dyke), the United States was in the midst of the Spanish American War.
Yetagain, the war presented the US in its natural light of imperialism. At thecost of the explosion of the USS Maine, McKinley sent US forces into Spain, andmonths of fighting went on. At the war’s conclusion Spain agreed to annexPuerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, and as a responsethe United States “withdrew its forces from Cuba” (Van Dyke). In the eyes ofthe world and the American people, The United States had become an evenstronger world power, and the quest for more economic and political interestsintensified. The islands of Hawaii were formally annexed in 1898, in the midstof the extreme pursuit for more territory by the U.
S. Consequently, Hawaiiwould no longer remain as it was before, and for that it should be claimed thatHawaii is a stolen kingdom. BackgroundThe road toannexation for Hawaii, was much worse than most can imagine. Years of conflictbetween both “native Hawaiians and white American businessmen for control ofthe Hawaiian government” (Schamel) continued on until the United Statesofficial declared Hawaii an American Territory. The Hawaiian lands were filledwith many national interests, different ideologies, and strategies, which whenpresented to the U.S, was seen as a key factor that could take the UnitedStates economy to its peak.Before theannexation, however, it is important to know that Hawaii and the United Stateshad a relationship with one another. Decades before the annexation of Hawaiiwas in the minds of the U.
S, Captain James hook introduced the concept ofself-governance to the Hawaiian people. They went from being a nation “governedby individual chiefs or kings, to an island united under the rule of a singlemonarch, King Kamehameha, in 1795, less than two decades after Cook’s arrival” (Schamel). However,although it was the Americans who introduced this type of government in Hawaii,the struggle for control over the country was great.
This internal struggleseemed to displease the King, so in turn he signed “a reciprocity treaty withthe United States making it possible for sugar to be sold to the U.S. markettax-free, but “white” – businessmen were still distrustful of him” (Schamel).They believed King Kamehameha was too influenced by his Hawaiian beliefs, and”used the threat of violence to force the Kalakua to accept a new constitutionthat stripped the monarchy of executive powers and replaced the cabinet withmembers of the businessmen’s party” (Schamel).
Following thedeath of the King, Lili’uokalani, his sister, became his predecessor as the newQueen of Hawaii. The trading of local resources like sugar, coffee, and othergoods, between both countries continued, although the tension seemingly builtup. In the 1850s, the sugar production in Hawaii was beginning to rapidlyincrease, causing the economy to grow tremendously.
Being that the economy inHawaii was booming, this gave the United States, yet, another reason to makeHawaii there’s before any other world power would. At this same time,the Queen was facing extreme pressure from her people to “draft a newconstitution in an attempt to restore native rights and powers. The move wascountered by the Committee on Annexation, a small group of white businessmenand politicians who felt that annexation by the United States, the majorimporter of Hawaiian agricultural products, would be beneficial for the economyof Hawaii” (Schamel). The U.S Minister and a group of American businessmen tookit upon themselves, and overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani in a coup d’etat. It was at thistime that “Minister Stevens then recognized the new government and proclaimedHawaii a U.
S. protectorate” (Schamel). President Benjamin Harrison, withoutratification from the House of Senate, signed the treaty that would annexHawaii, but was unsuccessful as Grover Cleveland came into power. Although Cleveland made attempts torestore Lili’uokalani as Queen, the president of the provisional government refused,and Hawaii soon became recognized as part of the United States.
The Effect on Hawaii Thenative Hawaiians opposed this new government, and decided to stage mass protestrallies, protesting against the annexation. To the natives of Hawaii, this wasseen as an “act of war” (Shepardson). Some of these rallies were some of thelargest and most organized protests to be seen in Hawaii. Thousands of peopleall over the island came together and “congregated to send a clear message tothe U.S.
Congress and the President of the United States that the vast majorityof the people of Hawai’i were against any annexation of Hawaii to the UnitedStates” (“Annexation 1897-1997”). Manysenators from the U.S. gave speeches at these rallies trying to ease the mindsof the natives, explaining to them what the benefits of having an Americanstatus would be. However, this did nothing for the native people, because tothem Hawaii was an independent nation, if it wasn’t “for the policy of greed whichpervades the American Legislators and the spirit of cowardice which is in thebreasts of those who first consummated the theft of Hawaiian prestige”(“Annexation 1897-1997”). How the Treaty was achieved BeforeQueen Lili’uokalani was monarch, there was King Kalakaua, her brother.
When hewon the election with the support of the sugar planters, in return, the newking agreed to vigorously support a Reciprocity Treaty, a treaty created by thewhite businessmen who sought economic interests in Hawaii. When Kalakauavisited the U.S. and addressed a joint session of Congress, he asked thepresident to approve the Reciprocity Treaty.
Without his knowledge, a specialclause was quietly inserted into the treaty, prohibiting any nation from usingPearl Harbor, this allowed America to establish a naval base, legally, ontoHawaii. The United States’ desire to have control over Pearl Harbor is what,essentially, led Senate to passing the Reciprocity Treaty. The treaty producedmany positive benefits for the Hawaiian economy and for Hawaii’s largeplantations. However, it was this same treaty that helped the United Statesreduce the monarch’s power. This treaty ended up backfiring on his successorQueen Lili’uokalani, who tried to restore Hawaii’s old orders, due to pressuresfrom the natives of the land who were not happy with the changes, but wasunfortunately overthrown by the U.S. The treaty, in essence, greatly helped theUnited States annex Hawaii as there was now minimal forces to stop them.
TheTreaty of Annexation came soon after, given that the United States had almost completecontrol of Hawaii. ConclusionAmerica’s guiltwas apparent even to those in power at the time. When President Cleveland readBlount’s report he acknowledged America’s guilt in the annexation of Hawaii,accusing diplomat Stevens and Captain Wiltse of committing a “lawlessoccupation..
. armed invasion…an act of war.
..” (Kauanui). There was nojustifiable reason for having U.
S. forces land on Hawaii to secure Americanlife and property, because there was no apparent danger. When Grover Clevelandbecame president, he sent a message to congress saying that, “the landing ofthe United States forces upon false pretexts of danger to life and property ismeans of treason by overthrowing the Queen’s Government” (“Senate Committeepasses…”). United Nations had a list of territories that werenon-self-governing, and on that list was Hawaii. The act made it possible forHawaii to be “eligible for decolonization under international law”. However,”the United States-in clear violation of UN policy and internationallaw-predetermined statehood as the status for Hawaii” (“Senate Committeepasses…”).
By illegally overthrowing the Queen, forcing native Hawaiiansunsuccessfully protest for their freedom, and blatantly ignoring the policiesof the United Nations, Hawaii can be called a “stolen kingdom”.