Annexation of Hawaii

The 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii

The last monarch of Hawaii was Queen Lili’uokalani in 1892, which was later replaced by a provisional government. President Benjamin Harrison, submitted a treaty to annex the Hawaiian Islands to the U. S. Senate for ratification. In 1897, the treaty for annexation was declined only 46 senators in favor of the treaty less than 2/3 of the majority needed for approval.

This all changed when the U.S.S. Maine in February of 1898 exploded, causing the U. S. to start the Spanish-American War. A need for a mid-Pacific fueling location to be critical, the Hawaiian Islands were the optimum choice. On July 21, 1898 the resolution had passed and the Hawaiian Islands were officially annexed by the United States.

People of Hawaii were not happy about the idea of Annexation by the United States. On January 5, 1895 an armed revolt was an attempt to stop the annexation, the leader was Queen Lili’uokalani who was placed in jail after. Between September 11 and October 2, 1897 two groups collected petition signatures at public meetings in hopes of the U.S. government would realize that the majority of the Hawaiians opposed annexation. These were signed by 21,269 native Hawaiian people, more than half of the 39,000 Hawaiians living in Hawaii. Four delegates James Kaulia, David Kalauokalani, John Richardson, and William Auld arrived in Hawaii on December 6th, with a 556 page petition in hand. They met up with Lili’uokalani who was already in the U.S. fighting against the annexation, where they created a strategy to present the petition to the Senate. Days later the delegated met in Washington on February 27, 1898, where 46 senators were willing to vote for annexation.

The 50th star was added the United States Nation Flag, which was originally made by Betsy Ross in 1776, later changed do to the amount of states.

The Hawaiian Islands remained a U.S. territory until 1959, where they became a state, the 50th state. The petition against the annexation is proof of how the people of Hawaii felt about the annexation. Everything changed when the U.S.S. Maine exploded and the U.S. entered the Spanish-American War.

Men’s Petition Against Annexation of Hawaii

Women’s Petition against Annexation of Hawaii

History of Hawaiian Leaders

The United States had a business relationship with Hawaii in 1887, when David Kalkaua was at the head of the Hawaiian Throne, a treaty was signed making it possible for the U.S. to market tax-free sugar from Hawaii. A scandal involving Kalakaua occurred the year he was crowned, the threat of violence caused him to accept a new constitution that stripped the monarch of executive powers and replaced with a businessman’s party. The constitution was effective, known as the “Bayonet Constitution” because Kalakaua signed it under a threat by force. When King Kalakaua dies in 1892, his sister Lili’uokalani took power, being persusaded by the people to create a new constitution to restore new native rights and power.

The United States Committee on Annexation, a group of businessman and politicians believed that it would not be beneficial for the economy of Hawaii to enstate the new constitution. Lead by John Stavens the Committee on Annexation overthrew Lili’uokalani on January 17, 1892 (without any physical fighting) and established a revolutionary government or a government in power, the Committee proclaimed itself to be the Provisional Government.

The Government Today is ran by the President of the United States where the people of the 50thstate vote for their leaders. The Government is a Democracy where they have local leader like the United States, Governors, Mayors, etc. This allows the people of Hawaii to have a say in their government. A lot has changed with the leadership of Hawaii, from pre-annexation till today (post-annexation).

The decision to Annex was made with concern, but overall made by the entering of the Spanish-American War and the need of a mid-Pacific fueling post. At first decisions were not sure if the right decision was made, I am sure, the U.S. caused change to the society and culture of Hawaii but the decision to imperialism the territory of Hawaii was correct, this was done apporiately without the means of war.


(Provisional Government)- Is an emergency or intern government set up when a political void has been created by the collapse of a previous leadership. A provisional government holds power until elections can be held or a permanent government can be established.

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