The Debate over Hawaii and an American Overseas Empire

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The Debate over Hawaii and an American
Overseas Empire
Revolutionaries easily overthrew the native Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. The
United States then debated for five years whether to annex the former kingdom and
launch an American overseas empire.
By 1795, the warrior chief, Kamehameha the Great, had conquered most of the Hawaiian
islands and established a monarchy. In the 1820s, American whalers, traders, and
Christian missionaries began to visit and settle in the kingdom of Hawaii.
Although a small minority, the Americans in Hawaii soon owned much of the land,
which they began to tum into large sugar-cane plantations. The native Hawaiian
population dropped sharply due to smallpox and other diseases that came with the
American immigrants. Needing more workers, the sugar planters imported Chinese and
Japanese contract laborers who agreed to work on the plantations for a set period of time.
As their influence increased, the Americans became deeply involved with the government
of the Hawaiian kings. In 1840, American advisors helped King Kamehameha III
produce Hawaii's fa~! written constitution.
By 1842, the United States had developed regular diplomatic relations with Hawaii and
supported its status as an independent country. After King David Kalakaua ascended the
throne in 1874, Hawaii and the United States signed a trade agreement lifting some
restrictions on exporting Hawaiian sugar to the United States. In addition. this agreement
permitted the United States to lease a naval station at Pearl Harbor.
For a long time, Americans (both U.S. citizens and those born in Hawaii of American
parents) had resented living under the Hawaiian monarchy. They believed that since they
owned about two-thirds of the land and paid the majority of taxes, they deserved a greater
say in the government.
In 1887, a group of armed Americans forced King Kalakaua to agree to a ne'0':
constjtutio_~1 that weakened his power. This constitution also contained property
requirements that prevented about 75 percent of the native Hawaiians from voting for
representatives to the legislature.
After Kalakaua's death in 1891, his sister, Lydia Liliuokalani, became queen. She was
determined to reclaim the monarchy's old power on behalf of her people.
On January 14, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani announced her intention to proclaim a new
constitution on her own authority. On hearing this news, a group of about a dozen, mainly
American, business and political leaders started plotting to overthrow the monarchy.
Almost immediately, the queen withdrew her plan for a new constitution. But the
revolutionaries claimed that Liliuokalani had given up her right to rule by violating her
oath to the current constitution.
On January 16, the U.S. diplomatic representative in Honolulu, John Stevens, asked the
U.S. Navy "to protect the life and property of American citizens." Four boatloads of
marines from an American warship in the harbor came ashore, marched into the city, and
surrounded the royal palace. Stevens granted U.S. recognition to the provisional
government that the revolutionaries had formed.
The revolutionaries appointed Sanford Dole, the son of American missionary parents and
a Hawaiian Supreme Court justice, to head the provisional government. On January 17,
Dole and a few hundred armed supporters went to the palace to demand the queen's
surrender. With nearly 200 American troops nearby, Queen Liliuokalani surrendered
under protest. "I yield to the superior force of the United States of America," she said.
The provisional government immediately sent a commission to the United States to
persuade President Benjamin Harrison and Congress to annex Hawaii as a U.S. territory.
A few months after the Hawaiian Revolution, an American naval historian, Captain
Alfred Mahan, published a stunning article titled, "Hm\·aii 9ndOur Future Sea Pmver."
Mahan argued that the United States should abandon its tradition of isolationism and. like
imperial Great Britain, acquire an overseas empire, starting with Hawaii. Mahan's essay
marked the beginning of a long and often bitter debate in the United States on the
question of whether the United States should become an imperial world power.
President Cleveland Says No
President Harrison harbored some doubts about the revolution in Hawaii, but he signed
an annexation treaty with the provisional government in February 1893. He sent the
treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
Back in Hawaii, the provisional government, consisting of about 20 white men, began to
worry about the native Hawaiian majority that the revolutionaries had largely ignored.
The provisional government declared martial law and ordered newspapers not to stir up
trouble. The new government also persuaded John Stevens, the U.S. diplomat, to place
Hawaii under temporary American military protection.
Popular opinion in the United States favored the treaty. But the presidency changed from
Republican Harrison to Democrat Grover Cleveland, who objected to the use of U.S.
troops in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Cleveland withdrew the treaty from the
Senate.
President Cleveland appointed a former member of Congress, John Blount, to go to
Hawaii to find out what had happened. Blount interviewed the members of the
provisional government, supporters of the revolution and the monarchy, and Queen
Liliuokalani herself. She told Blount that the "missionary party" had worked for years so
that "their children might some day be rulers over these Islands."
Blount's fact-finding report convinced President Cleveland that U.S. diplomat John
Stevens had acted improperly by calling for American troops, whose presence caused the
queen to surrender. Cleveland sent a new diplomat to Hawaii to pressure the provisional
government to restore the monarchy and the queen to grant amnesty to the
revolutionaries.
The provisional government refused to accept Cleveland's demands. Sanford Dole,
president of the provisional government, declared that the United States had no right to
interfere in Hawaii's internal affairs. Surprisingly, the queen at first also refused to go
along with Cleveland, saying she would never pardon the revolutionaries. She changed
her mind and offered amnesty. But by this time, Cleveland had decided to let Congress
debate the Hawaiian issue.
The Republic of Hawaii
Sanford Dole and the other members of the provisional government recognized that the
United States probably would never annex Hawaii as long as Cleveland was in the White
House. So they decided that they had better form a more permanent government.
In June 1894, a convention, composed mostly of Hawaiian-born Americans and foreign
residents, produced a new constitution for the Republic of Hawaii. The constitution
named Sanford Dole the first president. It stated that the republic's main goal was to be
annexed by the United States. The constitution placed property and income qualifications
on the right to vote and required voters to take an oath against restoring the monarchy.
The provisional government proclaimed the constitution on July 4, 1894, without any
ratification vote by the people.
In January 1895, about 300 supporters of Queen Liliuokalani took up arms and attempted
to restore her to power. But the government quickly defeated and captured the royalist
rebels.
The government established a military commission, tried about 200 rebels for treason,
and sentenced most of them to prison. The government also tried the queen for treason.
She denied any involvement with the rebellion, but declared that she owed no allegiance
to the Republic of Hawaii, only to her people. After finding her guilty, the government
restricted her to an apartment in the palace. Within a year, the government freed all the
royalist prisoners, including the queen.
"It Is Manifest Destiny"
Republican William McKinley won the American presidential election of 1896. He acted
quickly to sign a new annexation treaty shortly after he took office in 1897. Again, the
question of Hawaiian annexation moved to the U.S. Senate.
Imperialists, like Captain Mahan and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore
Roosevelt, argued that annexing Hawaii would help the United States become a world
power. But the anti-imperialists opposed annexation. "The mission of our nation," said
former President Cleveland, "is to build up and make a greater country out of what we
have, instead of annexing islands." Thus, the fate of Hawaii became entwined in the
larger debate over whether the United States should acquire an overseas empire.
By 1897, two powerful American interest groups had joined the anti-imperialists in
opposing Hawaii annexation. The sugar beet industry did not want to compete with
cheaper Hawaiian sugar. Also, many labor unions disliked the contract labor system in
Hawaii and feared Chinese and Japanese workers from there would flood into the
mainland, driving down wages.
The annexation effort bogged down in the Senate where a two-thirds majority is
necessary for treaty ratification. But on February 15, 1898, the U.S. ship Maine exploded
in Havana Harbor. Soon afterward, the United States declared war on Spain and invaded
Cuba. Then on May 1, Admiral George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in the
Philippines. Suddenly, Hawaii's strategic location halfway to the Philippines revived
interest in annexation.
The annexationists abandoned their treaty ratification campaign in the Senate. They
decided to seek a joint resolution by the House of Representatives and the Senate to
annex Hawaii. This required only a simple majority vote in each house. "We need Hawaii
just as much and a good deal more than we did California," said President McKinley. "It
is Manifest Destiny."
Hawaii and Empire
While the war against Spain continued during the summer of 1898, supporters of
Hawaiian annexation made their case in Congress. Many pointed out the necessity of
Hawaii as a refueling station for Navy ships on their way to reinforce American troops in
the Philippines. Most of those speaking out for annexation, however, argued that Hawaii
was essential for expanding trade with China and other Asian countries.
The House passed the Hawaiian annexation resolution 209-91 on June 15. Sensing defeat,
the anti-annexationists made their last stand during a Senate filibuster (a delaying tactic
in which Senators give never-ending speeches). They hoped to talk the resolution to
death.
Senator Stephen White of California led the filibuster. "The annexation of Hawaii," he
said, "will constitute the entering wedge for an imperialistic policy." He and his allies
asked whether Americans should forget their own anti-colonial war for independence and
establish a colonial empire of foreign peoples.
The filibuster speakers argued Hawaii had little military value. The United States already
leased Pearl Harbor, and refueling at the island of Kiska (part of American Alaska)
provided a shorter route to the Philippines than stopping over in Hawaii. Besides,
defending Hawaii would spread the Navy too thin.
Many Senate speakers doubted that Hawaii could fit into our democracy. Some
questioned the capability of the native Hawaiians to vote and participate as U.S. citizens.
Senator White asked if Americans should affiliate with Hawaiians who lived "far
removed and alien to us in language and ideas." Others criticized that the natives, who
still made up a large majority of the population, had never voted on annexing their
country to the United States.
After two weeks of speech making, the anti-annexationists gave up their filibuster. On
July 6, the Senate voted 42-21 to pass the joint resolution. President McKinley signed the
measure the next day. Two years later, Congress passed the Qrganic Act, making Hawaii
a U.S. territory and setting up its government. In the end, immediate wartime pressures
and a desire to expand markets overseas combined to hand victory to the annexationists
and imperialists.
Sanford Dole, the former president of the Hawaiian Republic, was appointed territorial
governor. The first territorial elections, held in the fall of 1900, proved shocking.
Candidates favoring Hawaiian independence won a majority of seats in both houses of
the new territorial legislature. One of the royalist rebels, who had taken up arms to restore
Queen Liliuokalani to power in 1895, was elected as Hawaii's first delegate to Congress.
But this was the last election in which candidates supporting independence showed such
strength. In 1902, Hawaiian Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi ran for Congress as
a Republican and won. After that, the independence movement faded away.
*****
The debate in Congress over Hawaiian annexation took five years. During that time, the
imperialists and anti-imperialists thoroughly argued their positions. After the SpanishAmerican War, Congress took less than a year to approve the acquisition of the
Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Wake Island. The United States then had its
overseas empire.
For Discussion and Writing
1. Do you think the United States should have annexed Hawaii in 1898? Why or
why not?
2. Why did President Cleveland and President McKinley differ over annexing
Hawaii?
3. What role did Hawaii play in establishing an American empire?
For Further Information
Ha1n1ii's StQ_D'_By Queen Liliuokalani.
t!a_~vaii
Loghj11gBack A history by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper.
The Rom! Familv of Hawaii A history of Hawaii.
The Annexation of Hawaii: A Collection of Documents From the University of Hawaii at
Manoa Libraries.
Psl?<it~~Qy~Jhe
A,g11exation o(tl!lw<t_ii Excerpt from historian Hubert Bancroft's history
of the United States written in the early 1900s.
ACTIVITY
Should America Have an Empire?
In this class debate, one-third of the students will role-play the imperialists of 1898 who
favored an American overseas empire. Another third of the students will role-play the
anti-imperialists who opposed an empire. The final third of the students will represent the
American public who will decide the debate.
1. The imperialists and anti-imperialists will research the article and other sources to
find arguments for their positions.
2. The American public will research the article to develop questions to ask each of
the debating groups.
3. The Debate
a. Round One: The imperialists make their arguments and answer questions from
the American public.
b. Round Two: The anti-imperialists make their arguments and answer questions
from the American public.
c. Round Three: The imperialists and anti-imperialists ask each other questions
and make counter-arguments. The American public observes.
d. Final Round: The members of the American public discuss the merits of the
arguments they have heard and then take a vote on the debate question.
Teaching With Documents:
The 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii
Background
When the Hawaiian islands were formally annexed by the United States in 1898, the event marked
end of a lengthy internal struggle between native Hawaiians and white American businessmen for
control of the Hawaiian government. In 1893 the last monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili'uokalani, was
overthrown by party of businessmen, who then imposed a provisional government. Soon after,
President Benjamin Harrison submitted a treaty to annex the Hawaiian islands to the U.S. Senate for
ratification. In 1897, the treaty effort was blocked when the newly-formed Hawaiian Patriotic League,
composed of native Hawaiians, successfully petitioned the U.S. Congress in opposition of the treaty.
The League's lobbying efforts left only 46 Senators in favor of the resolution, less than the 2/3 majority
needed for approval of a treaty. The League's victory was shortlived, however as unfolding world
events soon forced the annexation issue to the fore again. With the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in
February of 1898 signaling the start of the Spanish American War, establishing a mid-Pacific fueling
station and naval base became a strategic imperative for the United States. The Hawaiian islands
were the clear choice, and this time Congress moved to annex the Hawaiian islands by Joint
Resolution, a process requiring only a simple majority in both houses of Congress. On July 12, 1898,
the Joint Resolution passed and the Hawaiian islands were officially annexed by the United States.
The Hawaiian islands had a well-established culture and long history of self-governance when Captain
James Cook, the first European explorer to set foot on Hawaii, landed in 1778. The influence of
European and American settlers quickly began to alter traditional ways of life. Originally governed by
individual chiefs or kings, the islands united under the rule of a single monarch, King Kamehameha, in
1795, less than two decades after Cook's arrival. Later the traditional Hawaiian monarchy was
overthrown in favor of a constitutional monarchy. Eventually, the monarchy itself was abandoned in
favor of a government elected by a small group of enfranchised voters, although the Hawaiian
monarch was retained as the ceremonial head of the government. Even elements of daily life felt the
social and economic impact of the white planters, missionaries and businessmen. The landholding
system changed, and many aspects of traditonal culture were prohibited including teaching the
Hawaiian language and performing the native Hula dance.
In 1887, the struggle for control of Hawaii was at its height as David Kalakaua was elected to the
Hawaiian throne. King Kalakaua signed a reciprocity treaty with the United States making it possible
for sugar to be sold to the U.S. market tax-free, but the haole - or "white" - businessmen were still
distrustful of him. They criticized his ties to men they believed to be corrupt, his revival of Hawaiian
traditions such as the historic Hula, and construction of the royal lolani Palace. A scandal involving
Kalakaua erupted in the very year he was crowned, and it united his opponents, a party of
businessmen under the leadership of Lorrin Thurston. The opposition used the threat of violence to
force the Kalakua to accept a new constitution that stripped the monarchy of executive powers and
replaced the cabinet with members of the businessmen's party. The new constitution, which effectively
disenfranchised most native Hawaiian voters, came to be known as the "Bayonet Constitution"
because Kalakaua signed it under duress.
When King Kalakaua died in 1891, his sister Lili'uokalani succeeded him, and members of the native
population persuaded the new queen to draft a new constitution in an attempt to restore native rights
and powers. The move was countered by the Committee on Annexation, a small group of white
businessmen and politicians who felt that annexation by the United States, the major importer of
Hawaiian agricultural products, would be beneficial for the economy of Hawaii. Supported by John
Stevens, the U.S. Minister to Hawaii, and a contingent of Marines from the warship, U.S.S. Boston, the
Committee on Annexation overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani in a bloodless coup on January 17, 1893 and
established a revolutionary regime.
Without permission from the U.S. State Department, Minister Stevens then recognized the new
government and proclaimed Hawaii a U.S. protectorate. The Committee immediately proclaimed itself
to be the Provisional Government. President Benjamin Harrison signed a treaty of annexation with the
new government, but before the Senate could ratify it. Grover Cleveland replaced Harrison as
president and subsequently withdrew the treaty.
Shortly into his presidency, Cleveland appointed James Blount as a special investigator to investigate
the events in the Hawaiian Islands. Blount found that Minister Stevens had acted improperly and
ordered that the American flag be lowered from Hawaiian government buildings. He also ordered that
Queen Lili'uokalani be restored to power, but Sanford Dole, the president of the Provisional
Government of Hawaii, refused to turn over power. Dole successfully argued that the United States
had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Hawaii. The Provisional Government then proclaimed
Hawaii a republic in 1894, and soon the Republic of Hawaii was officially recognized by the United
States.
The overthrow of Lili'uokalani and imposition of the Republic of Hawaii was contrary to the will of the
native Hawaiians. Native Hawaiians staged mass protest rallies and formed two gender-designated
groups to protest the overthrow and prevent annexation. One was the Hui Hawaii Aloha Aina, loosely
translated as the Hawaiian Patriotic League, and the other was its female counterpart, the Hui Hawaii
Aloha Aina o Na Wahine. On January 5, 1895, the protests took the form of an armed attempt to derail
the annexation but the armed revolt was suppressed by forces of the Republic. The leaders of the
revolt were imprisoned along with Queen Lili'uokalani who was jailed for failing to put down the revolt.
In March of 1897, William McKinley was inaugurated as President of the United States. McKinley was
in favor of annexation, and the change in leadership was soon felt. On June 16, 1897, McKinley and
three representatives of the government of the Republic of Hawaii --Lorrin Thurston, Francis Hatch,
and William Kinney-- signed a treaty of annexation. President McKinley then submitted the treaty to
the U.S. Senate for ratification.
The Hui Aloha Aina for Women and the Hui Aloha Aina for Men now organized a mass petition drive.
They hoped that if the U.S. government realized that the majority of native Hawaiian citizens opposed
annexation, the move to annex Hawaii would be stopped. Between September 11 and October 2,
1897, the two groups collected petition signatures at public meetings held on each of the five principal
islands of Hawaii. The petition, clearly marked "Petition Against Annexation" and written in both the
Hawaiian and English languages, was signed by 21,269 native Hawaiian people, or more than half the
39,000 native Hawaiians and mixed-blood persons reported by the Hawaiian Commission census for
the same year.
Four delegates, James Kaulia, David Kalauokalani, John Richardson, and William Auld, arrived in
Washington, DC on December 6 with the 556-page petition in hand. That day, as they met with Queen
Lili'uokalani, who was already in Washington lobbying against annexation, the second session of the
55th Congress opened. The delegates and Lili'uokalani planned a strategy to present the petition to
the Senate.
The delegation and Lili'oukalani met Senator George Hoar, chairman of the Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations on the following day, and on December 9, with the delegates present, Senator Hoar
read the text of the petition to the Senate. It was formally accepted. The next day the delegates met
with Secretary of State John Sherman and submitted a formal statement protesting the annexation to
him. In the following days, the delegates met with many senators, voicing opposition to the annexation.
By the time the delegates left Washington on February 27, 1898, there were only 46 senators willing to
vote for annexation. The treaty was defeated in the Senate.
Other events brought the subject of annexation up again immediately. On February 15, 1898, the U.S.
Battleship Maine was blown up in Havana harbor in Cuba. The ensuing Spanish-American War, part
of which was fought in the Philippine Islands, established the strategic value of the Hawaiian islands
as a mid-Pacific fueling station and naval installation. The pro-annexation forces in Congress
submitted a proposal to annex the Hawaiian Islands by joint resolution, which required only a simple
majority vote in both houses. This eliminated the 2/3 majority needed to ratify a treaty, and by result,
the necessary support was in place. House Joint Resolution 259, 55th Congress, 2nd session, known
as the "Newlands Resolution," passed Congress and was signed into law by President McKinley on
July 7, 1898.
Once annexed by the United States, the Hawaiian islands remained a U.S. territory until 1959, when
they were admitted to statehood as the 50th state. The story of the annexation is a story of conflicting
goals as the white businessmen struggled to obtain favorable trade conditions and native Hawaiians
sought to protect their cultural heritage and maintain a national identity. The 1897 Petition by the
Hawaiian Patriotic League stands as evidence that the native Hawaiian people objected to annexation,
but because the interests of the businessmen won out, over the coming decades most historians who
wrote the history of Hawaii emphasized events as told by the Provisional Government and largely
neglected the struggle of the Native Hawaiians. Today, there is a growing movement on the Islands to
revive interest in the native Hawaiian language and culture. Primary sources such as this petition bear
witness that there is another side to the story.
The annexation petition with its voluminous signatures, along with many related records, is filed in the
Records of the U.S. Senate, Record Group 46, at the National Archives and Records Administration.
The petitions are available on microfilm as publication M1897.
Resource
Silva, Noenoe K. Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism .. Durham:
Duke University Press, 2004, pages 123-163.
The Documents
The 1897 Petition Against The Annexation of Hawaii
Page 6 of Men's Petition
Against Annexation of Hawaii
September 11, 1897
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The Debate Over Hawaii and an American Overseas Empire
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Revolutionaries easily overthrew the native Hawaiian monarchy In 1893. The United States then debated for five years whether to
annex the former kingdom and launch an American overseas empire.
By 1795, the warrior chief, Kamehameha the Great, had conquered most of the Hawaiian islands and established a monarchy In the 1820s.
American whalers, traders, and Christian missionaries began to visit and settle in the kingdom of Hawaii
Password
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•
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Although a small minority, the Americans in Hawaii soon owned much of the land, which they began to turn into large sugar-cane plantations
The native Hawaiian population dropped sharply due to smallpox and other diseases that came with the American immigrants. Needing more
workers, the sugar planters imported Chinese and Japanese contract laborers who agreed to work on the plantations for a set period of time
As their influence increased, the Americans became deeply involved with the government of the Hawaiian kings. In 1840. American advisors
helped King Kamehameha Ill produce Hawaii's 'c"' ~ 1 !:'.0~: c:'l!.·2_1,rct:.;_[I
By 1842, the United States had developed regular diplomatic relations with Hawaii and supported its status as an independent country. After
King David Kalakaua ascended the throne in 1874, Hawaii and the United States signed a trade agreement lifting some restrictions on
exporting Hawaiian sugar to the United States. In addition, this agreement permitted the United States to lease a naval station at Pearl Harbor .
For a long time, Americans (both U.S citizens and those born in Hawaii of American parents) had resented living under the Hawaiian
monarchy. They believed that since they owned about two-thirds of the land and paid the majority of taxes. they deserved a greater say 1n the
government.
In 1887, a group of armed Americans forced King Kalakaua to agree to a·-~~-·-~~ that weakened hrs power This constitution also
contained property requirements that prevented about 75 percent of the native Hawaiians from voting for representatives to the legislature
After Kalakaua's death in 1891, his sister. Lydia Liliuokalani, became queen. She was determined to reclaim the monarchy's old power on
behalf of her people.
On January 14, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani announced her intention to proclaim a new constitution on her own authority. On hearing this news, a
group of about a dozen, mainly American. business and political leaders started plotting to overthrow the monarchy. Almost immediately, the
queen withdrew her plan for a new constitution. But the revolutionaries claimed that Liliuokalani had given up her right to rule by violating her
oath to the current consbtution.
On January 16, the U.S. diplomatic representative in Honolulu, John Stevens. asked the U S Navy "to protect the life and property of American
citizens." Four boatloads of marines from an American warship in the harbor came ashore, marched into the city, and surrounded the royal
palace. Stevens granted U.S. recognition to the provisional government that the revolutionaries had formed.
The revolutionaries appointed , , . ,
____ , the son of American missionary parents and a Hawaiian Supreme Court justice. to head the
provisional government. On January 17, Dole and a few hundred armed supporters went to the palace to demand the queen's surrender With
near1y 200 American troops nearby, Queen Liliuokalani surrendered under protest. "I yield to the superior force of the United States of
America," she said. The provisional government immediately sent a commission to the United States to persuade President Benjamin Hamson
and Congress to annex Hawaii as a U.S territory.
A few months after the Hawaiian Revolution, an American naval historian, Captain Alfred Mahan, published a stunning article titled, "
l-'--~_Jj:_r__:___!_'.~~" Mahan argued that the United States should abandon its tradition of isolationism and, like imperial Great Britain,
acquire an overseas empire, starting with Hawaii. Mahan's essay marked the beginning of a long and often bitter debate rn the United States
on the question of whether the United States should become an imperial world power.
President Cleveland Says No
President Harrison harbored some doubts about the revolution in Hawaii, but he signed an annexation treaty with the provisional government
in February 1893. He sent the treaty to the U S Senate for ratification.
Back in Hawaii, the provisional government, consisting of about 20 white men, began to worry about the native Hawaiian majority that the
revolutionaries had largely ignored. The provisional government declared martial law and ordered newspapers not to stir up trouble The new
government also persuaded John Stevens, the U.S. diplomat. to place Hawaii under temporary American military protection.
Popular opinion in the United States favored the treaty. But the presidency changed from Republican Harrison to Democrat Grover Cleveland.
who objected to the use of U.S troops in the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Cleveland withdrew the treaty from the Senate.
President Cleveland appointed a former member of Congress. John Blount, to go to Hawaii to find out what had happened. Blount interviewed
the members of the provisional government, supporters of the revolution and the monarchy, and Queen Liliuokalani herself. She told Blount
that the "missionary party" had worked for years so that "their children might some day be rulers over these Islands."
Blount's fact-finding report convinced President Cleveland that U.S. diplomat John Stevens had acted improper1y by calling for American
troops, whose presence caused the queen to surrender. Cleveland sent a new diplomat to Hawaii to pressure the provisional government to
restore the monarchy and the queen to grant amnesty to the revolutionaries.
The provisional government refused to accept Cleveland's demands. Sanford Dole, president of the provisional government. declared that the
United States had no right to intertere in Hawaii's internal affairs. Surprisingly, the queen at first also refused to go along with Cleveland, saying
she would never pardon the revolutionaries. She changed her mind and offered amnesty. But by this time. Cleveland had decided to let
Congress debate the Hawaiian issue.
The Republic of Hawaii
Sanford Dole and the other members of the provisional government recognized that the United States probably would never annex Hawaii as
long as Cleveland was in the White House. So they decided that they had better form a more permanent government.
In June 1894, a convention, composed mostly of Hawaiian-born Americans and foreign residents, produced a new constitution for the Republic
of Hawaii. The constitution named Sanford Dole the first president. It stated that the republic's main goal was to be annexed by the United
States. The constitution placed property and income qualifications on the right to vote and required voters to take an oath against restoring the
monarchy. The provisional government proclaimed the constitution on July 4, 1894, without any ratification vote by the people
In January 1895, about 300 supporters of Queen Liliuokalani took up arms and attempted to restore her to power. But the government quickly
defeated and captured the royalist rebels.
The government established a military commission. tried about 200 rebels for treason, and sentenced most of them to prison The government
also tried the queen for treason. She denied any involvement with the rebellion, but declared that she owed no allegiance to the Republic of
Hawaii, only to her people. After finding her guilty, the government restricted her to an apartment in the palace. Within a year, the government
freed all the royalist prisoners. including the queen.
"It Is Manifest Destiny"
Republican William McKinley won the American presidential election of 1896. He acted quickly to sign a new annexation treaty shortly after he
took office in 1897. Again, the question of Hawaiian annexation moved to the U.S. Senate.
Imperialists, like Captain Mahan and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, argued that annexing Hawaii would help the United
States become a world power. But the anti-imperialists opposed annexation. "The mission of our nation," said former President Cleveland, "is
to build up and make a greater country out of what we have, instead of annexing islands." Thus. the fate of Hawaii became entwined in the
larger debate over whether the United States should acquire an overseas empire.
By 1897, two power1ul American interest groups had joined the anti-imperialists in opposing Hawaii annexation. The sugar beet industry did not
want to compete with cheaper Hawaiian sugar. Also, many labor unions disliked the contract labor system in Hawaii and feared Chinese and
Japanese workers from there would flood into the mainland, driving down wages.
The annexation effort bogged down in the Senate where a two-thirds majority is necessary for treaty ratification. But on February 15, 1898, the
U S ship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. Soon afterward, the United States declared war on Spain and invaded Cuba. Then on May 1,
Admiral George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Philippines. Suddenly, Hawaii's strategic location halfway to the Philippines revived
interest in annexation.
The annexationists abandoned their treaty ratification campaign in the Senate. They decided to seek a joint resolution by the House of
Representatives and the Senate to annex Hawaii. This required only a simple majority vote in each house. "We need Hawaii just as much and
a good deal more than we did California," said President McKinley. "It is Manifest Destiny."
Hawaii and Empire
While the war against Spain continued during the summer of 1898, supporters of Hawaiian annexation made their case in Congress Many
pointed out the necessity of Hawaii as a refueling station for Navy ships on their way to reinforce American troops in the Philippines. Most of
those speaking out for annexation, however, argued that Hawaii was essential for expanding trade with China and other Asian countries
The House passed the Hawaiian J•:""x:1:1u1· c· ""':1:1. ·i: 209-91 on June 15. Sensing defeat, the anti-annexationists made their last stand
during a Senate filibuster (a delaying tactic in which Senators give never-ending speeches). They hoped to talk the resolution to death.
Senator Stephen White of California led the filibuster. "The annexation of Hawaii," he said, "will constitute the entering wedge for an
imperialistic policy." He and his allies asked whether Americans should forget their own anti-colonial war for independence and establish a
colonial empire of foreign peoples.
The filibuster speakers argued Hawaii had little military value. The United States already leased Pearl Harbor. and refueling at the island of
Kiska (part of American Alaska) provided a shorter route to the Philippines than stopping over in Hawaii. Besides. defending Hawaii would
spread the Navy too thin.
Many Senate speakers doubted that Hawaii could fit into our democracy. Some questioned the capability of the native Hawaiians to vote and
participate as U.S. citizens. Senator White asked if Americans should affiliate with Hawaiians who lived "far removed and alien to us in
language and ideas." Others criticized that the natives, who still made up a large majority of the population, had never voted on annexing their
country to the United States.
After two weeks of speech making, the anti-annexationists gave up their filibuster. On July 6, the Senate voted 42-21 to pass the joint
resolution. President McKinley signed the measure the next day. Two years later, Congress passed the G1qan : :, .. ,,making Hawaii a U.S.
territory and setting up its government. In the end, immediate wartime pressures and a desire to expand markets overseas combined to hand
victory to the annexationists and imperialists.
Sanford Dole, the former president of the Hawaiian Republic, was appointed territorial governor. The first territorial elections, held in the fall of
1900, proved shocking. Candidates favoring Hawaiian independence won a majority of seats in both houses of the new territorial legislature
One of the royalist rebels, who had taken up arms to restore Queen Liliuokalani to power in 1895. was elected as Hawaii's first delegate to
Congress. But this was the last election in which candidates supporting independence showed such strength. In 1902, Hawaiian Prince Jonah
Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi ran for Congress as a Republican and won. After that, the independence movement faded away
The debate in Congress over Hawaiian annexation took five years. During that time, the imperialists and anti-imperialists thoroughly argued
their positions. After the Spanish-American War, Congress took less than a year to approve the acquisition of the Philippines. Puerto Rico,
Guam, and Wake Island. The United States then had its overseas empire.
For Discussion and Writing
1. Do you think the United States should have annexed Hawaii in 1898? Why or why not?
2. Why did President Cleveland and President McKinley differ over annexing Hawaii?
3. What role did Hawaii play in establishing an American empire?
For Further Information
·-i;,v"'''' S:or> By Queen Liliuokalani.
A history by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper
A history of Hawaii .
. ,.,,,
:.' l;CJ "' ·· ''I' From the University of Hawaii at Manoa libraries.
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: '· : Excerpt from historian Hubert Bancroft's history of the United States written in the earty 1900s
ACTIVITY
Should America Have an Empire?
In this class debate, one-third of the students will role-play the imperialists of 1898 who favored an American overseas empire Another third of
the students will role-play the anti-imperialists who opposed an empire. The final third of the students will represent the American public who
will decide the debate.
1. The imperialists and anti-imperialists will research the article and other sources to find arguments for their positions.
2. The American public will research the article to develop questions to ask each of the debating groups.
3. The Debate
a. Round One: The imperialists make their arguments and answer questions from the American public
b. Round Two: The anti-imperialists make their arguments and answer questions from the American public
c. Round Three: The imperialists and anti-imperialists ask each other questions and make counter-arguments The American public
observes.
d. Final Round: The members of the American public discuss the merits of the arguments they have heard and then take a vote on the
debate question.
Sources
The Great Rebellion of 1857 In India
Chaudhuri, Sashi Bhusan. Civil Rebellion in the Indian Mutinies. Calcutta. The Wortd Press Private. 1957. • Hibbert, Christopher The Great
Mutiny, India 1857 New York: The Viking Press. 1978. ·"Indian Mutiny." Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 6, 1998 ed ·Leasor, James The Red
Fort, the Story of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. New York Reynal & Co, 1957. • Spear, T. G. Percival "The Mutiny and the Great Revolt of 185759." • Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. 21, 1998 ed. ·Wal bank, T. Walker et al. History and Life. 3rd ed. Glenview. Ill.. Scott Foresman and Co .
1987 [chapters 3 and 15]. ·Ward, Andrew. Our Bones are Scattered, The Cawnpore Massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1857. New York
Henry Holt and Co., 1996.
011 and National Security
Abraham, Spencer. "Drill ANWR Now." Wall Street Journal 8 Nov. 2001 A24. ·Alvarez, Lizette. "Bush's Energy Bill is Passed in a G 0 P
Triumph." New York Times 2 Aug. 2001:A1. ·"Arctic Drilling Just Doesn't Add Up." [editorial]. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 30 Nov. 2001 A21
· Arnesen, Amie. "Conservatives' Energy Policies Ignore Conservation, Efficiency." Boston Globe. 26 Aug. 200111 • Bush, George. "A
National Energy Plan: Diversity, Conservation, Harnessing New Technology: Vital Speeches of the Day 1 June 2001482-485 ·Chen, Edwin
"Bush Orders U.S. Emergency Oil Stockpile Restored to Capacity." Los Angeles Times. 14 Nov. 2001 ·Clark, John Energy and the Federal
Government, Fossil Fuel Policies, 1900-1945 Urbana, Ill.. University of Illinois Press, 1987. ·Cohn, Laura and Crock, Stan. "What to Do About
Oil?" Business Week. 29 Oct. 2001 30. ·Crowell, Stephen L. and Dyen, Mark. "Bush-Cheney Energy Plan is Doomed to Fail." Boston Globe 2
June 2001 :A15. ·Easterbrook, Gregg. "How the Oilmen in the White House See the Wortd." The New Republic 4 June 2001 Hamburger,
Tom. "Coalitions Press for Passage of Bush Energy Plan." Wall Street Journal 14 Nov. 2001 A 13. · "How Much Would It Really Help? Alaska
Oil." The Economist, 20 Oct. 2001 :35. ·Hunt, Ed. "Remember the Environment?" Christian Science Monitor. 24 Dec. 2001 9. ·Jones, Ternl
Yue. "Passenger Cars Are Outsold by Light Trucks for First Time." Los Angeles Times. 4 Jan. 2002. • Kerry, John "Power Up on Innovation "
Los Angeles Times. 3 Dec. 2001 • Knickerbocker, Brad. "New Push to Pump Oil from Alaska Refuge." Christian Science Monitor. 26 Nov
2001 :3. • Kriz, Margaret. "Still Hooked on Oil." National Journal. 10 Nov 2001 3498-3501 • McCarthy, Terry. 'The Last Wild Place War Over
Arctic Oil." Time. 19 Feb. 2001. • Mclaughlin, Abraham. "A Supply-Side Plan for US Energy" Christian Science Monitor 18 May 2001 1 ·
Mazarr, Michael. "Terrorism, The Energy Trap, and the Way Out."Christian Science Monitor. 23 Oct. 2001 :9. ·"Message Gets Garbled on
Patriotism and Gas Guzzlers." Los Angeles Times. 23 Nov 2001 :A52. ·National Energy Policy Development Group. \ ,. · ·
..-,, ·
A•·,··;,"/),
: :". ·•·.
--rcJ '· c" -..· < c··. "· ·, ., .. ~· ·..... ·.: ·' F .. :.. ··· May 2001 ·"Nevada to Sue on Nuclear Waste" San Diego
Union-Tribune. 16 Dec. 2001 A 13. • Ovenholser. Geneva. "Green Light for Gas-Guzzlers" Washington Post. 7 Aug 2001.A 15 · Samuelson,
Robert J. "Now Do We Get Serious on Oil?" Washington Post. 11 Oct. 2001 A33. ·Schlesinger. Robert. "Citing 011 Need, Bush Pushes Energy
Bill, Senate Seeks Block on Arctic Drilling." Boston Globe. 12 Oct 2001 A6. · Seelye, Katharine 0 "U S Holds Gathering on Renewable
Energy." New York Times. 29 Nov 2001 :A31 ·Shogren, Elizabeth and Simon, Richard "Democrats Delay Senate Vote on Energy Bill" Los
Angeles Times. 28 Nov. 2001 A16. ·Simon, Richard. "House OKs Energy Bill, Drilling 1n Arctic Refuge" Los Angeles Times. 2 Aug 2001 A1 ·
Simon. Richard and Shogren, Elizabeth. "Democrats Introduce 'Balanced' Energy Bill." Los Angeles Times. 6 Dec 2001 A28. ·Stagliano. Vito
A Policy of Discontent, The Making of a National Energy Strategy. Tulsa. Okla .. Pennwell, 2001 ·Stipp, David "The Coming Hydrogen
Economy." Fortune. 12 Nov. 2001 :90+. ·Taylor, Jerry. "No Matter What, the Oil Will Flow." Los Angeles Times 12 Oct. 2001 B15 ·
:·;,
[), 1.u"1". 4 Jan. 2002. ·With. Eugene linden. "Selling the Sun." Time. 16 July 2001 BB+.
The Debate Over Hawaii and an American Overseas Empire
Daws, Gavan. The Illustrated Atlas of Hawaii. Honolulu: Island Heritage, 1994 • Damon, Ethel M. Sanford Ballard Dole and His Hawaii Palo
Alto, Calif .. Pacific Books, 1957. • Liliuokalani. Hawaii's Story. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1990 [originally published 1898). ·Osborne,
Thomas J. Annexation Hawaii, Fighting American Imperialism Waimanalo, Ha.: Island Style Press, 1998. • Russ. William Adam The Hawaiian
Republic (1894-98) and Its Struggle to Win Annexation. Selinsgrove, Pa.: Susquehanna University Press. 1961 · The Hawaiian Revolution
(1893-94). Selinsgrove. Pa: Susquehanna University Press. 1959. ·White, Stephen M. "Annexation of Hawaii." [speech) Senate of the United
States. Washington. D C., June 21 and 22, July 5 and 6, 1898. · Young, Lucian. The Boston in Hawaii Washington, DC Gibson Bros . 1898
P~wacy
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Sanford Ballard Dole
Sanford Ballard Dole
Born in the Islands to American parents, Dole became the
only American to become the Chief Executive of an
independent foreign nation.
George Robert Carter
Walter Francis Frear
Lucius Eugene
Pinkham
• Charles J. McCarthy
• Wallace Rider
Farrington
• Lawrence Mccully Judd
Joseph Boyd
Poindexter
• Ingram Macklin
Stainback
• Oren E. Long
Samuel Wilder King
William Francis Quinn
• John Anthony Burns
George Ryoichi
Ariyoshi
• John David Waihee III
• Benjamin Cayetano
Tillk Stor1·
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Dole's parents arrived in 1840 from Maine so that his father
could take over the leadership of Oahu College (Punahou
School). Sanford left to attend law school on the mainland,
but returned to Hawai' i in 1867 and established a private law
practice. Dole's legal and political roles developed side by side
over the next decades, a period in which Hawaii's history
changed drastically.
In 1886, under the Hawaiian Kingdom, Dole was appointed to
the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice. A few years later
he played a prominent and active role in the overthrow of the rnLA~:o;e IMAGE
monarchy and was then elected president of the Provisional
Government in 1893. Ignoring the illegal origins of his own government, he refused President
Cleveland's request that Lili' uokalani be restored to the throne. Instead, the Provisional
Government declared itself the Republic of Hawai' i and in 1898 Dole went to Washington,
D.C. to press for American annexation of the Islands. In 1898, Hawai' i became a United
States territory and President McKinley appointed Dole first governor of the territory.
Dole retired from political leadership in 1903 but continued to work for many years as a
judge and lawyer. He was a U.S. District Judge from 1903 until 1916, then pursued private
practice from 1916 until his death in 1926.
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'_::
C()LUMBIA
C250 CHEBIATES
C250 HOW
~
C250 PERSPECTIVES
C250 FORUM C250 EVEMTS C250 TO GD
REGISTRATION
ALFRED THAYER MAHAN
"War now not only occurs more rarely
.. [but is] an occasional excess.
from which recovery is easy."
Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914)
Naval Historian
Columbia College 1854-18567
By arguing that sea power-the strength of
a nation's navy-was the key to strong
foreign policy, Alfred Thayer Mahan shaped
American military planning and helped
prompt a worldwide naval race in the late
19th and early 20th centuries. Mahan
studied at Columbia for two years beginning
in 1854-he was a member of the
Philolexian Society, the campus literary club
established in 1802-before decamping for
Annapolis, from which he graduated in
1859. A longtime naval officer who cut his
teeth on the Union side in the Civil War,
Mahan eventually lectured on history and
strategy at the Naval War College in
Newport, R.I. It was there, inspired in part
by a history of Rome, that he began
developing his theories; in 1890 he turned
his lecture notes into The Influence of Sea
Power upon History 1660-1783.
Appearing at a time when Japan and the nations of Europe
were engaged in a fiercely competitive arms race, Mahan's
work had a singularly profound influence on politics
worldwide. In the United States, Mahan's theories found a
particularly receptive audience in Presidents William
McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt: His work bolstered the
case for rapid expansion and reconfiguration of the U.S.
Navy, which replaced small cruisers with massive battleships
and underwent a concomitant change in tactics; continued
expansion overseas (to the Philippines, Hawaii and other
Pacific islands, and the Caribbean), whicli'afted the
creation bases at which U.S. ships could refuel and protect
commerce; and even the construction of the Panama Canal,
which facilitated the movement of fleets and freight. Mahan's
work influenced strategists in other countries as well, leading
to naval buildups in England, Germany, and Japan in
particular. Although Mahan saw military might as a means
for avoiding war, the global growth inspired by his theories
very clearly set the stage for World War I.
Read more about Alfred Thayer Mahan in the
Columbia Encyclopedia
co
SEARCH
Theodore Roosevelt befriended
Mahan and subscribed to h,s
tlietJr1es
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•
Queen Lydia Liliuokalani
(September 2, 1838 - November 11, 1917)
Queen Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian islands. She felt her
mission was to preserve the islands for their native residents. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed
to the United States and Queen Liliuokalani was forced to give up her throne.
Queen Liliuokalani was deposed by the advocates of a Republic for Hawaii in 1893. She
was born in Honolulu to high chief Kapaakea and the chiefess Keohokalole, the third of ten children. Her
brother was King Kalakaua. Liliuokalanie was adopted at birth by Abner Paki and his wife Konia. At age 4,
her adoptive parents enrolled her in the Royal School. There she became fluent in English and influenced by
Congregational missionaries. She also became part of the royal circle attending Kamehameha IV and Queen
Emma.
Liliuokalanie married a ha'ole, John Owen Dominis on September 16, 1862. Dominis would eventually serve
the monarchy as the Governor of O'ahu and Maui. They had no children and according to her private papers
and diaries, the marriage was not fulfilling. Dominis died shortly after she assumed the throne, and the queen
never remarried.
Upon the death of her brother, King Kalakauam Liliuokalani ascended the throne of Hawaii in January 1891.
One of her first acts was to recommend a new Hawaii constitution, as the "Bayonet Constitution" of 1887
limited the power of the monarch and political power of native Hawaiians. In 1890, the McKinley Tariff
began to cause a recession in the islands by withdrew the safeguards ensuring a mainland market for
Hawaiian sugar. American interests in Hawaii began to consider annexation for Hawaii to re-establish an
economic competitive position for sugar. In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani sought to empower herself and
Hawaiians through a new constitution which she herself had drawn up and now desired to promulgate as the
new law of the land. It was Queen Liliuokalani's right as a sovereign to issue a new constitution through an
edict from the throne. A group led by Sanford B. Dole sought to overthrow the institution of the monarchy.
The American minister in Hawaii, John L. Stevens, called for troops to take control of Iolani Palace and
various other governmental buildings. In 1894, the Queen, was deposed, the monarchy abrogated, and a
ovisional government was established which later became the Republic of Hawaii.
In 1893, James H. Blount, newly appointed American minister to Hawaii, arrived representing President
Grover Cleveland. Blount listened to both sides, annexationists and restorationists, and concluded the
Hawaiian people aligned with the Queen. Blount and Cleveland agreed the Queen should be restored.
Blount's final report implicated the American minister Stevens in the illegal overthrow of Liliuokalani. Albert
S. Willis, Cleveland's next American minister offered the crown back to the Queen on the condition she
pardon and grant general amnesty to those who had dethroned her. She initially refused but soon she changed
her mind and offered clemency. This delay compromised her political position and President Cleveland had
released the entire issue of the Hawaiian revolution to Congress for debate. The annexationists promptly
lobbied Congress against restoration of the monarchy. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford
B. Dole as president was proclaimed. It was recognized immediately by the United States government.
In 1895, Liliuokalani was arrested and forced to reside in Iolani Palace after a cache of weapons was found in
the gardens of her home in Washington Place. She denied knowing of the existence of this cache and was
reportedly unaware of others' efforts to restore the royalty. In 1896, she was released and returned to her
home at Washington Place where she lived for the next two decades. Hawaii was annexed to the United
States through a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1898. The "ex-"queen died due to complications
from a stroke in 1917. A statue of her was erected on the grounds of the State Capital in Honolulu .
•
10
Return to the Ha\\aiian lndcpcndcnce Home l'a 0 e or the Legal Documents Inde\
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PRESIDENT GROVER CLEVELAND'S
MESSAGE
December 18, 1893
Citation: Hawaiian Islands. Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, with
accompanying testimony. and Executive documents transmitted to Congress from January J, J883 to March
JO, 1894, page 1253.
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
In my recent annual message to the Congress I briefly referred to our relations with Hawaii and expressed the
intention of transmitting further information on the subject when additional advices permitted.
Though I am not able now to report a definite change in the actual situation, I am convinced that the
difficulties lately created both here and in Hawaii and now standing in the way of a solution through
Executive action of the problem presented, render it proper and expedient, that the matter should be referred
to the broader authority and discretion of Congress, with a full explanation of the endeavor thus far made to
deal with the emergency and a statement of the considerations which have governed my action.
I suppose that right and justice should determine the path to be followed in treating this subject. If national
honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial extension, or dissatisfaction with a form of
government not our own, ought to regulate our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and
character of our Government and the behavior which the conscience of our people demands of their public
servants.
When the present Administration entered upon its duties the Senate had under consideration a treaty
'.)Viding for the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the territory of the United States. Surely under our
_onstitution and laws the enlargement of our limits is a manifestation of the highest attribute of sovereignty,
and if entered upon as an Executive act, all things relating to the transaction should be clear and free from
suspicion. Additional importance attached to this particular treaty of annexation, because it contemplated a
departure from unbroken American tradition in providing for the addition to our territory of islands of the sea
more than two thousand miles removed from our nearest coast.
These considerations might not of themselves call for interference with the completion of a treaty entered
upon by a previous Administration. but it appeared from !he documents accompanying the treaty when
submitted to the Senate. that the ownership of Hawaii was tendered to us by a provisional government set up
to succeed the constitutional ruler of the islands, who had been dethroned, and it did not appear that such
provisional government had the sanction of either popular revolution or suffrag~. Two other remarkable
features of the transaction naturally attracted attention. One was the extraordinary haste - not to say
precipitancy - characterizing all the transactions connected with the treaty. It appeared that a so-called
Committee of Safety, ostensibly the source of the revolt against the constitutional Government of Hawaii,
was organized on Saturday, the 14th day of January; that on Monday, the 16th, the United States forces were
landed at Honolulu from a naval vessel lying in its harbor; that on the 17th the scheme of a provisional
government was perfected, and a proclamation naming its officers was on the same day prepared and read at
the Government building; that immediately thereupon the United States Minister recognized the provisional
government thus created; that two days afterwards, on the 19th day of January, commissioners representing
such government sailed for this country in a steamer especially chartered for the occasion, arriving in San
Francisco on the 28th day of January, and in Washington on the 3rd day of February; that on the next day
they had their first interview with the Secretary of State, and another on the 11th, when the treaty of
annexation was practically agreed upon, and that on the 14th it was formally concluded and on the 15th
transmitted to the Senate. Thus between the initiation of the scheme for a provisional government in Hawaii
on the 14th day of January and the submission to the Senate of the treaty of annexation concluded with such
government, the entire interval was thirty-two days, fifteen of which were spent by the Hawaiian
Commissioners in their journey to Washington .
• 1 the next place, upon the face of the papers submitted with the treaty, it clearly appeared that there was
open and undetermined an issue of fact of the most vital importance. The message of the President
accompanying the treaty declared that "the overthrow of the monarchy was not in any way promoted by this
Government," and in a letter to the President from the Secretary of State also submitted to the Senate with the
treaty, the following message occurs: "At the time the provisional government took possession of the
Government buildings no troops or officers of the United States were present or took any part whatever in the
proceedings. No public recognition was accorded to the provisional government by the United States
Minister until after the Queen's abdication and when they were in effective possession of the Government
buildings, the archives, the treasury, the barracks, the police station, and all the potential machinery of the
Government." But a protest also accompanied said treaty, signed by the Queen and her ministers at the time
she made way for the provisional government, which explicitly stated that she yielded to the superior force of
e United States, whose Minister had caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that
11e would support such provisional government.
The truth or falsity of this protest was surely of the first importance. If true, nothing but the concealment of
its truth could induce our Government to negotiate with the semblance of a government thus created, nor
could a treaty resulting from the acts stated in the protest have been knowingly deemed worthy of
consideration by the Senate. Yet the truth or falsity of the protest had not been investigated.
I conceived it to be my duty therefore to withdraw the treaty from the Senate for examination, and meanwhile
to cause an accurate, full, and impartial investigation to be made of the facts attending the subversion of the
constitutional Government of Hawaii and the installment in its place of the provisional government. I selected
for the work of investigation the Hon. James H. Blount, of Georgia, whose service of eighteen years as a
member of the House of Georgia, and whose experience as chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in
that body, and his consequent familiarity with international topics, joined with his high character and
honorable reputation, seemed to render him peculiarly fitted for the duties entrusted to him. His report
detailing his action under the instructions given to him and the conclusions derived from his investigation
accompany this message.
These conclusions do not rest for their acceptance entirely upon Mr. Blount's honesty and ability as a man,
nor upon his acumen and impartiality as an investigator. They are accompanied by the evidence upon which
they are based, which evidence is also herewith transmitted, and from which it seems to me no other
deductions could possibly be reached than those arrived at by the Commissioner.
The report with its accompanying proofs, and such other evidence as is now before the Congress or is
herewith submitted, justifies in my opinion the statement that when the President was led to submit the treaty
to the Senate with the declaration that "the overthrow of the monarchy was not in any way promoted by this
Government", and when the Senate was induced to receive and discuss it on that basis, both President and
Senate were misled.
·•1e attempt will not be made in this communication to touch upon all the facts which throw light upon the
ogress and consummation of this scheme of annexation. A very brief and imperfect reference to the facts
and evidence at hand will exhibit its character and the incidents in which it had its birth.
It is unnecessary to set forth the reasons which in January, 1893, led a considerable proportion of American
and other foreign merchants and traders residing at Honolulu to favor the annexation of Hawaii to the United
States. It is sufficient to note the fact and to observe that the project was one which was zealously promoted
by the Minister representing the United States in that country. He evidently had an ardent desire that it should
become a fact accomplished by his agency and during his ministry, and was not inconveniently scrupulous as
to the means employed to that end. On the 19th day of November, 1892, nearly two months before the first
overt act tending towards the subversion of the Hawaiian Government and the attempted transfer of Hawaiian
territory to the United States, he addressed a long letter to the Secretary of State in which the case for
annexation was elaborately argued, on moral, political, and economical grounds. He refers to the loss of the
Hawaiian sugar interests from the operation of the McKinley bill, and the tendency to still further
depreciation of sugar property unless some positive measure of relief is granted. He strongly inveighs against
the existing Hawaiian Government and emphatically declares for annexation. He says: "In truth the monarchy
here is an absurd anachronism. It has nothing on which it logically or legitimately stands. The feudal basis on
which it once stood no longer existing, the monarchy now is only an impediment to good government - an
obstruction to the prosperity and progress of the islands."
He further says: "As a crown colony of Great Britain or a Territory of the United States the government
modifications could be made readily and good administration of the law secured. Destiny and the vast future
interests of the United States in the Pacific clearly indicate who at no distant day must be responsible for the
government of these islands. Under a territorial government they could be as easily governed as any of the
existing Territories of the United States." * * * "Hawaii has reached the parting of the ways. She must now
take the road which leads to Asia, or the other which outlets her in America, gives her an American
civilization, and binds her to the care of American destiny." He also declares: "One of two courses seems to
me absolutely necessary to be followed, either bold and vigorous measures for annexation or a 'customs
··11ion," an ocean cable from the Californian coast to Honolulu, Pearl Harbor perpetually ceded to the United
1tes, with an implied but not expressly stipulated American protectorate over the islands. I believe the
tormer to be the better, that which will prove much the more advantageous to the islands, and the cheapest
and least embarrassing in the end to the United States. If it was wise for the United States through Secretary
Marcy thirty-eight years ago to offer to expend $100,000 to secure a treaty of annexation, it certainly can not
be chimerical or unwise to expend $100,000 to secure annexation in the near future. To-day the United States
has five times the wealth she possessed in 1854, and the reasons now existing for annexation are much
stronger than they were then. I can not refrain from expressing the opinion with emphasis that the golden
hour is near at hand."
These declarations certainly show a disposition and condition of mind, which may be usefully recalled when
'"terpreting the significance of the Minister's conceded acts or when considering the probabilities of such
1duct on his part as may not be admitted.
In this view it seems proper to also quote from a letter written by the Minister to the Secretary of State on the
8th day of March, 1892, nearly a year prior to the first step taken toward annexation. After stating the
possibility that the existing Government of Hawaii might be overturned by an orderly and peaceful
revolution, Minister Stevens writes as follows: "Ordinarily in like circumstances, the rule seems to be to limit
the landing and movement of United States forces in foreign waters and dominion exclusively to the
protection of the United States legation and of the lives and property of American citizens. But as the
relations of the United States to Hawaii are exceptional, and in former years the United States officials here
took somewhat exceptional action in circumstances of disorder, I desire to know how far the present Minister
and naval commander may deviate from established international rules and precedents in the contingencies
indicated in the first part of this dispatch."
To a minister of this temper full of zeal for annexation there seemed to arise in January, 1893, the precise
opportunity for which he was watchfully waiting - an opportunity which by timely "deviation from
established international rules and precedents" might be improved to successfully accomplish the great object
in view; and we are quite prepared for the exultant enthusiasm with which in a letter to the State Department
dated February 1, 1893, he declares: "The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe and this is the golden hour for the
United States to pluck it."
As a further illustration of the activity of this diplomatic representative, attention is called to the fact that on
the day the above letter was written, apparently unable longer to restrain his ardor, he issued a proclamation
whereby "in the name of the United States" he assumed the protection of the Hawaiian Islands and declared
that said action was "taken pending and subject to negotiations at Washington." Of course this assumption of
a protectorate was promptly disavowed by our Government, but the American flag remained over the
Government building at Honolulu and the forces remained on guard until April, and after Mr. Blount's arrival
on the scene, when both were removed.
brief statement of the occurrences that led to the subversion of the constitutional Government of Hawaii in
.e interests of annexation to the United States will exhibit the true complexion of that transaction.
On Saturday, January 14, 1893, the Queen of Hawaii, who had been contemplating the proclamation of a new
constitution, had, in deference to the wishes and remonstrances of her cabinet, renounced the project for the
present at least. Taking this relinquished purpose as a basis of action, citizens of Honolulu numbering from
fifty to one hundred, mostly resident aliens, met in a private office and selected a so-called Committee of
Safety, composed of thirteen persons, seven of whom were foreign subjects, and consisted of five Americans,
one Englishman, and one German. This committee, though its designs were not revealed, had in view nothing
less than annexation to the United States, and between Saturday, the 14th, and the following Monday, the
16th of January - though exactly what action was taken may not be clearly disclosed -they were certainly in
communication with the United States Minister. On Monday morning the Queen and her cabinet made public
proclamation, with a notice which was specially served upon the representatives of all foreign governments,
that any changes in the constitution would be sought only in the methods provided by that instrument.
Nevertheless, at the call and under the auspices of the Committee of Safety, a mass meeting of citizens was
held on that day to protest against the Queen's alleged illegal and unlawful proceedings and purposes. Even at
this meeting the Committee of Safety continued to disguise their real purpose and contented themselves with
procuring the passage of a resolution denouncing the Queen and empowering the committee to devise ways
and means "to secure the permanent maintenance of law and order and the protection of life, liberty, and
property in Hawaii." This meeting adjourned between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. On the same
day, and immediately after such adjournment, the committee, unwilling to take further steps without the
cooperation of the United States Minister, addressed him a note representing that the public safety was
menaced and that lives and property were in danger, and concluded as follows: "We are unable to protect
ourselves without aid, and therefore pray for the protection of the United States forces." Whatever may be
thought of the other contents of this note, the absolute truth of this latter statement is incontestable. When the
note was written and delivered, the committee, so far as it appears, had neither a man or a gun at their
command, and after its delivery they became so panic-stricken at their stricken position that they sent some of
their number to interview the Minister and request him not to land the United States forces till the next
1orning. But he replied that the troops had been ordered, and whether the committee were ready or not the
nding should take place. And so it happened that on the 16th day of January, 1893, between four and five
o'clock in the afternoon, a detachment of marines from the United States Steamer Boston, with two pieces of
artillery, landed at Honolulu. The men, upwards of 160 in all, were supplied with double cartridge belts filled
with ammunition and with haversacks and canteens, and were accompanied by a hospital corps with
stretchers and medical supplies. This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of
war, unless made either with the consent of the Government of Hawaii or for the bona fide purpose of
protecting the imperilled lives and property of citizens of the United States. But there is no pretense of any
such consent on the part of the Government of the Queen, which at that time was undisputed and was both
the de facto and the de jure government. In point of fact the existing government instead of requesting the
presence of an armed force protested against it. There is as little basis for the pretense that such forces were
1ded for the security of American life and property. If so, they would have been stationed in the vicinity of
ch property and so as to protect it, instead of at a distance and so as to command the Hawaiian Government
building and palace. Admiral Skerrett, the officer in command of our naval force on the Pacific station, has
frankly stated that in his opinion the location of the troops was inadvisable if they were landed for the
protection of American citizens whose residences and places of business, as well as the legation and
consulate, were in a distant part of the city, but the location selected was a wise one if the forces were landed
for the purpose of supporting the provisional government. If any peril to life and property calling for any such
martial array had existed, Great Britain and other foreign powers interested would not have been behind the
United States in activity to protect their citizens. But they made no sign in that direction. When these armed
men were landed, the city of Honolulu was in its customary orderly and peaceful condition. There was no
symptom of riot or disturbance in any quarter. Men, women, and children were about the streets as usual, and
nothing varied the ordinary routine or disturbed the ordinary tranquility, except the landing of the Boston's
marines and their march through the town to the quarters assigned them. Indeed, the fact that after having
called for the landing of the United States forces on the plea of danger to life and property the Committee of
Safety themselves requested the Minister to postpone action, exposed the untruthfulness of their
representations of present peril to life and property. The peril they saw was an anticipation growing out of
guilty intentions on their part and something which, though not then existing, they knew would certainly
follow their attempt to overthrow the Government of the Queen without the aid of the United States forces.
Thus it appears that Hawaii was taken possession of by the United States forces without the consent or wish
of the government of the islands, or of anybody else so far as shown, except the United States Minister.
Therefore the military occupation of Honolulu by the United States on the day mentioned was wholly without
justification, either as an occupation by consent or as an occupation necessitated by dangers threatening
American life and property. It must be accounted for in some other way and on some other ground. and its
real motive and purpose are neither obscure nor far to seek.
The United States forces being now on the scene and favorably stationed, the committee proceeded to carry
out their original scheme. They met the next morning, Tuesday, the 17th, perfected the plan of temporary
'vernment, and fixed upon its principal officers, ten of whom were drawn from the thirteen members of the
_ommittee of Safety. Between one and two o'clock, by squads and by different routes to avoid notice, and
having first taken the precaution of ascertaining whether there was any one there to oppose them, they
proceeded to the Government building to proclaim the new government. No sign of opposition was manifest,
and thereupon an American citizen began to read the proclamation from the steps of the Government building
almost entirely without auditors. It is said that before the reading was finished quite a concourse of persons,
variously estimated at from 50 to 100, some armed and some unarmed, gathered about the committee to give
them aid and confidence. This statement is not important, since the one controlling factor in the whole affair
was unquestionably the United States marines, who, drawn up under arms and with artillery in readiness only
seventy-six yards distant, dominated the situation.
The provisional government thus proclaimed was by the terms of the proclamation "to exist until terms of
union with the United States had been negotiated and agreed upon". The United States Minister, pursuant to
prior agreement, recognized this government within an hour after the reading of the proclamation, and before
five o'clock, in answer to an inquiry on behalf of the Queen and her cabinet, announced that he had done so.
When our Minister recognized the provisional government the only basis upon which it rested was the fact
that the Committee of Safety had in the manner above stated declared it to exist. It was neither a government
de facto nor de jure. That it was not in such possession of the Government property and agencies as entitled it
to recognition is conclusively proved by a note found in the files of the Legation at Honolulu, addressed by
the declared head of the provisional government to Minister Stevens, dated January 17, 1893, in which he
acknowledges with expressions of appreciation the Minister's recognition of the provisional government, and
states that it is not yet in the possession of the station house (the place where a large number of the Queen's
troops were quartered), though the same had been demanded of the Queen's officers in charge. Nevertheless,
this wrongful recognition by our Minister placed the Government of the Queen in a position of most perilous
perplexity. On the one hand she had possession of the palace, of the barracks, and of the police station, and
had at her command at least five hundred fully armed men and several pieces of artillery. Indeed, the whole
military force of her kingdom was on her side and at her disposal, while the Committee of Safety, by actual
arch, had discovered that there were but very few arms in Honolulu that were not in the service of the
Jovernment. In this state of things if the Queen could have dealt with the insurgents alone her course would
have been plain and the result unmistakable. But the United States had allied itself with her enemies, had
recognized them as the true Government of Hawaii, and had put her and her adherents in the position of
opposition against lawful authority. She knew that she could not withstand the power of the United States,
but she believed that she might safelv trust to its iustice. Accordingly. some hours after the recognition of the
provisional government by the Unit~d States Mi~ister, the palace, the barracks, and the police st~tion, with all
the military resources of the country, were delivered up by the Queen upon the representation made to her
that her cause would thereafter be reviewed at Washington, and while protesting that she surrendered to the
superior force of the United States, whose Minister had caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu
and declared that he would support the provisional government, and that she yielded her authority to prevent
~ollision of armed forces and loss of life and only until such time as the United States, upon the facts being
·esented to it, should undo the action of its representative and reinstate her in the authority she claimed as
the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.
This protest was delivered to the chief of the provisional government, who endorsed thereon his
acknowledgment of its receipt. The terms of the protest were read without dissent by those assuming to
constitute the provisional government, who were certainly charged with the knowledge that the Queen
instead of finally abandoning her power had appealed to the justice of the United States for reinstatement in
her authority; and yet the provisional government with this unanswered protest in its hand hastened to
negotiate with the United States for the permanent banishment of the Queen from power and for the sale of
her kingdom.
Our country was in danger of occupying the position of having actually set up a temporary government on
foreign soil for the purpose of acquiring through that agency territory which we had wrongfully put in its
possession. The control of both sides of a bargain acquired in such a manner is called by a familiar and
unpleasant name when found in private transactions. We are not without a precedent showing how
scrupulously we avoided such accusations in former days. After the people of Texas had declared their
independence of Mexico they resolved that on the acknowledgment of their independence by the United
States they would seek admission into the Union. Several months after the battle of San Jacinto, by which
Texan independence was practically assured and established, President Jackson declined to recognize it,
alleging as one of his reasons that in the circumstances it became us "to beware of a too early movement, as it
might subject us, however unjustly, to the imputation of seeking to establish the claim of our neighbors to a
territory with a view to its subsequent acquisition by ourselves". This is in marked contrast with the hasty
recognition of a government openly and concededly set up for the purpose of tendering to us territorial
annexation.
I believe that a candid and thorough examination of the facts will force the conviction that the provisional
government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States. Fair-minded people with the
evidence before them will hardly claim that the Hawaiian Government was overthrown by the people of the
'ands or that the provisional government had ever existed with their consent. I do not understand that any
.ember of this government claims that the people would uphold it by their suffrages if they were allowed to
vote on the question.
While naturally sympathizing with every effort to establish a republican form of government, it has been the
settled policy of the United States to concede to people of foreign countries the same freedom and
independence in the management of their domestic affairs that we have always claimed for ourselves; and it
has been our practice to recognize revolutionary governments as soon as it became apparent that they were
supported by the people. For illustration of this rule I need only to refer to the revolution in Brazil in 1889,
when our Minister was instructed to recognize the Republic "so soon as a majority of the people of Brazil
should have signified their assent to its establishment and maintenance"; to the revolution in Chile in 1891,
when our Minister was directed to recognize the new government "if it was accepted by the people"; and to
the revolution in Venezuela in 1892, when our recognition was accorded on condition that the new
government was "fully established, in possession of the power of the nation, and accepted by the people."
As I apprehend the situation, we are brought face to face with the following conditions:
The lawful Government of Hawaii was overthrown without the drawing of a sword or the firing of a shot by a
process every step of which, it may be safely asserted, is directly traceable to and dependent for its success
upon the agency of the United States acting through its diplomatic and naval representatives.
But for the notorious predilections of the United States Minister for annexation, the Committee of Safety,
which should be called the Committee of Annexation, would never have existed.
But for the landing of the United States forces upon false pretexts respecting the danger to life and property
the committee would never have exposed themselves to the pains and penalties of treason by undertaking the
subversion of the Queen's Government.
Rut for the presence of the United States forces in the immediate vicinity and in position to afford all needed
)tection and support the committee would not have proclaimed the provisional government from the steps
01 the Government building.
And finally, but for the lawless occupation of Honolulu under false pretexts by the United States forces, and
but for Minister Stevens' recognition of the provisional government when the United States forces were its
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yielded to the provisional government, even for a time and for the sole purpose of submitting her case to the
enlightened justice of the United States.
Believing, therefore, that the United States could not, under the circumstances disclosed, annex the islands
without justly incurring the imputation of acquiring them by unjustifiable methods, I shall not again submit
' treaty of annexation to the Senate for its consideration, and in the instructions to Minister Willis, a copy
which accompanies this message, I have directed him to so inform the provisional government.
But in the present instance our duty does not, in my opinion, end with refusing to consummate this
questionable transaction. It has been the boast of our government that it seeks to do justice in all things
without regard to the strength or weakness of those with whom it deals. I mistake the American people if they
favor the odious doctrine that there is no such thing as international morality, that there is one law for a
strong nation and another for a weak one, and that even by indirection a strong power may with impunity
despoil a weak one of its territory.
By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and
without authority of Congress, the Government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been
overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as
the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair. The provisional government has not
assumed a republican or other constitutional form, but has remained a mere executive council or oligarchy,
set up without the assent of the people. It has not sought to find a permanent basis of popular support and has
given no evidence of an intention to do so. Indeed, the representatives of that government assert that the
people of Hawaii are unfit for popular government and frankly avow that they can be best ruled by arbitrary
or despotic power.
The law of nations is founded upon reason and justice, and the rules of conduct governing individual relations
between citizens or subjects of a civilized state are equally applicable as between enlightened nations. The
considerations that international law is without a court for its enforcement, and that obedience to its
commands practically depends upon good faith, instead of upon the mandate of a superior tribunal, only give
additional sanction to the law itself and brand any deliberate infraction of it not merely as a wrong but as a
disgrace. A man of true honor protects the unwritten word which binds his conscience more scrupulously, if
possible, than he does the bond a breach of which subjects him to legal liabilities; and the United States in
aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened of nations would do its citizens gross injustice if it
applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality. On that ground the
ited States can not properly be put in the position of countenancing a wrong after its commission any more
... an in that of consenting to it in advance. On that ground it can not allow itself to refuse to redress an injury
inflicted through an abuse of power by officers clothed with its authority and wearing its uniform; and on the
same ground, if a feeble but friendly state is in danger of being robbed of its independence and its sovereignty
by a misuse of the name and power of the United States, the United States can not fail to vindicate its honor
and its sense of justice by an earnest effort to make all possible reparation.
These principles apply to the present case with irresistible force when the special conditions of the Queen's
surrender of her sovereignty are recalled. She surrendered not to the provisional government, but to the
United States. She surrendered not absolutely and permanently, but temporarily and conditionally until such
time as the facts could be considered by the United States. Furthermore, the provisional government
acquiesced in her surrender in that manner and on those terms, not only by tacit consent, but through the
positive acts of some members of that government who urged her peaceable submission, not merely to avoid
bloodshed, but because she could place implicit reliance upon the justice of the United States, and that the
whole subject would be finally considered at Washington.
I have not, however, overlooked an incident of this unfortunate affair which remains to be mentioned. The
members of the provisional government and their supporters, though not entitled to extreme sympathy, have
been led to their present predicament of revolt against the Government of the Queen by the indefensible
encouragement and assistance of our diplomatic representative. This fact may entitle them to claim that in our
effort to rectify the wrong committed some regard should be had for their safety. This sentiment is strongly
seconded by my anxiety to do nothing which would invite either harsh retaliation on the part of the Queen or
violence and bloodshed in any quarter. In the belief that the Queen, as well as her enemies, would be willing
to adopt such a course as would meet these conditions, and in view of the fact that both the Queen and the
provisional government had at one time apparently acquiesced in a reference of the entire case to the United
States Government, and considering the further fact that in any event the provisional government by its own
declared limitation was only "to exist until terms of union with the United States of America have been
negotiated and agreed upon," I hoped that after the assurance to the members of that government that such
'on could not be consummated I might compass a peaceful adjustment of the difficulty.
Actuated by these desires and purposes,and not unmindful of the inherent perplexities of the situation nor of
the limitations upon my power, I instructed Minister Willis to advise the Queen and her supporters of my
desire to aid in the restoration of the status existing before the lawless landing of the United States forces at
Honolulu on the 16th of January last, if such restoration could be effected upon terms providing for clemency
as well as justice to all parties concerned. The conditions suggested, as the instructions show, contemplate a
general amnesty to those concerned insetting up the provisional government and a recognition of all its bona
fide acts and obligations. In short, they require that the past should be buried, and that the restored
Government should reassume its authority as if its continuity had not been interrupted. These conditions have
not proved acceptable to the Queen, and though she has been informed that they will be insisted upon, and
· 1.t, unless acceded to, the efforts of the President to aid in the restoration of her Government will cease, I
ve not thus far learned that she is willing to yield them her acquiescence. The check which my plans have
thus encountered has prevented their presentation to the members of the provisional government, while
unfortunate public misrepresentations of the situation and exaggerated statements of the sentiments of our
people have obviously injured the prospects of successful Executive mediation.
I therefore submit this communication with its accompanying exhibits, embracing Mr. Bount's report, the
evidence and statements taken by him at Honolulu, the instructions given to both Mr. Blount and Minister
Willis, and correspondence connected with the affair in hand.
In commending this subject to the extended powers and wide discretion of the Congress, I desire to add the
assurance that I shall be much gratified to cooperate in any legislative plan which may be devised for the
solution of the problem before us which is consistent with American honor, integrity, and morality.
GROVER CLEVELAND
Executive Mansion,
Washington, December 18, 1893
.................................................................................................................
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Alfred Mahan on Sea Power
2,l;l4930PM
Alfred T. Mahan on Sea Power, 1890
To turn now from the particular lessons drawn from the history of the past to the general question of the
influence of government upon the sea career of its people, it is seen that that influence can work in two
distinct but closely related ways.
First, in peace: The government by its policy can favor the natural growth of a people's industries and its
tendencies to seek adventure and gain by way of the sea; or it can try to develop such industries and such seagoing bent, when they do not naturally exist; or, on the other hand, the government may, by mistaken action
check and fetter the progress which the people left to themselves would make. In any one of these ways the
influence of the government will be felt, making or marring the sea power of the country in the matter of
peaceful commerce; upon which alone, it cannot be too often insisted. a thoroughly strong navy can be based.
Secondly, for war: The influence of the government will be felt in its most legitimate manner in maintaining
an armed navy, of a size commensurate with the growth of its shipping and the importance of the interests
connected with it. More important even than the size of the navy is the question of its institutions, favoring a
healthful spirit and activity, and providing for rapid development in time of war by an adequate reserve of
men and of ships and by measures for drawing out that general reserve power which has before been pointed
to, when considering the character and pursuits of the people. Undoubtedly under this second head of warlike
preparation must come the maintenance of suitable naval stations, in those distant parts of the world to which
the armed shipping must follow the peaceful vessels of commerce. The protection of such stations must
depend either upon direct military force, as do Gibraltar and Malta, or upon a surrounding friendly
population, such as the American colonists once were to England, and, it may be presumed, the Australian
colonists now are. Such friendly surroundings and backing, joined to a reasonable military provision, are the
best of defences, and when combined with decided preponderance at sea, make a scattered and extensive
empire, like that of England, secure; for while it is true that an unexpected attack may cause disaster in some
one quarter, the actual superiority of naval power prevents such disaster from being general or irremediable.
History has sufficiently proved this. England's naval bases have been in all parts of the world; and her fleets
have at once protected them, kept open the communications between them, and relied upon them for shelter.
Colonies attached to the mother-country afford, therefore, the surest means of supporting abroad the sea
power of a country. In peace, the influence of the government should be felt in promoting by all means a
warmth of attachment and a unity of interest which will make the welfare of one the welfare of all, and the
quarrel of one the quarrel of all; and in war, or rather for war, by inducing such measures of organization and
defence as shall be felt by all to be a fair distribution of a burden of which each reaps the benefit.
Such colonies the United States has not and is not likely to have. As regards purely military naval stations,
the feeling of her people was probably accurately expressed by an historian of the English navy a hundred
years ago, speaking then of Gibraltar and Port Mahon. "Military governments," said he, "agree so little with
the industry of a trading people, and are in themselves so repugnant to the genius of the British people, that I
do not wonder that men of good sense and of all parties have inclined to give up these, as Tangiers was given
up." Having therefore no foreign establishments, either colonial or military, the ships of war of the United
States, in war, will be like land birds, unable to fly far from their own shores. To provide resting-places for
them, where they can coal and repair, would be one of the first duties of a government proposing to itself the
development of the power of the nation at sea ....
The question is eminently one in which the influence of the government should make itself felt, to build up
for the nation a navy which, if not capable of reaching distant countries, shall at least be able to keep clear the
chief approaches to its own. The eyes of the country have for a quarter of a century been turned from the sea:
the results of such a policy and of its opposite will be shown in the instance of France and of England.
Without asserting a narrow parallelism between the case of the United States and either of these, it may
safely be said that it is essential to the welfare of the whole country that the conditions of trade and commerce
should remain, as far as possible, unaffected by an external war. In order to do this, the enemy must be kept
not only out of our ports, but far away from our coasts.
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