(c) Copyright August 2009 in honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hawaii Statehood, by
Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
All rights reserved
NOTE TO READERS: Below is the full version of this essay. It is filled with details, and extensive references to prove all the main points. If you prefer a shorter version of 1100 words (but few details and no references), please go to
In the run-up to the Golden Jubilee of Hawaii statehood (the 50th anniversary is August 21, 2009), a very aggressive group of history-twisters have been filling Hawaii newspapers, blogs, cable TV shows, radio broadcasts, and commemorative events with distortions and outright lies about the history of Hawaii.
The question now presented to the people of Hawaii is: Should half of the 50th star be removed from the American flag, or should the entire star be ripped off? News media and politicians apparently don't take seriously the majority viewpoint that the whole star should remain firmly on the flag and its presence there should be celebrated.
On one hand, the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) relies heavily on a 1993 joint resolution of Congress in which the U.S. takes the blame and apologizes to ethnic Hawaiians for (allegedly) overthrowing the monarchy in 1893. Therefore supporters of the Akaka bill feel a need to constantly remind America about the guilt it should feel, and its responsibility to provide reparations (land and money) and to give ethnic Hawaiians at least the same degree of sovereignty and self-determination as "enjoyed" by the Indian tribes. Gross exaggeration of America's historical guilt has the same purposes as gross exaggeration of alleged whiplash by the "victim" of a 5 mph fender-bender -- to arouse feelings of sympathy and pity, and inflate the "damages," in order to maximize the payoff in settlement negotiations.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has long demanded all the ceded lands for the future Akaka tribe. Combined with Bishop estate (Kamehameha Schools) lands, the result would be to remove half of all the lands (and waters) of Hawaii from state control and from the state tax base. Congressman Abercrombie has said in an interview with "Indian Country Today" regarding the Akaka bill that 2.2 million acres (Hawaii only has 4.1 million acres) rightfully belongs to ethnic Hawaiians collectively. As the likely future governor, he will use his power to give away that land.
On the other hand, secessionists hope someday to rip the entire 50th star off the flag. To accomplish that, they need to persuade Hawaii's people and the governments of other nations (or the International Court of Justice) that Hawaii statehood was never obtained legitimately. They need to twist history to bolster their claims that the revolution of 1893, the annexation of 1898, and the statehood vote of 1959 were all illegal; so that Hawaii rightfully remains an independent nation. The 50th anniversary of statehood provides the secessionists with a chance to stage protests at commemorative events and to flood the media with history-twisting propaganda.
Outright racism has become socially acceptable, as shown by the fact that a racist blog is highly featured on the Honolulu Advertiser website. An effort to talk back can be seen on the webpage "Dialogs with a racist" at
The "silent majority" is too timid -- too "politically correct" -- to make any protest to the constant attacks on the legitimacy of the State of Hawaii. But complacency is dangerous, as described in the book "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" which is available in the Hawaii public library or from
This essay is a ho'okupu -- an offering -- an act of patriotism to the State of Hawaii and the United States of America, to debunk some widespread falsehoods and to straighten out the twisted history that has become so prevalent in the media, our colleges, and our schools. It's not quick or easy reading. Mark Twain is reported to have said "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." So let's get started.
** Addendum by Ken Conklin on April 3, 2012: In 2011 a major book was published by a highly respected historian who analyzed the Hawaiian revolution and annexation, and Grover Cleveland's attempt to overthrow President Dole and restore the Hawaiian monarchy. He gave special attention to Japanese immigration, Japanese diplomatic and military involvement in opposing annexation, and the normalcy of using joint resolution as the method of annexation. 16 copies of the book are available in the Hawaii Public Library scattered among various branches; and of course it is available from amazon.com. See Book Review of William M. Morgan Ph.D., PACIFIC GIBRALTAR: U.S. - JAPANESE RIVALRY OVER THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII, 1885-1898 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011), including numerous lengthy quotes from each chapter in the book.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HISTORY-TWISTING BY HAWAII SENATORS
The seriousness of history-twisting might be best illustrated by falsehoods told on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 7, 2006 by Senators Dan Inouye (D, HI) and Byron Dorgan (D, ND and chair of the Committee on Indian Affairs) during a debate on a cloture motion for the Akaka bill. Inouye said (and Dorgan echoed):
"I think it is about time that we reach out and correct the wrong that was committed in 1893. Yes, at that time the representative of the people of the United States directed a marine company on an American ship to land and take over the government. They imprisoned our queen. No crime had been committed. When the new government took over and turned itself over to the government of the United States and said, Please take us in, the President of the United States was President Cleveland at that time. He sent his envoy to Hawaii to look over the case. When he learned that the takeover had been illegal, he said this was an un-American act and we will not take over. The queen is free."
There are numerous outright lies in that statement, plus several distortions caused by treating the revolution of 1893 and the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895 as though they were a single event. Many adults today believe that story is accurate. Most Hawaii schoolchildren, and students at the University of Hawaii, are brainwashed to believe it is true. The Inouye and Dorgan statements are fully documented and analyzed at
Very recently Senator Inouye repeated the same lies, along with others, during his prepared testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs regarding the Akaka bill on August 6, 2009.
Inouye's lies and distortions were the focus of a point-by-point rebuttal by Jere Krischel at
Another outright historical lie says that at the time of the revolution in 1893, or else at annexation in 1898, the Hawaiian flag atop Iolani Palace was taken down and replaced by the U.S. flag (false for the 1893 revolution; true for 1898 annexation), whereupon the Hawaiian flag was publicly cut up into pieces to humiliate the Hawaiians (false), and the pieces were passed out as souvenirs to the Caucasians (deliberately inflammatory race-baiting). Senator Akaka told that lie on the Senate floor on July 31, 1990 to commemorate "Hawaiian flag day" (actually, to commemorate restoration of sovereignty on July 31, 1843 following a takeover by a rogue British naval captain). Senator Inouye told the same lie on October 27, 1993 when trying to persuade his colleagues to support the apology resolution, and Inouye repeated the lie in July 2000 while seeking support for the newly introduced Akaka bill. The Akaka and Inouye lies about the shredded flag are documented and debunked at
Before analyzing and correcting the history-twisting on the major topics of revolution, annexation, and statehood, here are a few other historical lies, and the webpages debunking them:
Hawaiian language was made illegal by the Republic of Hawaii after the revolution of 1893.
The Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu Oahu remains under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawaii and U.S. law does not apply there.
Anyone with a drop of Hawaiian native blood has genetically and culturally encoded unique ways of knowing and learning; and therefore ethnic Hawaiian children have special needs for uniquely tailored curriculum and instructional methods.
Forced assimilation of ethnic Hawaiians is responsible for their poor health statistics today.
TWO ATTEMPTS BY KING KAMEHAMEHA III TO GET ANNEXATION TO THE U.S, 1849 AND 1854
History-twisters often say ethnic Hawaiians strongly opposed annexation to the U.S. But in 1849 King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III prepared a provisional deed to cede the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States, and gave it to the United States Commissioner; however, it was never implemented. In 1854 the King drafted a treaty of annexation to the United States, which the King and the U.S. Commissioner agreed upon, but the King died before he could sign it. Very few UH professors or students know about these proposed treaties. Full text of the 1854 agreed-upon but unsigned treaty of annexation can be seen at
LANDINGS OF U.S. PEACEKEEPERS IN 1874 AND 1889 HAD THE EFFECT OF SUPPORTING KALAKAUA; BUT A REVOLUTION IN 1887 BY LOCAL RESIDENTS, WITH ZERO U.S. INVOLVEMENT, FORCED KALAKAUA TO PROCLAIM A NEW CONSTITUTION REDUCING HIM TO A MERE FIGUREHEAD.
History-twisters often say that the landing of U.S. troops in 1893 was unexpected and unprecedented. But in fact the Kingdom had come to rely on U.S. troops to stop riots and restore order on previous occasions of bloodshed when the Honolulu police force and the Royal Guard were too weak to get the job done.
In 1874, following the death of King William Charles Lunalilo, no successor to the throne had been named. A decision was made to hold an election, in which dowager Queen Emma (wife of Alexander Liholiho Kamehameha IV) and David Kalakaua were the two candidates. The election was held in the legislature, where members of the House of Nobles and House of Representatives met together, each member having one vote. Although the public had no right to vote for monarch, there was a campaign lasting several weeks with great public interest. Reports in both Hawaiian and English language newspapers indicated that Emma enjoyed strong public support. But Kalakaua bribed many legislators and supplied them with liquor, so that on election day he won by a large margin. When the result was announced from the balcony of the legislature, a huge crowd of Emma's supporters began rioting in the streets and also entered the building. A legislator was thrown out of a second-floor window to his death; and a carriage waiting in the street for Kalakaua was broken apart by the mob for wood to be used as clubs to beat the pro-Kalakaua legislators. U.S. peacekeepers came ashore from a Navy ship in the harbor and restored order.
In 1887 a group of 1500 armed men, sick and tired of the corruption and instability of King Kalakaua's government, surrounded Iolani Palace and forced Kalakaua to sign a new Constitution severely restricting his powers. The choice he was given was to either sign the new Constitution or else the monarchial form of government would be replaced by a republic. That revolution took place with zero U.S. military involvement. The largest national origin of men who participated in that revolution was Portuguese, not American.
In 1889 Kalakaua's sister Liliuokalani, having returned from England, hated the fact that Kalakaua had signed the new Constitution. With the help of Robert Wilcox, she plotted against her brother in hopes of taking over the government and restoring monarchial powers. As the plot was put into action Robert Wilcox and his militia, armed with rifles and grenades, attacked the Palace, resulting in 7 men killed and many injured. The roof of the Palace Bungalow was blown open by dynamite bombs blindly thrown over the eight-foot-high wall surrounding the Palace. U.S. Marines came ashore to restore order, and continued patrolling the streets for a week before returning to their ship. During later remodeling the Bungalow was razed, and the walls around the Palace were lowered to their present height to allow events on each side of the wall to be visible to people on the other side. For details about the Liliuokalani/Wilcox attempted coup, and comments by Supreme Court Chief Justice A.F. Judd regarding the trial and acquittal of Robert Wilcox by an all-native jury, see
THE REVOLUTION OF 1893 THAT OVERTHREW THE MONARCHY WAS DONE BY LOCAL RESIDENTS WITHOUT U.S. ASSISTANCE.
History-twisters like to say that in January 1893 the U.S. staged an armed invasion of Hawaii, took over Iolani Palace, arrested the Queen, and established a the Provisional Government as a puppet regime. Note the statements of Senators Inouye, Dorgan, and Akaka previously cited.
Here's what really happened.
In 1891 Kalakaua went to California for medical treatment and died there. Thus Liliuokalani became Queen in 1891. She immediately started political agitation to get support for overthrowing the 1887 Constitution, which she had sworn to uphold in her 1891 oath of office, but which she had previously tried to overthrow in her 1889 coup plot with Robert Wilcox.
Liliuokalani's new constitution would have restored strong powers to the monarch, including undoing the reforms of the constitution of 1887. Her attempt to unilaterally proclaim a new constitution was a naked grab for power, and an act of treason; and it was the immediate precipitating cause of her overthrow. The Queen had appointed her cabinet ministers only a few days before the overthrow, and only after bribing the Legislature to confirm them. Nevertheless, the cabinet ministers refused to support her attempt to proclaim her new constitution, despite her threats of bodily harm to them. The Morgan Report has numerous testimonies describing how the Queen bribed the Legislature to support the dismissal of her cabinet a few days before the Legislature's term ended; and the appointment of a new cabinet favorable to the lottery, distillery, and opium bills; the passage of those bills; the closing of the Legislature; and then the immediate attempt to proclaim a new constitution.
In mid-January 1893 there was a crowd of 500 natives on the grounds of Iolani Palace expecting the Queen to announce a new Constitution. The Queen spoke to them from the balcony, saying she had a new Constitution but some difficulties had arisen and they should go home. The difficulty was that the cabinet ministers she herself had recently appointed absolutely refused to give their approval to her new Constitution, as the law required. The natives were very restless.
Meanwhile, there was a mass meeting of most of the 1500 men from the 1887 revolution. The meeting was in the Armory a couple blocks from the Palace (the Armory no longer exists), and many of the men were carrying guns. Now that the Queen was trying to overthrow that 1887 Constitution and proclaim a new Constitution giving herself nearly dictatorial powers, these men were openly planning a revolution to replace the monarchy with a republic. Nearly all of these men had white skin (although the largest ethnic group were Portuguese which other Europeans and Americans regarded as not quite white). Seven of the thirteen members of the Committee of Safety, leading the revolution, were native-born subjects of the Kingdom, and several other leaders were European or American nationals. All were long-time residents of Hawaii and had voting rights. In 1893 only about 40% of the people of Hawaii had any native blood. See sworn testimony about the nationalities of the members of the Committee of Safety at
and further discussion about the ethnic composition of Hawaii's people and the events of the revolution at
Tensions were running high. Everyone knew about the competing mass meetings. Flyers were posted on buildings and trees, and notices were printed in the newspapers. Honolulu residents of European and American ancestry were afraid for their lives, homes, and businesses, because some of the more radical natives had threatened to use arson and rioting as political weapons if there was an attempt to overthrow the monarchy.
The tensions were not only political, but also racial. Liliuokalani was head of a multiracial government, but she used her great political power primarily to pursue racial supremacy. Throughout her reign as Queen, Liliuokalani had often used the phrase "my people" to refer to her race rather than her multiracial subjects. There were reports that the new Constitution she was trying to proclaim would allow voting rights only for ethnic Hawaiians. We will never be able to prove that, because immediately after the revolution she destroyed all copies of her proposed Constitution (it's likely that one reason she did that was to prevent anyone from seeing the racism of that document). But there is some evidence, although it is admittedly "hearsay." For example, portions of the alleged new Constitution were published in a royalist newspaper Ka Makaainana: Vol. 1, No. 21 (21 May 1894): page 4. Article 62 seems to set forth a racial restriction of voting rights for ethnic Hawaiians exclusively: "Pauku 62. O na kupa wale no ke hiki ke koho balota, a hoemiia mai hoi ke ana waiwai e kupono ai o na poe koho." The word "kupa" could mean simply "citizen" including naturalized Caucasian citizens; however, "kupa" also carries a stronger connotation of multiple generations of family residency in a particular place, which in 1894 would clearly imply native blood.
The only ship in the harbor which had weapons on board was the U.S.S. Boston. European and American residents, and some European diplomats, pleaded with the U.S. diplomat (Minister Stevens) to call sailors ashore to protect lives and property. And so 162 armed sailors came ashore as peacekeepers. They were under strict orders to remain neutral. They were never actually used, except for some who were sent to guard the U.S. consulate. They did not point their weapons at anyone, did not take over any buildings, stayed off the Palace's and government building's grounds, did not patrol the streets, and remained in barracks in a building down a sidestreet a couple blocks from the Palace. A few days later some began returning to their ship in the harbor, and a few weeks later the last of them had left. There were no U.S. military forces on Hawaiian soil after April 1 and throughout the remaining four years of Grover Cleveland's Presidency. For 808 pages of historical documents and testimony under oath in open hearings under cross-examination, about what the U.S. peacekeepers did in 1893, see the Morgan Report at
This was certainly not an armed invasion as happened when Germany invaded Poland, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, or China invaded Tibet. It was more like what happened in Liberia a couple years ago, or in Haiti a few years before that, when the U.S. sent armed troops ashore as peacekeepers for a few weeks during a period of civil war or anticipated violence where American lives and property were at risk.
The local revolutionaries sent men and guns to the government building (Aliiolani Hale, where the Kamehameha statue is). When they took over the building they discovered and seized guns and ammunition that the royalists had previously stored there in anticipation of fighting the revolutionaries. They read a proclamation declaring that the monarchy was finished, and then took over the police station, royal guard barracks, treasury, etc. The Queen decided not to fight. She wrote a letter surrendering temporarily, under protest, claiming she was surrendering to the U.S. on account of superior U.S. firepower, and claiming she was surrendering only until such time as the U.S. government would examine what had happened and restore her to power. However, she knew very well that it was the local revolutionaries who had defeated her, and she correctly ordered her letter of protest and surrender to be delivered to Provisional Government President Sanford B. Dole. She delivered her surrender to Dole, presumably because she knew the revolutionaries might otherwise order an attack; and she did not deliver any surrender to U.S. Minister Stevens because she knew he was neutral and would never attack her. By claiming to surrender to the U.S., she hoped her friend, incoming President Grover Cleveland, would undo the revolution.
From January 17 to 19 every consul of all the nations that had consulates in Honolulu delivered a letter to President Dole granting diplomatic recognition de facto. That means those consuls agreed that the Provisional Government had taken power, and those nations would now do business with the PG rather than with the ex-queen. De facto recognition is all a consul is empowered to grant. Also, de facto is the only level of recognition given to a self-described temporary provisional government. The PG immediately drafted a treaty of annexation and sent it on the next ship headed to America. Since the PG was hoping to be annexed promptly, it felt no need to establish a permanent republic, and no need to seek full-fledged recognition de jure. Complete text of all letters of de facto recognition from local consuls in Honolulu, January 17-19, 1893; as taken from the Morgan Report, are at
PRESIDENT CLEVELAND'S EFFORTS TO DESTABILIZE THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT AND RESTORE THE QUEEN
History twisters say the Provisional Government was a U.S. puppet regime, and thus Hawaii was under a continuing military occupation by the U.S. But that's absurd. The history twisters celebrate U.S. President Grover Cleveland's refusal to allow annexation and his efforts to restore the Queen; yet somehow they ignore the obvious fact that the President is commander in chief of the armed forces and Cleveland would never have allowed a military occupation of Hawaii or a puppet regime.
The revolutionary Provisional Government was not a U.S. puppet regime. In fact, incoming President Grover Cleveland (a Democrat isolationist) was a personal friend of the ex-queen. When he came into office in March he immediately withdrew from the Senate the treaty of Annexation proposed by the Provisional Government and sent to the Senate by outgoing President Harrison (a Republican expansionist). Cleveland began a ten month aggressive effort to destabilize the Provisional Government and put Liliuokalani back on the throne. On day number 6 of his Presidency he hastily sent a political hack (James Blount) to Honolulu, without Senate confirmation, illegally naming him "Minister Plenipotentiary With Paramount Powers." The reason for giving him "paramount powers" was so that he would outrank President Harrison's Minister Plenipotentiary [without paramount powers] John L. Stevens. Thus, in order to help his friend Liliuokalani, President Cleveland secretly sent his own emissary Blount, not confirmed by the Senate, with a title to outrank and overrule the already on-duty Minister Stevens who had Senate confirmation. Mr. Blount probably had no legitimate authority to represent the U.S. since he had no Senate confirmation; and certainly no right to give orders to U.S. troops; but the Democrat-controlled Congress acquiesced because it did not want to cause trouble for the newly inaugurated Democrat President.
Blount stayed for several months in the royalist hotel next to the Palace (later razed and rebuilt as the Hemmeter building, now the state art museum). He held secret meetings with royalist leaders, taking notes on their stories about what happened in January, and probably plotting with them to restore the Queen. Later he wrote a one-sided report for President Cleveland to use as a political weapon to justify U.S. efforts to restore the Queen. Cleveland kept the Blount Report secret for several months. Meanwhile other U.S. diplomats tried to persuade Liliuokalani to give up her threat to chop off the heads of the revolutionaries, in return for the diplomats' help in putting her back on the throne. Late in December, having failed to destabilize the provisional Government, the top U.S. diplomat in Honolulu, Minister Willis (who had replaced Blount and was confirmed by the Senate), wrote a last-ditch letter to Hawaii President Sanford B. Dole ordering Dole to step down and restore the monarchy; but Dole refused and told Willis to stop interfering in Hawaii's internal affairs. See:
"Letter of December 19, 1893 from United States Minister Willis to Hawaii President Dole, Demanding That Liliuokalani Be Restored to the Throne," at
See "Letter of December 23, 1893 from Hawaii President Sanford B. Dole to U.S. Minister Willis, Refusing United States Demand to Restore Ex-Queen Liliuokalani to the Throne" at
Does any of this support the claim that the Provisional Government was a U.S. puppet regime under U.S. military occupation? Obviously not! The U.S. was actively trying to destabilize and overturn the Provisional Government, and the Provisional Government was defiantly refusing to obey direct "orders" from the U.S. When Minister Blount arrived in Hawaii on April 1, he immediately ordered the few remaining U.S. peacekeepers to leave Hawaiian soil.
Having failed to overthrow the Provisional Government and restore the Queen, despite strong efforts to do so from April 1 through December, 1893, President Cleveland made the Blount Report public in December and sent a message to Congress based on it, asking Congress to decide what to do next. He probably hoped to get Congress to authorize military force to restore his friend Liliuokalani to the throne.
A very important book was published in 2011 by William M. Morgan, Ph.D. entitled "Pacific Gibraltar: U.S. Japanese Rivalry Over the Annexation of Hawaii, 1885-1898." See a detailed book review with summaries of each chapter and numerous lengthy quotes, at
Here are some of the main points in that book in relation to President Cleveland's efforts to destabilize the Provisional Government and restore the monarchy:
Cleveland, Blount, and Willis (and especially Secretary of State Gresham) actively conspired with the royalists to overthrow Hawaii's Provisional Government and put Liliuokalani back on the throne. Secretary of State Gresham wanted to use U.S. military force to overthrow the Dole government. A strongly worded memo from Attorney General Olney (the only time he ever intruded into Gresham's military turf) warned against the use of force, and Cleveland decided to use only intimidation rather than actual force. U.S. warships were deployed, and their personnel drilled repeatedly and noisily on ship and on shore, in such a way as to intimidate the Provisional Government. The Dole government took these threats very seriously, and made a decision to fight back against U.S. troops if there were an invasion. In the same way as Stevens' equal treatment of the royals and the rebels had been improper in view of Stevens' accreditation to a recognized government, and seemed intimidating to the royalists; so also U.S. behavior toward President Dole's men was improper since the U.S. had given de facto recognition to the Provisional Government. Minister Willis had two meetings with Liliuokalani during which he asked her at least five times whether she would grant amnesty to the revolutionists if the U.S. could persuade the Dole government to step down. On the first two or three occasions Liliuokalani insisted she would behead them and confiscate their property; later she softened her response to set aside the beheading but still insisted on confiscation and banishment. At the last minute, In December 1893 as the ship was ready to sail taking her final message of refusal to Washington, she delayed its departure and sent a written message promising amnesty. But President Dole adamantly refused to step down, and President Cleveland had already sent a message to Congress turning over the matter to them (which resulted in the Morgan Report and the Turpie Resolution).
David Keanu Sai completed his Ph.D. dissertation in Political Science in 2008, filed an unsuccessful lawsuit based on it in 2010, and has been collaborating with a real estate company during the years since then to make demands against title insurance companies to pay clients whose homes are in foreclosure, on the grounds that land title transfers since 1893 were invalid. He claims that there were two executive agreements between Liliuokalani and Grover Cleveland, as heads of their nations, to put the executive powers of the Queen in the hands of the U.S. President temporarily, and then to restore sovereignty to Liliuokalani; and that those executive agreements remain binding on all subsequent U.S. Presidents. For an analysis of Sai's bogus claim that there was an executive agreement betweem Cleveland and Liliuokalani, see
For a "dialog" between Keanu Sai and Ken Conklin, see
See also a webpage correcting some of the errors in Niklaus Schweizer's history of Prince Kuhio and the Royal Hawaiian Band.
U.S. SENATE HOLDS HEARINGS TO FIND OUT WHAT U.S. PEACEKEEPERS HAD DONE DURING THE HAWAIIAN REVOLUTION, AND TO CONSIDER WHETHER THE U.S. SHOULD TAKE ANY NEW ACTION.
The history twisters insist the Blount Report was true, and they say the Morgan report was a pack of lies to cover up the illegal U.S. overthrow of the monarchy. But the opposite is true. The Morgan report repudiates the Blount report, even to the extent of providing sworn testimony that Blount had falsely reported what people had told him.
During January and February, 1894, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, under the chairmanship of Democrat John T. Morgan, held hearings on what had happened a year previously. They took testimony under oath (unlike Blount's informal conversations), with severe cross-examination (Blount had been the sole interviewer), and open to the public (Blount's interviews were private and mostly secret). The testimony about what happened and exactly when, was given by military officers and men of several ranks who had been on the U.S.S. Boston in Honolulu, plus Minister Stevens and Minister Blount, plus some men who had served in high positions in the Kingdom government (such as William De Witt Alexander, native-born subject of the Kingdom, born on Kauai in 1833, appointed surveyor-general of the Kingdom by Kamehameha V, and President of Oahu College). The committee published an 808 page report on February 26, 2004 including transcripts of all the testimony, exhibits, and a 35-page summary of its conclusions. This Morgan report concluded that the U.S. was not to blame for the revolution and had not given any help to the revolutionaries. Not long after that the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that the U.S. (i.e., President Cleveland) should stop interfering in Hawaii's internal affairs.
The Morgan Report had been sent to Democrat President Grover Cleveland by Democrat Senator John Morgan, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. That Senate then passed a resolution telling the President to keep hands off Hawaii. Thus it became abundantly clear that President Cleveland had been operating as a rogue, without the support of even his own political party. Sworn testimony in the Morgan report repudiated unsworn, politically motivated contents of the Blount report. When the Republic of Hawaii was created a few months later President Cleveland, knowing he could no longer work to restore Liliuokalani, gave full diplomatic recognition to the Republic. See: "Grover Cleveland's activities regarding Hawaii, March 1893 through December 1894: Overthrow, Cleveland Sends Blount, Demand to Dole for Queen's Reinstatement, Referral to Congress, The Morgan Report, Senate Resolution closes the door, Cleveland's Second Annual Message, Rewriting History" at
TEMPORARY PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT IS REPLACED BY PERMANENT REPUBLIC OF HAWAII, WHICH GETS FULL DIPLOMATIC RECOGNITION DE JURE FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
The history twisters say the Republic was merely a continuation of the Provisional Government. They say the Republic was never a real government, and never got any further diplomatic recognition beyond the temporary de facto recognition given to the PG by local consuls during the first couple of days after the revolution. But that's totally false.
Realizing that Cleveland would block Hawaii's annexation for the remaining three years of his Presidency, and now assured by the Senate resolution that the U.S. would stop trying to overthrow the Provisional Government, the temporary PG decided to create a permanent Republic. There were several reasons for doing this, including greater stability and job security for government employees (most of whom had kept the same jobs they held under the monarchy); and a hope for full-fledged international recognition. The PG convened a Constitutional Convention (which included at least five delegates with native Hawaiian surnames) and held elections for a legislature and President (the Speaker of the House was full-blooded native Hawaiian John Kaulukou). In a political gesture showing its continuing wish for annexation, the date of July 4, 1894 was chosen to officially establish the Republic of Hawaii by publication of its Constitution. Full text of the Constitution of the Republic, and information about the Constitutional Convention that produced it, are available at:
Hawaii President Dole spoke with the local consuls of foreign nations. He gave them copies of the Constitution, asked them to notify their home governments about the creation of the Republic of Hawaii, and requested full diplomatic recognition. A New York Times article of July 22, 1894 repeats a news report that arrived in San Francisco by ship from Honolulu; about the creation of the Republic of Hawaii on July 4, the huge multiracial crowd celebrating it on the streets of Honolulu, a weak protest by dejected royalists, and the immediate informal recognition given to the Republic by U.S. Minister Willis and various local consuls from other nations. See
During the following six months President Dole received the letters of full diplomatic recognition he had requested. The archives of the State of Hawaii has the original letters addressed to President Dole personally signed by kings, queens, emperors, and presidents of at least 20 nations on 4 continents, written in 11 languages, formally granting full diplomatic recognition de jure to the Republic as the rightful government of the nation of Hawaii. Among the signers were Queen Victoria of England, two Princes of China on behalf of the Emperor, the Tsar of Russia, the King and Queen of Spain; the President of France, the President of Brazil, and yes, even President Grover Cleveland. A couple years later the Emperor of Japan personally signed a letter to President Dole raising the Japanese consulate to the status of Legation -- a status never enjoyed by the Kingdom.
Photographs of the letters of recognition have been placed on a webpage at
The historical significance of those letters and their implications for statehood, Akaka bill, and ceded lands; are explained at
along with a detailed example of the Hawaiian sovereignty lie that such letters do not exist.
Biographical information about Sanford Ballard Dole -- Elected Legislator and Appointed Supreme Court Justice of the Kingdom of Hawaii; President of the Provisional Government and of the Republic of Hawaii; Governor of the Territory of Hawaii, and Presiding Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Territory of Hawaii. See
JANUARY 1895 ATTEMPTED COUNTERREVOLUTION BY ROBERT WILCOX; TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT OF EX-QUEEN LILIUOKALANI FOR CONSPIRACY IN IT
History twisters say Liliuokalani was arrested and imprisoned in her own palace, implying that this was done by U.S. forces during the revolution of 1893. They portray her as a non-violent peaceful protester.
But in fact, here's what happened. As the letters of full-fledged diplomatic recognition de jure for the Republic of Hawaii rolled in from around the world during the second half of 1894, the royalists grew increasingly desperate. They could see that the only way to restore the monarchy was through a violent counterrevolution. They made arrangements to smuggle guns and bombs from San Francisco to Honolulu -- something that probably required the secret approval or at least acquiescence of the U.S. Navy and might have been known by U.S. government officials. In January 1895 Wilcox and his men attempted their counterrevolution, but were quickly defeated by the strong power of the Republic. No U.S. troops were involved.
Guns and bombs were found buried in the flower bed at Liliuokalani's private home ("Washington Place") about two blocks from Iolani Palace. With that evidence, a warrant was obtained to search her home. It was discovered that she had already signed documents appointing cabinet ministers and department heads for her anticipated new government. She was placed on trial for "misprision of treason"; i.e., knowing ahead of time about the counterrevolution and failing to report it (sort of like catching a thief with stolen goods in his pocket but charging him only with possession of stolen property).
Here is a lengthy quote from Helena G. Allen, "The Betrayal of Liliuokalani" (Glendale California, Arthur H. Clark Co., 1982. Chapter 8 "A Queen Imprisoned", p. 341.
"Liliuokalani, after her conviction of misprision, returned to her prison, sometimes referred to by the Republic writers as the "spacious apartment in the left wing of the Iolani Palace." To Liliuokalani, who was forbidden visitors or news of any kind, and allowed merely to walk under guard on the balcony and never to leave the "spacious quarters" -- this was her prison. Sanford Ballard Dole, after a two-week review period, commuted her sentence from the $5,000 fine and five years "imprisonment at hard labor" to mere imprisonment. In fact all the death sentences were remitted and many of the fines. By March 19, 1895, martial law was ended, and the military commission adjourned sine die. Of the 190 prisoners (37 for "treason and open rebellion"; 141, "treason"; and 12, "misprision"), twenty-two had been exiled to the United States, three were deported to Canada, five received suspended sentences, five were acquitted, among them Sam Nowlein, and the remainder served short sentences usually without either fines or hard labor. By January 1, 1896, all were "freed", except Liliuokalani. She remained nearly eight months in her Iolani Palace prison (January 16 to September 6, 1895); five months more under "house arrest" at Washington Place (September 6, 1895 to February 6, 1896 -- a little over a month after all the others had been released); then island-restricted from February 6, 1896, to October 6, 1896 -- nearly 21 months total."
Finally, her friend President Dole granted her a full pardon. She showed her gratitude a few months later by authorizing a petition drive and then traveling personally to Washington to lobby against President Dole's most cherished dream, the treaty of annexation.
The history twisters like to portray Liliuokalani as a practitioner of non-violent resistance half a century before Mahatama Gandhi and Martin Luther King. But in fact she authorized and conspired in violence resulting in death on at least two occasions: the attempted coup of 1889 led by Robert Wilcox against her own brother Kalakaua, and the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895. For a webpage debunking the comparison with King and Gandhi, see
THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII TO THE U.S. IN 1898 WAS LEGITIMATE, DESPITE AN INEFFECTIVE PROTEST PETITION SIGNED BY PERHAPS HALF THE MEMBERS OF A RACIAL MINORITY
The history twisters say that there was never a treaty of annexation. They say the U.S. joint resolution of annexation is merely an internal law of the U.S. with no effect on Hawaii, because the U.S. Congress cannot unilaterally pass a law that has any effect outside its own borders. They say that under international law a treaty is the only way for the U.S. to annex another nation. They say that the ceded lands are actually stolen lands, because the Republic had no legitimacy to give those lands to the U.S. and because an internal law passed by Congress has no authority to reach out and grab the lands of a foreign nation. They say that a petition opposing annexation was signed by 38,000 men, women, and children, constituting 95% of all ethnic Hawaiians then living. But all those claims are false.
We saw above the proof that the Republic of Hawaii was internationally recognized as a full-fledged member of the family of nations, replacing the previously recognized but now defunct monarchy. Full recognition by all the major nations was the method whereby international law acknowledged that the revolution of 1893 had been legitimate. Full recognition gave the Republic the right under international law to speak on behalf of the nation, and to offer a treaty of annexation. The Republic of Hawaii offered a treaty of annexation in 1897 in a document ratified by its legislature in accord with its constitution. The U.S. accepted that offer in 1898 by means of a joint resolution. The vote was 42-21 in the Senate (exactly 2/3) and 209-91 in the House (well above 2/3).
The U.S., like any nation, has the right to decide for itself what method to use for accepting an offer of a treaty. It's a matter of U.S. law, not international law, whether the U.S. can use a joint resolution as a method of ratifying a treaty. The same method of joint resolution had been used to accept the annexation of Texas in 1845. No protest against the idea of annexation or the method of ratifying annexation was filed by any nation, either with the U.S. or with the Republic of Hawaii. All the treaty-partners of the Kingdom of Hawaii accepted the Republic, and later the U.S., as the rightful sovereign successor governments to carry forward those treaties following the revolution of 1893 and annexation of 1898.
There was a protest against annexation in the form of a petition signed by 21,269 Hawaii residents in 1897. Most of the signatures are by ethnic Hawaiians, but some are by people of other ethnicities. Interpolation of census data shows there were about 39,542 ethnic Hawaiians in 1897; so if all the signatures were from ethnic Hawaiians then 54% of them signed. Thus, on average, an ethnic Hawaiian today who looks for the signatures of his ancestors will find that only about half of them alive in 1893 actually signed the petition. However, all people were eligible to sign the petition, regardless of ethnicity and regardless whether they had voting rights (for example, women and children did not have voting rights but thousands of them signed the petition). Therefore the entire population of Hawaii at the time is the appropriate number for assessing the percentage who signed. Interpolation yields 120,265 as the population in 1897, which means the 21,269 signatures represent only 18% of the population. The Great Statehood Petition of 1954, with 120,000 signatures (see below), had a higher percentage of signers. The statehood plebiscite of 1959 had 94.3% YES votes, and even its strongest detractors admit that represents about 1/3 of the entire voting-age population.
There's also doubt about whether the signatures are valid on the anti-annexation petition. Lorrin A. Thurston, who had served in the Kingdom legislature, reported that Hawaiian legislators would often gather pages of signatures on petitions whose subjects had not yet been written, so the legislator could stockpile a box full of signed petitions and later fill in the purpose of the petition unbeknownst to those who had signed it. Thurston gave numerous examples of forgeries, multiple signings, and the alteration of children's ages on the anti-annexation petition. See full text of Thurston's detailed challenge to the validity of the signatures at
There was allegedly another petition signed by about 17,000 people. But it has never been found. The real petition with 21,269 signatures is in the national archives because it was actually submitted to the U.S. Senate in 1897. The smaller petition is not in the archives because it was never submitted. Furthermore, the smaller petition was on a very different topic -- demanding that the monarchy be re-established. History twisters like to add together the signatures on both petitions to arrive at 38,000. But it seems logical that most of the 17,000 signatures demanding restoration of the monarchy were also among the 21,269 opposing annexation. Thus the number of people signing the combined petitions is probably not much larger than 22,000. It's also interesting that approximately 4,000 people who opposed annexation also opposed restoring ex-queen Liliuokalani.
History twister Noenoe Silva "discovered" the petition in the National Archives just in time for the 1998 centennial of annexation. How convenient! She and her fellow history twisters claim that the existence of the petition was nearly unknown because it had been suppressed by evil Caucasians. But one of the main reasons its existence was unknown is that Liliuokalani herself never mentioned it in any of her diaries, and there was no reference to it in either the Hawaiian language or English language newspapers of the time, which were filled with news and comments about political activism for and against annexation. So if knowledge of the petition was suppressed, the ethnic Hawaiians and their leaders were co-conspirators in suppressing it. See a detailed review of Noenoe Silva's book "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism: at
Sovereignty activists today like to say there never was a treaty of annexation between Hawaii and the U.S. That's why the following webpage is important: "Treaty of Annexation between the Republic of Hawaii and the United States of America (1898). Full text of the treaty, and of the resolutions whereby the Republic of Hawaii legislature and the U.S. Congress ratified it. The politics surrounding the treaty, then and now."
For additional discussion of the annexation, see "Was the 1898 annexation illegal?" at
A very important book was published in 2011 by William M. Morgan, Ph.D. entitled "Pacific Gibraltar: U.S. Japanese Rivalry Over the Annexation of Hawaii, 1885-1898." See a detailed book review with summaries of each chapter and numerous lengthy quotes, at
Here are some of the main points in that book in relation to Annexation:
Japan demanded unlimited immigration to Hawaii with or without labor contracts, and demanded they be given voting rights the same as whites and Hawaiians. Several warships were sent to Honolulu by Japan, U.S., and Britain. The Republic of Hawaii was eventually forced to pay $75,000 in reparations to the Japanese for the costs of the immigrants who had been rejected and sent back. There was a diplomatic/military crisis between Japan and the U.S. in 1897, over Japanese immigration to Hawaii; and Hawaii's strategic location; were the major causes of U.S. desire to accept Hawaii's offer of annexation. There was never any thought of forcible annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. Annexation was initiated by the request of the government of Hawaii, which wrote and submitted a treaty to the U.S., first in 1893 and then again in 1897 (after Grover Cleveland's term ended). Hawaii repeatedly sent its own government officials to Washington to seek annexation by lobbying with U.S. Senators, Representatives, and cabinet officers. Sometimes U.S. politicians resisted or were less than enthusiastic, but Hawaii officials kept on trying.
Regarding the actual process of Annexation, the "Pacific Gibraltar" book says that Joint resolution by both House and Senate was always given equal consideration as a method of annexation; those favoring annexation never felt constrained to do annexation solely by a 2/3 vote of the Senate. It was always a political question to choose the method most likely to succeed, and the previous annexation of Texas by joint resolution was cited as a precedent. The Speaker of the House was strongly opposed, and had the power to unilaterally block it. They decided to start in the Senate so that Senate passage would put pressure on the House Speaker. But careful counting showed they were two or three votes short of the necessary 2/3 in the Senate. And there would be a filibuster. Near-unanimous pressure from House Republicans and the McKinley administration forced the House Speaker to allow a vote, and it passed 209-91 on June 15, 1898. The Filibuster in the Senate was broken when annexation supporters demanded the Senate stay in session on July 3 and 4 (holiday); an agreement was reached to adjourn for the holiday with a guarantee of a vote on July 6, when it passed 42-21. President McKinley signed it on July 7. The book gives the impression there was never an actual vote in the Senate that fell short of 2/3 and therefore forced the choice of joint resolution as the method. That impression comes because no such actual vote is ever mentioned. It might be correct. I, Ken Conklin, am unable to find mention of any actual vote on annexation by the Senate at any time in the 1890s except for the final vote of 42-21 on July 6, 1898 on the joint resolution. The book does make clear that because of opposition by the Speaker of the House who had the power to block any piece of legislation on his own authority, annexationists thought it would be best to try the Senate first. But whip counts in the Senate showed that the treaty was 2 or 3 votes short of 2/3, and there would be a filibuster which could block even a simple majority vote (apparently there was no cloture procedure back then). So pressure was brought on the Speaker who allowed a vote in the House; then the filibuster in the Senate was overcome when opponents did not want to ruin the 4th of July holiday. The anti-annexation petitions by Hawaiian groups Hui Aloha 'Aina and Hui Kalai'aina had no practical effect at all. Polling of Senators by newspapers and party whips before and after the petitions were presented in 1897 showed that no Senator changed his commitment on account of the petitions.
The politics of digitizing Hawaiian language newspapers (from 1834-1948). A project to digitize Hawaiian language newspapers from the 19th Century appears superficially to be for scholarly research and revitalization of the language, but is actually being done primarily for political purposes in service to the sovereignty independence movement. The project is likely to engage in history-twisting by selecting royalist newspapers while ignoring Hawaiian language newspapers that were anti-monarchy or pro-annexation, thereby creating the impression that native Hawaiians were entirely pro-monarchy. The project might also twist history by allowing insertions or deletions of individual words or paragraphs, in the absence of providing photos of the scanned pages that would enable neutral scholars to verify the accuracy of transcription. An army of sovereignty activists are being recruited to do the transcribing by manually retyping thousands of pages from looking at photos of them, rather than using an optical character reader; thereby using the project to foster solidarity among the activists and to recruit new ones. The beginning and ending dates of this project were intentionally selected to be the dates of the two Hawaiian kingdom holidays of greatest political significance: Ka La Ku'oko'a (November 28, Independence Day) and Ka La Ho'iho'i Ea (July 31, Sovereignty Restoration Day). The organizers of the project are independence activists; and the sponsoring institutions and financial supporters are OHA, Bishop Estate, etc.
THE CEDED LANDS WERE LEGITIMATELY GIVEN TO THE U.S. IN 1898, AND THEN RETURNED TO HAWAII AT STATEHOOD IN 1959 IN FEE SIMPLE ABSOLUTE.
The Republic was internationally recognized as the rightful government of Hawaii, and therefore had the right to give its public lands to the U.S. as part of its treaty of annexation. In return for giving the sovereignty and public lands of Hawaii to the U.S., the U.S. agreed to assume (i.e., pay off) the national debt of Hawaii (most of which had been accumulated during the Kingdom including construction of Iolani Palace and Kalakaua's trip around the world). The amount of money the U.S. paid was larger than the actual market value of all the public lands (see an analysis of land values in the webpage about the Liliuokalani lawsuit, below); so in effect the U.S. purchased the public lands. However, Hawaii President Dole drove a very hard bargain, and the terms of annexation specified that Hawaii's public lands were not to be kept as part of the national lands of the U.S. but rather were to be held in trust, with all income to be used to benefit the residents of the Hawaiian islands for education and other public purposes.
The public lands in 1893 included both the government and the crown lands from the mahele of 1838. That's because a law passed in 1865 and signed by Lot Kamehameha V made the crown lands also the property of the government with revenues to be used to support the monarch in his capacity of head of the government. But now that the monarch had been replaced by a President, there was no longer a distinction between crown and government lands. This point was confirmed by the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Liliuokalani in 1909 and decided in 1910. Liliuokalani demanded money for the U.S. confiscation of "her" crown lands in the 1898 annexation. Today's history twisters like to say that the crown lands today remain the collective property of ethnic Hawaiians. But it's interesting that their hero Liliuokalani never made any such claim. She claimed the crown lands had belonged to her personally, not to ethnic Hawaiians collectively.
The court cited the Hawaiian Kingdom law from 1865 to prove that Liliuokalani had never personally owned the crown lands; and cited the annexation documents as proof that all the public lands of Hawaii (including the crown lands) had been properly transferred to the authority of the U.S. at the time of annexation.
A webpage contains full text of Liliuokalani's complaint and full text of the court's decision, along with analysis of its significance. The court's decision also includes full text of the treaty of annexation offered by the Republic and the joint resolution of acceptance by the U.S.. Thus readers can see that indeed there was a treaty of annexation whose language is the same as what is contained in the resolution of acceptance. See "Liliuokalani v. United States, 45 Ct. Cl. 418 (1910)" at
Regarding the ceded lands, see also these webpages:
Attorney Paul M. Sullivan's detailed review of Jon Van Dyke's book "Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawaii?" published in the University of Hawaii Law Review, Fall 2008.
The ceded lands case: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 31, 2009 that the 1993 apology resolution does not in any way change the ownership of Hawaii's public lands, and reaffirms that the Statehood Act returned the public lands to the State of Hawaii in fee simple absolute without any race-based ownership. A webpage includes full text of Judge Sabrina McKenna's trial court ruling, Hawaii Supreme Court ruling, all principal briefs and amicus briefs by both sides to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court oral argument transcripts, and U.S. Supreme Court final ruling; plus news reports and commentaries. See
DURING THE TERRITORIAL PERIOD HAWAII CONSTANTLY SOUGHT STATEHOOD
History twisters say there was never full discussion of statehood, and Hawaii was dragged into it without the consent of ethnic Hawaiians. Let's review what really happened.
The elected Territorial Legislature in 1903, with more than 70% of its members being Native Hawaiian, unanimously passed a joint resolution to ask Congress for an enabling act to convene a Constitutional Convention to create a Constitution for a proposed State of Hawaii (Session Laws of Hawaii, 1903, p.377 has the text of the resolution)
The Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau has confirmed the accuracy of these facts: In 1919, Hawaii's elected Territorial Delegate Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, undisputed heir to the throne if the Kingdom of Hawaii had continued, introduced into Congress the first bill for Hawaii Statehood. On November 5, 1940 the Hawaii general election ballot included the question "Do you favor Statehood for Hawai'i?" and the vote was 46,174 "yes" and 22,438 "No" (67% in the affirmative). In 1949 a special election was held to elect delegates to a Constitutional Convention to draft a Constitution for a proposed State of Hawaii, which draft Constitution was then approved by a special session of the Territorial Legislature on July 15, 1950 and was approved in the general election of November 7, 1950 by a vote of 82,788 "Yes" and 27,109 "No" (75% in the affirmative). U.S. Senate Report 886 of January 27, 1954, associated with a bill for Statehood, indicated that 33 bills for Statehood had been introduced by Hawai'i's Territorial delegates between 1919 and 1954.
In February 1954 a petition demanding "Statehood Now!" was signed by 120,000 people in two weeks. The gathering of signatures began in Honolulu when a huge roll of newsprint was unrolled for a block down the middle of Bishop Street for people to sign the petition. Two weeks later a sendoff celebration was held at ‘Iolani Palace including chants, hula, kahili, torch bearers, and the Hawaiian civic clubs, before sending the 250 pound petition to Congress. Quotes are provided from 1954 newspaper articles, and photo captions, describing the events of those two weeks. Information is provided about what has happened to the petition and where it is stored today. The contents of one signature page are provided including 32 names and addresses. See
IN 1959, A PLEBISCITE FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAWAII TO RATIFY STATEHOOD PASSED WITH 94.3% OF THE VOTERS SAYING YES.
In 1959 Congress passed the Statehood Act and President Eisenhower signed it. When a plebiscite was held, 94.3% of Hawaii voters said yes to statehood. President Eisenhower then proclaimed that, because Congress had passed the Statehood Act and Hawaii's people had ratified their acceptance of it, Hawaii was now a state fully equal to the other states. The Statehood Act of 1959 returned the public lands of Hawaii to the new State of Hawaii in fee simple absolute, except for military bases and national parks.
There were 132,773 votes "yes" and 7971 votes "no" for an astonishing 94.3% "yes" vote. For those who like to say ethnic Hawaiians were opposed to statehood: Do the math. If 20% of the voters were ethnic Hawaiians, that would mean there were 28,149 votes cast by ethnic Hawaiians = 20% out of the total 140,744. Supposing ALL the 7971 "no" votes had been cast by ethnic Hawaiians; then there were still 20,178 "yes" votes from ethnic Hawaiians, representing 72% of the 28,149 ethnic Hawaiian votes. The vote count was also broken down by individual representative district. The district with the highest percentage of ethnic Hawaiians -- sparsely-populated Moloka'i -- had 1904 "yes" and 75 "no" for a 96.2% "yes" vote -- the highest percentage among all the 17 districts. A 3-page pdf file (unfortunately 5.4 Megabytes!) shows the statistics as certified by Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina in his letter dated January 7, 2000:
Some history twisters have tried to minimize the 94.3% "yes" vote in the statehood plebiscite. They say it included votes by U.S. military men and women and their families, which is inappropriate because they allegedly have no real ties to Hawaii and because they are members of a so-called "foreign military occupation." But the truth is that most members of the armed forces, and their families, vote by absentee ballot as citizens of the state from which they came and to which they will someday return; they do not vote in Hawaii elections. Even if the entire number of military people in Hawaii were subtracted from the number of yes votes, the winning percentage would still be huge.
The argument that votes by military people should not be counted in the statehood plebiscite is only the tip of a very large iceberg. The history twisters also claim that the only people who should have a right to vote on the status of Hawaii are people who have an ancestor who was a subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom. According to that theory about 75% of all the people of Hawaii should be disenfranchised. All ethnic Hawaiians in Hawaii or anywhere in the world would be entitled to vote, and they would comprise 85-90% of eligible voters. Even within the view that descendants of Kingdom subjects should have voting rights, there's a further refinement to the effect that only ethnic Hawaiians are the only ones entitled to full rights, because they are the "indigenous" people. Asians and Caucasians who have lived in Hawaii for as many as eight generations, including those whose ancestors were Kingdom subjects, are members of a colonial establishment oppressing ethnic Hawaiians. See a review of the book "Asian Settler Colonialism" at
Some history twisters minimize the 94.3% figure by citing data for the percentage of people who were eligible to vote, and reducing it further because only a percentage of those eligible to vote actually cast a ballot. As a result of such statistics-twisting, it turns out that only about one-third of Hawaii's people actually voted for statehood. But of course such an analysis can be done for any election in Hawaii, the U.S., or the world. Only a minority of the people actually vote, and many of them vote opposite to the outcome. The fact remains that no other election in the history of Hawaii has ever had such a huge margin of victory. If the statistical procedures of the history twisters were applied to analyze other elections, all election results would be thrown out.
Some history twisters say the statehood vote was illegal under international law because it failed to offer the option of independence. Untwisting this topic would require a lengthy analysis beyond the scope of this essay (see pp. 99-105 in the "Hawaiian Apartheid" book). But two rebuttals are easy to understand. (1) Those who say the option of independence must be offered in a status plebiscite also have numerous other impossible conditions that must be met to make the vote legitimate, including the prior withdrawal of all U.S. military forces in Hawaii and a lengthy "education" (i.e., propaganda) campaign. (2) Every time a status plebiscite has been offered in Puerto Rico which included the option of independence, that option got only two to four percent of the vote; despite the fact that Puerto Rico's culture and Spanish language dominance make Puerto Rico a much more likely candidate for independence than Hawaii.
Perhaps the most ridiculous example of history twisting is the book "Hawaii -- The Fake State (A Manifesto and Expose of a Nation in Captivity)" by Aran Alton Ardaiz, published in 2008. A detailed book review can be found at
Today's sovereignty activists like to say that ethnic Hawaiians strongly opposed statehood in the 1950s although their opposition was muted because they felt oppressed and intimidated. They say Alice Kamokila Campbell's opposition to statehood during a U.S. Senate hearing in 1949 shows a continuing ethnic Hawaiian desire for independence. However, reading her full testimony shows that she did not seek independence; but rather she was afraid that statehood would allow ethnic Japanese and Chinese to establish dominance in Hawaii. See "Dialog: Was there widespread, significant, organized opposition to Hawaii statehood by ethnic Hawaiians during the 1950s?" at
WHAT DOES THE U.S. OWE TO ETHNIC HAWAIIANS?
The United States owes to ethnic Hawaiians the same things it owes to all citizens -- things like protection of life, liberty, property, and the rule of law; and assistance to individuals who are unable to help themselves. Nothing less. And nothing more. Ethnic victimhood grievances related to the revolution of 1893 have been explored in depth by Congress on two occasions. We do not need to reinvent the wheel in every generation.
In 1894 the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs spent two months hearing testimony under oath in open session with severe cross-examination, regarding U.S. actions in the January 1893 revolution that overthrew the monarchy. The 808-page Morgan report concluded that the 162 U.S. peacekeepers did not point their weapons at anyone, did not take over any buildings, did not patrol the streets, and did not give any assistance to the revolutionaries.
The Native Hawaiians Study Commission was created by the Congress of the United States on December 22, 1980 (Title III of Public Law 96-565). The purpose of the Commission was to "conduct a study of the culture, needs and concerns of the Native Hawaiians." The Commission released to the public a Draft Report of Findings on September 23, 1982. Following a 120-day period of public comment, a final report was written and submitted on June 23, 1983 to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
The NHSC examined the history of Hawaii and the current conditions (1980) of Native Hawaiians. One purpose of the commission was to explore whether Native Hawaiians have special needs, and what those needs might be. Another purpose of the commission was to study whether the United States has any historical, legal, or moral obligation to meet the special needs of Native Hawaiians by providing them with political sovereignty or race-specific group rights. The commission reaffirmed the historical findings of the Morgan Report. The commission also found that Native Hawaiians have higher rates than other ethnic groups for indicators of dysfunction in health, education, income, etc., but concluded that the U.S. has no obligation to remedy those problems in any way other than the usual assistance given by government to all individuals afflicted with difficulties. The NHSC report can be found at
In 1993 Congress passed the apology resolution, blaming the U.S. for the revolution of 1893. That resolution has been used to assert demands for reparations including land, money, and sovereignty. It was used to claim that ethnic Hawaiians collectively own the ceded lands, and to force the state to stop selling any ceded lands until ethnic Hawaiian claims have been settled. However, in March 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state is the rightful owner of the ceded lands in fee simple absolute, and the apology resolution carries no legal weight.
The apology resolution was passed by the House of Representatives with no committee hearings, on a voice vote, without debate. It was passed by the Senate with no committee hearings, with only a one-hour floor debate in which attention focused on the consequences of passing it and nobody challenged its historical falsehoods. The historical allegations in the apology resolution were never examined by Congress, and nobody mentioned the exhaustive historical analyses in either the Morgan Report or the Native Hawaiians Study Commission. Any judge or jury weighing the apology resolution against the Morgan Report and the NHSC would easily conclude that the apology resolution should be ignored.
Constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein provided a point-by-point criticism of the Hawaiian apology resolution on pp. 5-18 of his monograph "Hawaii Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand." That entire monograph in pdf format is available at:
Honolulu attorney Patrick W. Hanifin published "Hawaiian Reparations: Nothing Lost, Nothing Owed" Hawaii Bar Journal, XVII, 2 (1982). Mr. Hanifin's lengthy, heavily footnoted article can be downloaded in pdf format. An informal summary of it published in a newspaper is also available. A tribute to Mr. Hanifin with biographical information and some of his other publications is also available. To find all this material in one place, go to:
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
What a beautiful and eloquently expressed concept was written in Hawaii's Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1839, which became the preamble to the Constitution of 1840, under Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III. This was the first sentence of Hawaii's first Constitution.
"Ua hana mai ke Akua i na lahuikanaka a pau i ke koko hookahi, e noho like lakou ma ka honua nei me ke kuikahi, a me ka pomaikai."
In English, it can be translated into modern usage as follows: "God has made of one blood all races of people to dwell upon this Earth in unity and blessedness."
In 1995, in a Supreme Court decision Adarand vs. Pena, Justice Scalia wrote:
"[U]nder our Constitution there can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race. That concept is alien to the Constitution's focus upon the individual ... To pursue the concept of racial entitlement -- even for the most admirable and benign of purposes -- is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American."
In February 2000 Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the U.S. Supreme Court 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano. Here is the final paragraph of that decision -- another eloquent statement of where we are now and where we should go from here:
"When the culture and way of life of a people are all but engulfed by a history beyond their control, their sense of loss may extend down through generations; and their dismay may be shared by many members of the larger community. As the State of Hawaii attempts to address these realities, it must, as always, seek the political consensus that begins with a sense of shared purpose. One of the necessary beginning points is this principle: The Constitution of the United States, too, has become the heritage of all the citizens of Hawaii."
Let's support unity, equality, and aloha for all. Those fundamental principles are described in detail at
The State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs refuses to disclose its income, budget, and expenditures. It operates in the shadows and claims it is not obligated to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests or orders from the Office of Information Practices. OHA's theory is that OHA is not really a state government agency, but is more like a private trust. That theory is disproved in a webpage, which also shows that the new state recognized tribe being created through Act 195 is also a state government agency. See
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(c) Copyright August 2009 in honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hawaii Statehood, by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved