Hawaii is often admired for the beauty and uniqueness it brings to America. Despite the distinctly Hawaiian culture it brings to America, its annexation was extremely controversial. Although there were people in opposition to the annexation of Hawaii due to the belief that it was unnecessary and unconstitutional, the majority of Americans and Hawaiians alike were immensely pleased by it and saw it as a cause for celebration and joy. Prior to its annexation, about three fourths of Hawaii’s wealth was owned by Americans working there.
The king was later forced to grant voting rights to only the wealthy landowners in Hawaii, however, the population of wealthy landowners consisted of almost all Americans and by 1900 there were three foreigners to each native. Queen Liliuokalani soon came into power and overturned the voting rule because of her belief that Hawaii was for Hawaiians, not foreigners. American businesses, with the aid of the United States military, soon overthrew the monarchy of Hawaii without the permission of the American president.
The new government of Hawaii was headed by Sanford B. Dole. President Cleveland ordered that the power be returned to the monarchy, but Dole would not surrender his power. Cleveland recognized Hawaii as a republic but would not consider annexation without the consent of a majority of the Hawaiians. The issue was left alone for the rest of his presidency, but the topic resurfaced when Mckinley became president. The bill to annex Hawaii was brought to Congress in 1898 where it was adopted rather enthusiastically by a “decisive vote of 42 to 21″ in Senate.
Despite the great majority of Congress in favor of the annexation, it was reported that the Senate came to the outcome “quite unexpectedly” and that the bill was “offered with no expectancy that it would be adopted. ” After passing the senate, the bill was brought to President Mckinley by a “ceremony of the simplest character,” where he passed it and Hawaii was considered an American territory without the consent of the Hawaiians, despite much controversy. A number of Americans reacted negatively to Hawaii’s annexation because of the lack necessity and constitutionality in it.
Congressman Hartman expressed that the annexation of Hawaii was neither necessary nor helpful concerning the military and economy. He believed that the possession of the islands was a “weakness rather than a strength. ” He believed it was neither an aid for trade nor for sugar production because of the large portion of the Asian immigrant workers that were not fit for citizenship. The addition of the islands into the country would also cause the United States to have to increase their navy coverage in the pacific and decrease coverage in other areas.
He also expressed that the annexation would just be making Hawaii the colony of America, which he stated was unconstitutional. The unconstitutionality of Hawaii’s annexation was also shown by the fact that the Hawaiians had already “demonstrated their capacity for self government” before they were annexed. Despite this, they still became an American territory “regardless of any feeling they may have in the matter. ” America was taking away the freedom they had founded their nation on nearly one hundred years earlier.
One journalist even described the annexation as a “departure from all [America’s] national traditions. Regardless of the citizens in opposition to the passing of the bill, the majority of Americans found that the annexation would positively impact the economy and was a cause for joy. The prospective success of the economic growth was displayed by one journalist who wrote that Hawaii was a “great warehouse for [imported] goods” because of its position between America and Asia. Hawaii also was well known for their pineapples and their sugar, which added more goods that America could trade. In addition to the positive impacts Americans were looking forward to in regards to trade, Hawaii was also “so fortunately situated for the purpose of naval trategy. ”
Due to its location in the pacific ocean, the islands were in a place very desireable for naval occupation and preparation. After hearing the presentation of the bill, Congress was able to see the immense possibilities that would be brought to America through Hawaii. Senate showed extreme excitement and enthusiasm by responding to the annexation with a “tremendous wave of applause. ” Americans saw the promise Hawaii could bring to the economy and were found great elation in its annexation. The Hawaiians also found much joy and possibility in their annexation.
A Hawaiian minister revealed his excitement to “find the American flag flying” from every home in Hawaii by describing the “glorious bond of brotherhood” it led to between Americans and the new American citizens in Hawaii. Even people with deep ties to the overthrown monarchs were pleased with the result of the annexation. The nephew of Queen Liliuokalani asserted that Hawaii “never was so prosperous before” receiving the help of America and that as long as Hawaii received their proper place in the American government, there would be no cause for complaint by Hawaiians.
The people of Hawaii were overjoyed to be a part of America. They were even described as “people wild with enthusiasm” that spread happiness and energy to each other through the “hand shaking and congratulations everywhere. ” The citizens were so ecstatic about the annexation that prior to the vessel even reaching Honolulu with the news, “whistles were blown, bells were rung and pandemonium let loose;” the native Hawaiians even marched through the streets “playing American patriotic tunes. Because Hawaii became a territory of the United States, they were finally able to be truly “independent and free. ”
Conclusion: As the fiftieth state of the United States, Hawaii holds a unique position perfect for the uncommon but beautiful culture it brings to America. Although it became a part of the United States through peculiar means, its addition has been appreciated for many generations. A number of Americans believed that its annexation added no value to America because of their beliefs that the annexation was unconstitutional and would not add value to the United States.
Even more Americans, including Hawaiians, saw the annexation as a cause for celebration because of its potential effect on the economy of the country and the freedom it would bring citizens in Hawaii. Although a portion of Americans had a negative reaction to the annexation of Hawaii due to an absence of necessity or constitutionality, the preponderant reaction of Hawaiians Americans was one of joy and celebration because of the prospective impact on economy and opportunity in the country.