The 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawaii

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.