Could the United States government actually commit violations of both US and international laws as well as commit warcrimes and then just cover them up, rewrite history and get away with it for over a century?
What about when the citizens of the United States find out about it, how do you think they would react to the revelation?
What if I told you this is exactly what the United States has done, and the President of the United States even publicly admitted it on nationwide television.
I am going to delve deeply into this topic over the next several installments in this series to help you understand exactly what has happened, why it is important for you to know that it has occurred, and the possible ramifications for the future.
United States Public Law 103-150 is informally known by some supporters as the "Apology Resolution" even though it actually did not contain an apology. It is a Joint Resolution of the U.S. Congress adopted in 1993 that "acknowledges that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and further acknowledges that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum" (U.S. Public Law 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510)).
Ok, so what does all of that actually mean? What it means is you have been lied to all of your life about Hawaii, and how Hawaii became a part of the United States. Technically, and more important, legally Hawaii never has become part of the United States. Hawaii is not the "50th State" as you have been taught to believe in school.
To understand all of this, and the massive implications that this causes still today and will continue to cause in the future we have to go back in time to 1800's when this whole mess got started.
In the late 1800's sugarcane had become one of the largest exports of Hawaii. Several wealthy businessmen from the United States moved to Hawaii to run very successful sugar plantations that would then ship their sugar back to the United States for market.
In the 1850's, the United States put tariffs on imports that were quite a bit higher than the tariffs that Hawaii had put on imports from the United States. King Kamehameha III wished to lower the tariffs being paid out to the U.S. while still maintaining the Kingdom's sovereignty and making Hawaiian sugar competitive with other foreign markets. In 1854 Kamehameha III proposed a reciprocity agreement between the two countries but it died in the Senate.
In 1873, a United States military commission recommended attempting to obtain Ford Island in exchange for the tax-free importation of sugar to the United States. Major General John Schofield, U.S. commander of the military division of the Pacific, and Brevet Brigadier General Burton S. Alexander arrived in Hawaii to ascertain its defensive capabilities. United States control of Hawaii was considered vital for the defense of the west coast of the United States, and they were especially interested in Pearl Harbor.
The ceding of lands was very unpopular with the native Hawaiians. Many Hawaiians thought that all the islands, rather than just Pearl Harbor, might be lost and opposed any cession of land and negotiations were canceled.
In 1874 David Kalākaua was chosen as the next monarch to replace William Charles Lunalilo who had died. The new ruler was pressured by the U.S. government to surrender Pearl Harbor to the Navy. Kalākaua was concerned that this would lead to annexation by the U.S. and to the contravention of the traditions of the Hawaiian people, who believed that the land ('Āina) was fertile, sacred, and not for sale to anyone.
In 1874 through 1875, Kalākaua traveled to the United States for a state visit to Washington DC to help gain support for a new treaty with the United States. Congress agreed to the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 for seven years in exchange for Ford Island. After the treaty, sugar production expanded from 12,000 acres of farm land to 125,000 acres in 1891. At the end of the seven-year reciprocity agreement, the United States showed little interest in renewal since they had already received what they really wanted, which was Ford Island.
On January 20, 1887, the United States began leasing Pearl Harbor. Shortly afterwards, a group of mostly non-Hawaiians calling themselves the Hawaiian Patriotic League began the Rebellion of 1887. They drafted their own constitution on July 6, 1887. The new constitution was written by Lorrin Thurston (show below), an America lawyer and businessman who was born in Hawaii of American missionary parents. Thurston became the Hawaiian Minister of the Interior and used the Hawaiian militia as threat against Kalākaua.
Kalākaua was forced under threat of assassination to dismiss his cabinet ministers and sign a new constitution which greatly lessened his power. It would become known as the "Bayonet Constitution" due to the force used.
The Bayonet Constitution allowed the monarch to appoint cabinet ministers, but had stripped him of the power to dismiss them without approval from the Legislature. Eligibility to vote for the House of Nobles was also altered, stipulating that both candidates and voters were now required to own property valuing at least three thousand dollars, or have an annual income of no less than six hundred dollars. This resulted in disenfranchising two thirds of the native Hawaiians as well as other ethnic groups who had previously held the right to vote but were no longer able to meet the new voting requirements.
This new constitution benefited the white, foreign plantation owners. With the legislature now responsible for naturalizing citizens, Americans and Europeans could retain their home country citizenship and vote as citizens of the kingdom. Along with voting privileges, Americans could now run for office and still retain their United States citizenship, something not afforded in any other nation of the world and even allowed Americans to vote without becoming naturalized. Asian immigrants were completely shut out and were no longer able to acquire citizenship or vote at all.
In 1888 an overthrow attempt and assassination of King Kalākaua which was organized by America citizens was discovered less than 48 hours before it was to occur. The following year Kalākaua traveled to San Francisco and died at the Palace Hotel on January 20, 1889. His sister Liliʻuokalani assumed the throne.
Liliʻuokalani's chief desire was to restore power to the monarch by abrogating the 1887 Bayonet Constitution and promulgating a new one, an idea that seems to have been broadly supported by the Hawaiian population. The 1893 Constitution would have increased suffrage by reducing some property requirements, and eliminated the voting privileges extended to European and American residents. It would have disenfranchised many resident European and American businessmen who were not citizens of Hawaii. The Queen toured several of the islands on horseback, talking to the people about her ideas and receiving overwhelming support, including a lengthy petition in support of a new constitution. However, when the Queen informed her cabinet of her plans, they withheld their support due to an understanding of what her opponents' likely response to these plans would be.
Though there were threats to Hawaii's sovereignty throughout the Kingdom's history, it was not until the signing of the Bayonet Constitution in 1887 that this threat began to be realized. The precipitating event leading to the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, was the attempt by Queen Liliʻuokalani to promulgate a new constitution that would have strengthened the power of the monarch relative to the legislature, where Euro-American business elites held disproportionate power. The stated goals of the conspirators, who were non-native Hawaiian Kingdom subjects (five United States nationals, one English national, and one German national) were to depose the queen, overthrow the monarchy, and seek Hawaii's annexation to the United States.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we begin with the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Until Next Time
Aloha & 73 from Hawaii