Hawaiʻi is not a State

A small look into an illegal occupation

Kū Haʻaheo

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According to the United States of America, Hawaiʻi is known as the 50th state. Evidence has been brought to light recently proving that Hawaiʻi is not part of the U.S. as well as the acts previous to the declaration were in fact illegal. First, I will go over the first acts of treason done by U.S. citizens in the independent state of Hawaiʻi. I will then go over the second act of treason; the overthrow of the Constitutional Monarchy in 1893 and what the United States attempted to do to make right for the Hawaiian Kingdom. Finally, I will go over International Law and the final acts of the United States.

“A minority of subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom and foreign nationals met to organize a revolt and take over the government.”1 On July 5, 1887 King Kalākaua signed off on the Bayonet Constitution, a constitution drafted by U.S. citizens with the intent to “neutralize the power of the native vote in order to seize control of the government for their economic gain”2 according to Keanu Sai. As well as, changing property qualifications that ensured nobles would be non-native and ultimately controlling the elected representatives, which would now be non-natives. Kalākaua signed this constitution “because he had every assurance, short of actual demonstration, that the conspirators were ripe for revolution, and had taken measures to have him assassinated if he refused”3 according to his sister Liliʻuokalani. However the Constitution of 1864 drafted and approved by Kamehameha V, stating that no new constitution may be approved directly from the monarch without legislative approval. Therefore, making the forced signature upon the Bayonet Constitution void.

1David Keanu Sai, Ua Mau Ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures (Honolulu: Pu‘a Foundation, 2011), 59. 2 Id., 59.

3 Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen (Charles e. Tuttle Co., Inc. 1964), 181.

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Due to the proclamation of Queen Liliʻuokalani to reinstate the Constitution of 1864, the revolutionary group, from that time, planned an attack. On January 16, 1893 the U.S. Minister John L. Stevens ordered U.S. troops to land in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Insurgents, lead by Lorrin Thurston, organized a “Committee of Safety” to plan an overthrow upon the governing forces of the Nation of Hawaiʻi. The goal of this committee and the calling upon the troops was to have Queen Liliʻuokalani sign a treaty of annexation; this did not happen. The “Committee of Safety” declared themselves the Provisional Government and Sanford B. Dole as its president. Under a threat of war because of the U.S. troops presence, the police force couldn’t arrest the insurgents without violence taking place. Queen Liliʻuokalani made the following assignment in protest of the overthrow;

I, Liliʻuokalani, by the Grace of God, and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said Provisional Government.

Now to avoid and collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest, and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government

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of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands

Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A.D. 1893

Liliʻuokalani R.

Samuel Parker,

Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Wm. H. Cornwell,

Minister of Finance

John. F. Colburn,

Minister of the Interior.

A.P. Peterson,

Attorney General.

On the 9th of March in 1893, U.S. President Grover Cleveland appointed James H.

Blount as Special Commissioner to investigate and report his findings to Secretary of State Walter Gresham. His investigation concluded that “the United States diplomat and troops were directly responsible for the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government with the ultimate goal

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of transferring the Hawaiian Islands to the United Staes.”4 The report was also complete with how the United States government’s actions violated international laws and Hawaiian territorial sovereignty.

Following said investigation's delivery to the U.S. Secretary of State Walter Gresham, on October 18, 1893 he administered U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary Albert Willis to initiate negotiations with Queen Liliʻuokalani. The President was aware that the crimes committed by the Provisional Government were an act of treason and would be subject to punishment under the Hawaiian Law. Willis met with the Queen on November 13, 1893, he asked the Queen, “Should you be restored to the throne, would you grant full amnesty tax to life and property to all those persons who have been or who are now in the Provisional Government, or who have been instrumental in the overthrow of your government?”5 The Queen denied the granting of amnesty in reference to Chapter VI, section 9, of the Penal Code stating, “Whoever shall commit the crime of treason shall suffer the punishment of death and all his property shall be confiscated to the Government.” Gresham recognized the duty of the President in the restoration to the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Islands, however that was dependent on the agreement of Queen Liliʻuokalani to recognize the 1887 constitution and to grant full amnesty to the persons in support and apart of the Provisional Government.

Willis then brought the terms to President Dole, of the Provisional Government, with assurance of full amnesty stating “It becomes my duty to advise you of the President’s

4 United States House of Representatives, 53rd Congress, Executive Documents on Affairs in Hawaii: 1894-95, (Government Printing Office 1895), 567, [hereafter Executive Documents]. Reprinted at Hawaiian Journal of Law & Politics 1 (Summer 2004): 136

5 Id., 1242

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determination of the question which your action and that of the queen devolved upon him, and that you are expected to relinquish to her constitutional authority. In the name of and by the authority of the United States of America, I submit to you the question, ‘Are you willing to abide by the decision of the President?’ ”6 After three days of consideration and opinions of associates Dole refused.

The following words are an excerpt from Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen;

“The Hawaiian people almost worship the name of President Cleveland; for he has tried to do what was right, it was only because he was not supported by Congress that his efforts were not successful. Mr. Dole’s answer, as could have been predicted by any who know the men composing the missionary party, was a refusal to comply with the request of President Cleveland. But, none the less, my grateful people will always remember that, in his message to Congress and in his official acts, Mr. Cleveland showed the greatest anxiety to do that which was just, and that which was for the honor of the nation over which he had been elected chief ruler. He has always had for me the utmost respect and esteem.”7

Eventually President Cleveland’s term ended and his predecessor was President William McKinley. McKinley did not go over the evidence gained from James H. Blount’s investigation and the senate, already, wanted jurisdiction over Hawaiʻi. Since the Provisional Government, now the Republic of Hawaiʻi, was still “in control” they asked the United States to annex

6 Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen (Charles e. Tuttle Co., Inc. 1964), 250. 7 Id,. 251.

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Hawaiʻi. The United States seized control over the Kingdom with no signed treaty with the rightful government, the Constitutional Monarchy, in Hawaiʻi.

According to Dr. Keanu Sai in his article “The Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an Independent State” states; “Under international law, a State who Calais to be the successor fo another State, when not at war, must take place by cession. Professor Oppenheim, International Law (vol. 1, 1948), p. 499, explains that “cession of State territory is the transfer of sovereignty over State territory by the owner- State to another State.” He further states that the “only form in which a cession can be effected is an agreement embodied in a treaty between the ceding and the acquiring State (p. 500).” The United States only claim to have extinguished the Hawaiian Kingdom is by a joint resolution of annexation passed by its Congress.”8

A joint resolution is not a treaty, it is an agreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington D.C.. It is only effective in the United States of America, which Hawaiʻi is not a part of. It is stated from the United States Supreme Court, The Apollon, 22 U.S. 362, 370 (1824), the “laws of no nation can justly extend beyond its own territory” because it would be “a variance with the independence and sovereignty of foreign nations.”

According to Congressman Thomas H. Ball, on June 15, 1898, “The annexation of Hawaiʻi buy joint resolution is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and unwise. If the first proposition be true, sworn to support the Constitution, we should inquire no further. I challenge not the advocated of Hawaiian Annexation, but those who advocate annexation in the form now presented, to show warrant or authority in our organic law for such acquisition of territory. To do so will be not only to subvert the supreme law of the land but to stride down every precedent in

8 Sai, David Keanu. The Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an Independent State, 3.

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our history. ...Why, sir, the very presence of this measure here is the result of a deliberate attempt to do unlawfully that which can not be done lawfully (31 Cong. Rec. 5975 (1898)).” The United States Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel was dumbfounded by

Congress’s annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by joint resolution nearly 100 years later, Douglas Kmiec published the memorandum for Abraham D. Sofaer, he concluded with, “Notwithstanding these constitutional objections, Congress approved the joint resolution and President McKinley signed the measure in 1898. Nevertheless, whether the sanction demonstrates the constitutional power of Congress to acquire territory is certainly questionable. ... It is therefore unclear which constitutional power Congress exercied when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it is doubtful that the acquisition of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional of sovereignty over an extended territorial sea”9


9 Kmiec, Douglas. Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation To Extend to Territorial Sea, (12 Opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel 238 (1989)), 252.

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Bibliography

Kmiec, Douglas. Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation To Extend to Territorial Sea, (12 Opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel 238 (1989)).

Lee, William L. Penal code of the Hawaiian Islands: passed by the House of Nobles and Representatives on the 21st of June, A.D. 1850, to which are appended the other acts passed by the House of Nobles and Representatives during their general session for 1850 § (1850).

Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen (Charles e. Tuttle Co., Inc. 1964).

Sai, David Keanu. The Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an Independent State, ND. Sai, David Keanu. Ua Mau Ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures. Pu‘a Foundation, 2011.

United States House of Representatives, 53rd Congress, Executive Documents on Affairs in

Hawaii: 1894-95, (Government Printing Office 1895).

fact or fiction
Kiana Fergerstrom
Kiana Fergerstrom
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Kiana Fergerstrom

College student in Hawaiʻi

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