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Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen
Queen of Hawaii wrote the book after losing her throne because of the American Revolution. The 1887 Bayonet Constitution, which king of Hawaii signed under immense pressure from Whites migrating to Hawaii for the purposes of conducting business, resulted in the lose of her throne(Liliuokalani, 2009). The book provides details concerning the suffering of her people because of the presence of White Americans in Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani served as the last Monarch of Hawaii. She considered preserving the islands for use by the natives her mission. To achieve this, she intended to instate a new constitution (Liliuokalani, 2009). The proponents of annexation used Liliuokalani’s proposed constitution as a reason to foment a rebellion. In the year 1898, the annexation of Hawaii to U.S occurred and the Queen compelled /forced to give up the monarchial throne. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the events.
Born to high chief Kapaakea his wife “chiefess” Keohokalole, Queen Liliuokalani was the third child out of ten. She was the sister to King Kalakua . At birth, Konia and her husband Abner Park adopted Liliuokalani. The adoptive parents enrolled Liliuokalani in the country’s Royal school. At the Royal school, Liliuokalani learned various subjects and became fluent in English. The congressional missionaries influenced her. Liliuokalani equally attended Queen Emma and of Kamehameha IV, as part of the royal circle. Liliuokalani married John Dominis in 1862. Eventually Dominis served the Monarchy as the governor of Maui and O’ahu (Liliuokalani, 2009). The death of Liliuokalani’s husband came shortly after she ascended to the throne but the queen chose not to remarry. Upon the death of King Kalakauam (her brother) in 1891, Liliuokalani assumed the throne. She proposed that Hawaii required a new constitution since she believed the 1887 Bayonet Constitution restricted /limited the monarch’s power as well as the freedom and political power of the natives.
In the year 1890, McKinley Tariff started causing a recession in Hawaii islands by withdrawing the safeguards, which ensured Hawaiian sugar, could reach the mainland market. The 1890 McKinley Tariff therefore resulted in a crisis in the Hawaiian sugar sector characterized by plummeting sugar prices and demands (Liliuokalani, 2009). The Hawaiians were in desperate need to reverse the unfortunate trend. The Whites (Americans) who were in the Hawaiian Islands began considering annexation of Hawaii as a way of re-establishing competitive economic position for Hawaiian sugar. It is important to note these attempts aimed at serving the interests of the Whites (Liliuokalani, 2009). She proposed the legalization of opium and sanctioning of lottery as a way of rehabilitating the economy. Queen Liliuokalani wanted to get more power for her throne by seeking a new constitution. This began in 1893. She drew up a constitution and sought to promulgate it as the new supreme law of the country. She considered it her right as a sovereign monarch to provide a new constitution by issuing an edict from her leadership/throne.
The revolution leaders maintained that they considered Liliuokalani’s attempts to alter the constitution illegal and hence the motivation to act (Liliuokalani, 2009). However, there were ulterior motives for instigation a revolution other than the constitutional changes that the Queen tried to undertake. The constitutional changes sought by the Queen would enable the Hawaiians to determine their political destiny and increase the monarchial powers. The proposed constitution would equally allow for the disenfranchising of “haoles” (White foreigners) as well as other non-citizens. The revolutionists used the Queen’s intention to introduce a new constitution as justification to overthrow the Queen yet they had ulterior motives. After taking control of various key government offices, the leaders of the rebellion proclaimed the abrogation of the monarchy (Liliuokalani, 2009). They described the constitution proposed by Liliuokalani as an instrument for establishing a despotic regime and taking the voting power from the voters. They deemed it was necessary to protect the Hawaiians from the new constitution proposed by the Queen.
In the book, the Queen holds that the Whites were able to penetrate the big/influential government positions because of their resources and power, which enabled them to establish an environment of dominance. The White Americans have been able to establish influence and dominance in various parts of the globe but this time their focus and interest was in Hawaii. In 1943, The British wanted Hawaii to operate under the rule of Britain, but this did not happen because of protests and pleas from Hawaiians (Liliuokalani, 2009). However, later on a large white community moved to Hawaii with an aim of working and conducting business. The Whites, who were already in, had the ability of intervening at the high levels in the government, thus taking control of the Native Hawaiians, who were largely unaware of the changes that occurred (Liliuokalani, 2009). The presence of whites in Hawaii affected the culture and rights of Hawaiians. However, it is important to note that the Queen equally contributed to the differences between Whites and Native Hawaiians by referring to her Natives as “my people“, thus making the Natives consider the whites outsiders. The two groups, therefore, discriminated against each other.
The Queen maintained the Whites forced the Natives to submit to their (Whites) interest and coerced the king into signing the 1887 Bayonet Constitution (Liliuokalani, 2009). The signing of the 1887 Bayonet Constitution gave the White Americans freedom /right to establish a Pearl Harbor naval base and enter Hawaii. On the other hand, the Hawaiians valued their sovereignty and made concerted effort to oppose both the White Americans and the king in a bid to protect their sovereignty. The natives did not fully understand the implication of the Kings action (signing the Bayonet Constitution)
The Whites in Hawaii sought to oust/overthrow Liliuokalani’s government because her intentions threatened their interests. However, the proponents of annexation were planning and preparing for the rebellion at a time when the queen’s intention was still mere rumors (Liliuokalani, 2009). This indicates that the need to protect the islands from the queen’s proposed constitution was not the primary motivating factor for their plans to overthrow her. The early 1892 creation of Annexation Club shows that the individuals who orchestrated the rebellion were planning and plotting for the annexation. The group was, therefore, waiting for the queen to make a mistake and then push for the annexation of Hawaii. The supporters of Annexation were equally seeking the U.S government’s approval (Liliuokalani, 2009). The intention of Liliuokalani to restrict the voting rights to natives/ naturalized Hawaiian citizens was consistent with practices in other civilized nations, which do not grant voting rights to non-citizens. The Whites who were unhappy with Liliuokalani’s intention to use the constitution to limit voting rights to Hawaii citizens would have sought citizenship in order to enjoy voting rights instead of fomenting a rebellion.
Thurston termed the constitution as a menace to the people’s liberties. This suggested that it was the concern for their voting rights and island’s wellbeing, which motivated the rebellion. Thurston maintained that the Queen was breaching the 1887 constitution by intending to instate a new one, since the Queen was under oath to uphold and protect the Bayonet Constitution. He considered the queen’s intention to introduce a new constitution a betrayal of Hawaiians. Sanford Dole, the first Governor of Hawaii, equally shared the opinions and recounted that the decision of the rebels to oust Liliuokalani’s government was out of their refusal to accept the queen’s interference with Hawaii’s constitution.
The 1887 Bayonet Constitution equally influenced/informed the attitude of Liliuokalani as well as Hawaiians towards the white foreigners. The white foreigners threatened king Kalakaua –brother and predecessor of Liliuokalani with the overthrow of the monarch in case he declined to sign a constitution, which they prepared (Liliuokalani, 2009). The drafters of Bayonet Constitution never submitted it to the legislature or the people for ratification. The Bayonet Constitution reduced the voting ability and power of natives to vote by enacting a section of the constitution, which made property ownership the major requirement as a voter. It reduced the monarch’s powers significantly. The Bayonet constitution gave non-citizens voting rights (Liliuokalani, 2009). Even before promulgating her constitution, proponents said the queen’s actions were illegal. However, it is important to note that significant number of Hawaiians petitioned Liliuokalani for the proposed constitution.
On the other hand, Sanford Dole led a group, who were unhappy with the governance system and wanted to overthrow the monarchy. John Stevens, the American minister residing in Hawaii called on the soldiers/ troops to take charge of the palace as well as other key government buildings. The deposing of the Queen occurred in the year 1894 and the monarchy abrogated. The establishment of Provisional Administration occurred following the deposing of Queen Liliuokalani, but later served as the Republic of Hawaii. In the year 1893, the appointment of James Blount as the new minister to Hawaii resulted in certain changes, since he listened to both sides (Liliuokalani, 2009). He served as the representative of President Cleveland. He listened and considered the positions of both the proponents of restoration and supporters of annexation. After careful consideration, he realized that people identified Hawaii with the Queen. Both Cleveland and Blount agreed that it was necessary to restore the Queen back to the throne (Liliuokalani, 2009).
Blount’s report on the circumstances, under which the deposing of the Queen occurred, implicated Stevens in organizing the illegal deposing or overthrow of the Queen. Albert Willis, who was to serve as the next American minister had the responsibility of offering the throne back to Liliuokalani (Liliuokalani, 2009). However, the Queen was to get her crown back on condition that she offered general amnesty and pardon to all individuals responsible for her dethroning r. Initially, the Queen refused to take back her throne on such conditions but changed her mind after sometime and offered clemency. It is important to note that this delay compromised Liliuokalani’s position politically because Cleveland decided to raise the matter at the Congress for debate. The proponents of annexation lobbied the Congress to support their position and oppose the restoration of the monarchy (Liliuokalani, 2009). The proclamation of Republic of Hawaii occurred in 1984 with Stanford Dole as a president. The United States government recognized the proclamation.
In conclusion, it is important to note that Hawaiian Queen served as the right heir to Hawaiian throne and intended to continue with her country’s traditional monarchy. The revolutionists claimed they were protecting Hawaiian Islands from the attempts of the Queen to instate new Hawaiian constitution. After revealing her intentions to instate new Hawaiian constitution, the proponents of annexation fomented armed rebellion Liliuokalani felt that, her captors forced her to lose her throne by forcing her to sign abdication document. The white foreigners in Hawaii instigated a revolution, which led to the abrogation of the monarchy and the declaration of Provisional Government. The overarching political and economic problems served as impetus for revolt. The Queen’s controversial attempt to revive or rehabilitate the Hawaiian economy, and the despair of the country’s economy enraged some people, who considered it a sign of instability in the government. The opponents of Liliuokalani blamed the monarchist regime for the economic problems and were able to generate considerable opposition to the Queen. The intervention measures proposed by Liliuokalani as a way of rehabilitating the economy were neither popular nor effective.