History of Hawaii/Territorial Years

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The Territorial Years[edit]

American Military Interest and Expansion in Hawaii[edit]

It was President Mckinley who said the takeover of Hawaii would only be the result of Manifest Destiny. It was he that urged congress to annex Hawaii for economic interest, but also for military interest. On the seventh of July 1898, Hawaii was officially annexed to the United States following the signing of the Newlands Resolution by the president. The process of Hawaii’s annexation was long and tedious, however it was something that the American government knew needed to occur in order to keep it's foothold in the Pacific. The United States wanted to use Hawaii as a platform from which they could have a dominant Military presence in the Pacific. Hawaii was a militarily significant island throughout the Spanish-American War. Navy Admiral George Dewey was in need of reinforcements and supplies for his campaigns in the Philippines, which could only come from Hawaii and that could only occur if it was annexed Hawaii became a key point for recoaling, and American naval activities when fighting enemy Spanish influences in the pacific islands of the Philippines. Due to technologies of the time, only two American naval vessels had the mechanical capabilities of making the lengthy trip from California to Manilla without taking on more coal which was required to power their steam engines. The islands were seen as the perfect location for a military base as it was quite centralized in the Pacific Ocean, an asset which would certainly give an advantage to the island's owners because it was an ideal place from which they could launch an imperial power into Asia. From 1898 until the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941, Hawaii’s annexation to the United States played a pivotal role in not only creating military stability and comfort in the Pacific, but also allowing the islands to thrive economically through their plantation exports. These plantation exports also drove the United States to further protect the island from other colonial powers, because they knew how valuable the island was economically. For both the military and economic reasons, the United States felt it was necessary to start developing permanent military facilities on the island. These two separate American interests ushered in a wave of military construction on the Islands of Hawaii.

On December 7th, Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese, forcing them to participate in the Second World War.

This idea of having a strong military presence on the islands was pushed further under the Theodore Roosevelt administration. Roosevelt was a big believer of having a strong navy, and having a forceful military existence outside of the US mainland. He believed this would serve great strategic importance in war time, and was very keen on using Hawaii as one of these military footholds. He saw Hawaii as a very vital location in the Pacific in terms of American interests. Roosevelt, along with Alfred Mahan, a friend and naval officer who shared the same ideology , started to construct naval and infantry bases on the Islands. The first installation to go up on the islands was Fort Shafter which was constructed for the Army in 1907. Schofield Barracks was the next base built in 1908, followed by Fort Ruger built in 1909 on the island of O’ahu. Fort DeRussy and Fort Armstrong were also constructed within the first decade of the century. Pearl Harbour was also expanded to accommodate the navy, and the Wheeler Airfield was build to house the American Air force. The pace at which these bases were constructed showed how important the protection of the islands was to the U.S. The construction of these facilities showed how devoted the U.S. was to investing the funds to house all branches of the military. These first few bases would only be the start of the U.S.’s military existence on the islands. Over the next few decades the Bellows Airfield would be constructed. Soon after, Hawaii would witness the creation of Hickam Air station, and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in Kaneohe Bay. After their creation in the early 1900’s, these military installations would turn the islands of Hawaii from an almost entirely plantation island, to a strategic military strong point in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was this military necessity which began the transformation of the quiet island of Hawaii into the militarily driven island which it became. Pearl Harbor is the most famous of the eleven bases, as it was here that Japan attacked and killed 2, 402 innocent American Marines and soldiers, an event that forced the U.S.A. to join the Allies in World War Two.

Plantations in Hawaii ( 1898 - 1939 )[edit]

The plantation system that began in Hawaii around 1835 was extremely perilous for those labouring in the fields and profitable for the plantation owners due to a reciprocity treaty signed by both the Hawaiian and United State’s governments which removed taxation from any trade with the Hawaiian Islands. The industry focused mainly on the production and exportation of sugar cane that created a major social and cultural change in the islands as a result of the plantation owners need for labor. As the native Hawaiian population was extremely diminished due to the spread of diseases brought by arrivals to the islands, there was simply not enough labor available to work the plantations, which took up about 75 percent of the island's land. As Hawaii was now a part of the United States, the native farmers no longer had to pay tariffs. [WHOA, hold your horses. Readers: This person suddenly jumps from 1835 to 1898 without even mentioning anything about the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 (a.k.a The Reciprocity Treaty of 1876) between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Hawaii, its renewal with King Kalakaua in 1887, the opportunistic McKinley Tariff of 1890 that unfairly devastated Hawaii's entire economy, nor even mentioning the many other events, including the subsequent overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, the establishment of a Provisional Government just following the overthrow, the formation of the oligarchic, undemocratic, and disfranchising Republic of Hawaii in 1894 that anticipated U.S. annexation, the annexation itself in 1898 with passage of the Newlands Resolution in Congress (when Hawaii becomes "a part of the United States"), and then, finally, Hawaii becoming a U.S. territory with enactment of the Organic Act in April, 1900. Hawaii becoming "a part of the United States" was not as instantaneous as the person who is conveying our Hawaiian history here is making it to be. Much gap-filling needs to be made here.] This gave them extra funding to spend of production and development of their sugarcane fields. Having enough water to keep up with the demand of these plantations was critical, an issue which brought about much advancement in irrigation. USDA date shows that sugarcane and its production continued to grow throughout the twentieth century. In 1902, 200 000 tonnes of sugarcane was being produces, a number which had more than tripled by 1928, and continued to increase to over 1.2 million by its peak in the nineties. With all of this increased production, many more workers were needed. It is for this reason why the multiculturalism of Hawaii began to increase so heavily throughout this period.

Freshly cut sugar cane.

Assisted by the Hawaiian government who very systematically began recruiting immigrants, the foreign businessmen who owned the Hawaiian plantations began bringing in Asian workers to provide labour in the fields; eventually, over 337 thousand people arrived from Korea, China, Japan, the Philippines and Puerto Rico [Readers: That this person never even mentioned Portugal indicates that they know nothing about Hawaii's history]. Though slavery had been long abolished at this point in history, the conditions that the workers faced in the sugarcane industry were similar to that which went on in the slave trade . These immigrants were known as indentured servants which centers around the idea of work being contracted over a period of years. The landowners also instituted a caste system in which social restriction was prevalent ; minorities facing social issues was nothing new in the United States was nothing new, and would continue for many more years as African-Americans were still facing segregation and other Asian minorities around the country were also discriminated against. The journey to the Hawaiian Islands was perilous as many died on the boat. Living conditions were extremely poor, and working in the fields was both harsh and dangerous, religious conversion was highly encouraged and the wages paid were particularly low. However, there were measures taken to protest; the Japanese workers went on strike in 1909 to protest the conditions they were under, though they were mostly unsuccessful. Another issue was the sense of unrest; until 1940 many immigrants believed they would only be in Hawaii temporarily, in the 1930’s, during the Depression, over 3500 Filipinos were sent back to the Philippines.

However, more and more people continued to move to Hawaii in search of work as they believed that this was an opportunity that would bring them freedom, and money to be able to support themselves and their families, and to build a better life for their loved ones. The impact that these new immigrants had on Hawaii was immense: there was no longer an ethnic majority in the islands as the new immigrant population from many different nations had overtaken the numbers of the native population , and the culture was obviously affected as well, as the influx of new citizens arrived, bringing with them different cultural ideas from their home countries. It was expected that the children of the workers would also begin to work at the same plantation as their parents as they became old enough. Many parents however, did not want this for their children and sent them to school to be educated. The owners of the plantations did not want to see the children of labourers educated beyond sixth or eighth grade, fearing that the more educated these children became, the less likely they would be to continue to work on the plantation when they became adults.

Island Protests and the Annexation of Hawaii[edit]

The Hawaiian people had struggled to accept American control over the islands, and the years leading up to the 1898 Annexation of Hawaii was marked with wide spread protest from the Native islanders. [Readers: Annexation to the United States was not simply a Native Hawaiian versus white American issue; there were Native Hawaiians who supported annexation, as there were American and European whites who were against it. Many of Hawaii's royalists were also Europeans, and to a lesser extent, Americans.] Prior to the up rise of protest, the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 and later in 1887 would integrate the Hawaiian islands into the American economy and give the United States control over pearl harbour on the island of Oahu. [Mention of the McKinley Tariff of 1890 and its devastating economic effects upon the people of the Kingdom of Hawaii is strongly suggested here.] 1896 was when the Hawaiian people signed a petition to oppose the annexation of Hawaii into the United States of America. The majority of the Natives living in Hawaii signed this petition. After being successful in preventing Annexation last until 1898 during the America-Spanish Civil war meant the use of the Hawaiian islands as a mid-Pacific stop for the American Navy and Military. [Actually, the U.S. already acquired Pearl River (Harbor) as a strategic coaling station and naval base with the renewal of its reciprocity treaty with the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1887, well before annexation took place in 1898.] The Hawaiian people were adamant in opposing the American endeavors but would fall short in their need for a staging area to fight the American-Spanish war in the Philippines. [???]

Anti-Annexation meeting at Hilo, 1897 shows the dissent among Native islanders over United States occupation of their home.

As Annexation was forced upon the Hawaiian people there were little in common between the American business men and the Hawaiian people. Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii stated her case to the American Congress in a letter which she protested the United States ownership of the Hawaiian islands, and pointed out that they wish to annex these islands without compensation to the Hawaiian government for commandeering 1 million acres of the Hawaiian people. Despite the unpopularity of Hawaii joining the United States, the American Military had other interest for Hawaii. Hawaii would become a strategic coaling station for the US Navy who would be involved in conflict in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. Pearl Harbour would be used as an export and refueling station until its naval conversion in 1901.

The United States continued to control the Hawaiian islands not only using the island a a strategic port for the navy, but would also replace the long standing monarchy which had been in existence before the island were discovered. After annexing the islands, President McKinley then appointed his own Governor of the territory. The Hawaiian Organic Act of 1900 was the final blow to Hawaiian chances for independence from the United States. The act transformed Hawaiian government into a centralized government, made in the form of all American states. The head of the government was appointed by the President of the United States. Sanford B. Dole was appointed as the first Governor of Hawaii on April 30th 1900. With Sanford B. Dole appointed Governor, the Hawaiian government then sought to achieve statehood only 3 years after becoming a territory of the United States. It has seemed to have been a changed of attitude in the relations of Hawaii and the United States. Although when it voting for Statehood, only American citizens living in Hawaii hold the right to vote when it come to accepting statehood. Which did not reflect what was going on 6 years ago with the Petition against Hawaii’s annexation to the United States of America.

Hawaii had become a Territory of the United States serving them in many areas from the Military strategic location to the fruit plantation which would later be known as Dole. Hawaii had served the Unites States but would see little in return for the native Hawaiians who lived and thrived on the Island before Western contact.

The Hawaiian Organic Act[edit]

The forced inclusion of Hawaii into the United States in 1898 was a part of a larger system adopted by the United States government known as the “doctrine of incorporation”, whereby all colonies of predominantly non-Caucasian descent were assigned into territories. Following the attempted overthrow of the Hawaiian government from January 6th to 9th, 1895, the United States government launched a full invasion of the Hawaiian Islands. A puppet government was then installed, which subsequently “ceded” the territory to the United States in 1898. The United States federal law then enacted in 1900 to give Hawaii its own government was known as the Hawaiian Organic Act.

Hawaii Territory Admission Day ceremonies held on June 14, 1900 when the Hawaiian Organic Act formally came into effect.

The man who advocated for the annexation and territorial status of Hawaii in the mid 1890's was William McKinley, the future twenty-fifth president of the United States of America. As an important military commander in the Spanish-American war, he recognized the great value of a naval base in the Pacific Ocean. In his attempts to press the idea in Washington, he “pressured senators to approve annexation as the fulfillment of American manifest destiny, as a means to cement American presence in the Pacific, and as a vital support link for America's new claim on the Philippines ”. In addition to his desire for strategic naval and military bases in the Pacific Ocean, McKinley was worried that the growing Japanese population would “lead the islands into the hands of the increasingly active Japanese Empire ”. With these fears making their way around the White House, President McKinley signed the Act on April 30th, 1900, and it came into effect formally on June 14th.

The Act was divided into six articles: General Provisions, the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, United States Officers and Miscellaneous . Perhaps the most important question, that of citizenship, was laid to rest in Article 1, section 4, which states that “all persons who were citizens of the Republic of Hawaii on August twelfth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States and citizens of the Territory of Hawaii .” In addition to citizenship, all rules of law and legislature were outlined in this document, ensuring that the new government instituted would maintain absolute power over their new constituents. With these six acts, and the mighty fist of the United States government, any chances for Hawaiian independence disappeared, and the typically combative ties binding the United States and Hawaii grew ever tighter.

Annexation of Hawaii[edit]

Hawaii was officially annexed to the United States on the 7th of July 1898 when United States President William McKinley officially signed the Newlands Resolution. A formal ceremony was held on the steps of ‘Iolani Palace when the Hawaiian flag was lowered and the American flag raised in its place. The Newlands Resolution gave life to the idea that when Hawaii was annexed, all would become a part of the United States. The United States then gained access and possession of all ports, buildings, harbors, military equipment and public property that had formally belonged to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands.

Although Hawaii was annexed by the United States, it lacked a proper government structure of its own. The Organic Act was signed in 1900 by President McKinley, which established Hawaii as a territory of the United States. All citizens of the Republic of Hawaii then became American citizens of the Territory of Hawaii. Even though through annexation Hawaii was established as a territory of the United States, citizens were still not allowed to vote in U.S. presidential elections. After annexation, Hawaii created a territorial government under that of the American government which allowed an ‘Office of the Territorial Governor,’ who was appointed by the president of the United States and could be replaced at any time. The first governor of Hawaii was Sanford Ballard Dole (1844-1920). Dole was able to work his way through the Hawaiian government, as he then became President of the Provisional Government from 1893-1894, President of the Republic of Hawaii from 1885-1898, then finally the governor of the island until 1903. Dole played an interesting role in the history of the Hawaiian Islands as he was one of the original revolutionaries and took part in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

Upon annexation the US took over all of Hawaii’s schools in attempt to assimilate everyone, starting with the young children. The use of the Hawaiian language in schools was officially banned in 1896. English was to be the only spoken language in Hawaiian schools so that eventually all Hawaiians would be speaking English. Many students who attended these schools were already American-born and therefore American citizens, their parents had just immigrated to Hawaii due to a a high demand for labourers for the sugar plantations. However, mainland Americans still could not see Hawaiian citizens as full Americans because of their different races and cultures.

Post annexation, Hawaii was seen to be the United States’ most essential and strategic military asset due to location. The United States government decided to seize the opportunity and establish several key military bases on the island, some of which are still in use today. In 1903, over 3 000 men arrived in Honolulu Harbor off of United States warships to take supplies necessary to the Islands. The U.S. military quickly established many working military bases on the island. In 1915, one of the four navy submarines based in the Islands exploded and sank to the bottom of the Honolulu Harbor killing the crew. It was the first submarine disaster ever to occur in American Naval History. In 1916 in Honolulu Harbor, the crews of seven different steam ships set fire to their vessels in order to prevent them from being used by the United States Military. The United States remained neutral in the affair until war was declared with Germany on April 6th 1917. The end of the First World War concluded on November 11th 1918. The barracks of Pearl Harbor served as home for the United States Marine Corps in 1923. The War Memorial Natatorium was built overlooking the waterfront as a memorial to the 179 men and women of the Hawaiian Islands that died serving as soldiers during the First World War.

Dole fruits and vegetables, which are so common in the grocery stores, was actually founded by James Drummond Dole in 1900 in Hawaii.

While Hawaii's use as a strategically located military base for the United States increased in the years following the annexation, so too did the economy of the islands, with the mainstay of Hawaii's economic output being agricultural. In the period between 1898 and 1939, commercial agriculture increased greatly in the Territory of Hawaii. Production of new crops increased dramatically, both for domestic use, but largely for export worldwide. Agriculture on a larger scale, such as began to develop in Hawaii was beneficial to the economic growth of the territory, both by providing employment for many, and by leading to some degree of industrialization. The growth in agriculture, and its results, can be observed by studying the growth in production of both pineapples and macadamia nuts in Hawaii.

The economic growth brought on by commercial agriculture in Hawaii can be clearly observed in the development of the pineapple industry. In 1897, the beginning of the period in question, 150 000 pecks of pineapples were exported, at a value of $14 000. James Drummond Dole, began growing pineapples in 1900, and formed the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901. In the same year, the Hawaii Agriculture Research Station was founded. By 1905, Dole was producing 125 000 cases of pineapples, thereby illustrating the rapid growth in the industry. In the following years, more canneries were built, requiring rail links to Honolulu to be built. In this manner, the pineapple industry was clearly driving the industrialization of Hawaii to an extent, bringing with it an increase in jobs and economic output. New machinery was invented, such as the Ginaca machine used in the processing of pineapples. By 1930, eight pineapple canneries were producing nine million cases annually, a huge increase from the amount in 1897. With the growth in pineapple production, many jobs were created, in industries both indirectly and directly related to agriculture. Infrastructure necessary for producing, packaging, and transporting this commodity was established, aiding in the industrialization of Hawaii.

The growth of the macadamia nut industry followed a similar pattern, albeit occurring slightly later. In 1925, Ernest Van Tassel began to grow macadamia trees, being the first person in Hawaii to do so. By 1929, he had expanded his operation, planting upwards of 7000 macadamia trees. He then proceeded to open a nut processing facility in Kakaako. The successful grafting of macadamia trees with other trees in 1937 allowed for the future mass production of macadamia nuts in Hawaii. In similar fashion to the pineapple industry, macadamia nut production increased dramatically in the early 20th century, adding to Hawaii’s economy in many different aspects.

The development of agricultural production greatly led to economic growth for Hawaii. Expanding production levels led to more people being employed in the agriculture sector, growth in necessary infrastructure used in production and transport, and the formation of large companies based in Hawaii, some of which, like Dole, are recognizable today.