FACTUAL HISTORY OF THE KINGDOM OF HAWAI‘I
UNCONSTITUTIONAL HAWAIIAN OCCUPATION, ANNEXATION, & STATEHOOD
Prior to the arrival of the first Europeans, the Native Hawaiian people lived in a highly organized and self-sufficient society with a sophisticated language, culture, and faith, governed by High Chiefs on different islands. Later, Kamehameha I created a unified monarchy that eventually became a constitutional monarchy recognized as the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
From 1826 until 1893, the United States recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, extended full and complete diplomatic recognition and relations to the Hawaiian Government, and entered into treaties and conventions with the Hawaiian monarchs, regarding commerce and navigation, in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875, and 1887. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On June 30, 1887, a meeting of residents including the armed militia of the “Honolulu Rifles” (a group of non-native-Hawaiian white soldiers who secretly served as the military arm of the “Hawaiian League”) and politicians who were members of the Reform Party of the Hawaiian Kingdom, demanded from King Kalākaua the dismissal of his Cabinet, headed by Walter M. Gibson. Their concerns about Gibson stemmed from his strong support for the King’s authority. The meeting was called to order by Sanford B. Dole and chaired by Peter Cushman Jones, president of the largest sugarcane plantation agency in Hawai‘i (1). The Hawaiian League and the Americans controlled a vast majority of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i’s income wealth, in the form of the sugar plantations, and they desired and conspired to do whatever it took to maintain their grasp on it. Lorrin A. Thurston presented a list of demands to the King. The participants in the meeting also insisted that a new constitution be written.
In a short period of time, the new proposed constitution was drafted by a group of lawyers, including Thurston, Dole, William Ansel Kinney, William Owen Smith, George Norton Wilcox, and Edward Griffin Hitchcock. All were also associated with the Hawaiian League, which deeply desired the end of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and its annexation into the United States of America. (2)
King Kalākaua signed the document July 6, 1887, despite deep disagreement over the scope of the changes and his assent and signature being forced by violence, threats of violence, and coercion. For this reason, this constitution became known (and is well known in history, world-wide) as the “Bayonet Constitution”.
The Bayonet Constitution stripped the King of most of his personal authority and empowered the legislature and the cabinet of the government. Later, Queen Lili‘uokalani explained some of the threats used against King Kalākaua to obtain his signature upon the Bayonet Constitution, in a history and book published by her (3). The Bayonet Constitution was never ratified in the legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom (4).
The Bayonet Constitution and other attempted insurrections (at other times) against the monarchy and the government of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, by American non-native-Hawaiian men (largely in order to accumulate and consolidate more money, power, and influence, related to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s rich sugar exports) worked toward and culminated in the 1893 overthrow of the rightful monarchy and government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.
On January 14, 1893, John L. Stevens (the U.S. "Minister" assigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawai‘i) wrongfully and illegally conspired with a small group of non-Hawaiian residents of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, including citizens of the United States, servicemen of the U.S. military, with the support and participation of U.S. military units, commanders, soldiers, troops, weapons, and equipment (the non-residents, U.S. military personnel, and the United States Minister hereafter jointly referred to as the “conspirators” or “co-conspirators”)—to overthrow the indigenous and lawful Government of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i (hereafter referred to as the “illegal overthrow”). P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On January 16, 1893, in support of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, the co-conspirators caused armed naval forces of the United States to invade the sovereign Hawaiian nation, including, without limitation, positioning themselves near the Hawaiian Government buildings and the Iolani Palace to intimidate Queen Lili‘uokalani and her Government. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On January 17, 1893, the “Committee of Safety” (hereafter the “committee”), which represented the American and European sugar planters (descendants of missionaries and financiers) deposed the Hawaiian monarchy and proclaimed the establishment of a provisional government in and over Hawai‘i. And, immediately thereafter, the United States Minister extended diplomatic relations and recognition—officially and on behalf of the entire United States’ government—to the provisional government, self-proclaimed and formed by the committee and the co-conspirators, without the consent of the Native Hawaiian people or the lawful Government of Hawaiʻi—in violation of treaties between the two nations and of international law. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
Shortly after the illegal overthrow and due to grave threats of death, destruction, and bloodshed, and in order to protect her people, the Native Hawaiians and other Kingdom subjects whom she lawfully ruled over, Queen Lili‘uokalani (the rightful ruler and monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i) issued the following statement under the gravest and most egregious conditions of coercion and compulsion:
I, Lili‘uokalani, 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 provisional government.
Now to avoid any 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 of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representatives 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. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510)
The Kingdom of Hawai‘i has never surrendered its sovereignty to the United States. To “yield” (the words used by Queen Lili‘uokalani) is to concede, for a time, under forced coercion, but not to surrender, submit, or abrogate one’s authority to another.
Without the active participation, support, and direct intervention by and of U.S. military units, commanders, soldiers, and troops, supported by U.S. military weapons, boats, vehicles, and equipment—the co-conspirators and the insurrection against the Government of Queen Lili‘uokalani would have failed for lack of popular support and insufficient arms. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On February 1, 1893, the United States Minister raised the American flag and proclaimed Hawaiʻi to be a protectorate of the United States.
After this, President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, commissioned and sent former U.S. Congressman, James Henderson Blount, as “Special Representative” for the President and the U.S. government—to conduct an official investigation (the “Blount Investigation”) into the events surrounding the insurrection and the unconstitutional and illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. The Blount Investigation was extensive, and Special Representative James Blount procured testimony from interviews, letters, affidavits, and other documents, including the "Statement of the Hawaiian Patriotic League" and "Memorial on the Hawaiian Crises". When completed, Special Representative James Blount’s report (known widely as the “Blount Report”) stated that improper U.S. backing for the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom had been responsible for the co-conspirator’s success, and concluded that the provisional government lacked popular support.
Due to the Blount report, President Cleveland dismissed the U.S. Minister, John L. Stevens, the military commander of the United States armed forces stationed in Hawaiʻi was disciplined and forced to resign his U.S. military commission, and President Cleveland began to work toward the restoration of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawai‘i’s constitutional monarchy, Queen Liliʻuokalani’s government, and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
In a message to U.S. Congress on December 18, 1893, President Grover Cleveland reported fully and accurately on the illegal acts of the co-conspirators. President Cleveland described them as "act[s] of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress". P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). President Cleveland also stated that this was “An act of war committed [by United States citizens and official federal governmental officials] based on false pretext.” President Cleveland also stated and acknowledged that “by such acts the government of a peaceful and friendly people was overthrown.” P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). Finally, President Cleveland concluded that a "substantial wrong [had] thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair". P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). President Cleveland then called for the restoration of the Hawaiian constitutional monarchy, Queen Liliʻuokalani, her government, and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
In doing this, President Cleveland cited The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (5), (hereafter referred to as “The Law of Nations”) which is a foremost legal treatise on international law, which declares it unlawful for one nation to bring its military into another nation’s territory without just cause, and prohibits nations from harming the governments of other nations.
As recently as May 13, 2019—the United States Supreme Court, itself, cited to and relied upon The Law of Nations to overturn the previously decided (1979) U.S. Supreme Court decision in Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 99 S.Ct. 1182, 59 L. Ed. 2d 416 (1979). The case that overturned Nevada v. Hall, is Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 3399, 139 S.Ct. 1485, 2019 WL 2078084 (2019) (6).
Despite the U.S. Constitution clearly and explicitly providing that the U.S. President is solely and exclusively charged, tasked, and authorized to conduct foreign relations for and on behalf of the United States—the newly and illegally coup d'état installed provisional government of Hawai‘i protested President Cleveland’s call to restore the Kingdom of Hawai‛i and its monarchy, and they continued to pursue annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i to the United States. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). The illegal provisional government lobbied U.S. Senator John Morgan and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate (hereafter referred to as the “Senate Committee”) to conduct new investigations into the events surrounding the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). The Senate Committee and Senator Morgan conducted hearings regarding the illegal overthrow, in Washington, D.C., from December 27, 1893, through February 26, 1894. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). In those hearings, members of the illegal provisional government justified and condoned their actions and the actions of all the co-conspirators. Though the illegal provisional government was able to obscure the role of the United States in the illegal overthrow—they were unable to, and they failed, to rally the support of the necessary two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, required to ratify a treaty of annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On July 4, 1894, after being defeated in obtaining the U.S. Senate’s required vote in favor of ratifying a treaty of annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, the illegal provisional government summarily declared itself to be the “Republic of Hawai‘i”. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). The so-called Republic of Hawai‘i made a second attempt to have a treaty of annexation ratified. And—once again—the United States Senate declined and refused to ratify annexation or any such treaty.
On July 7, 1898, due to the Spanish-American War, President McKinley, who replaced President Cleveland, signed the Newlands Joint Resolution, which provided for the annexation of Hawaiʻi into the United States—despite the fact that U.S. rules and laws regarding joint resolutions, provide that joint resolutions can only be lawful, enforceable, or effective—as to matters entirely internal (i.e., domestic) to the United States. The very action attempted by the Newlands Joint Resolution, however, was to annex exterior lands and territory, in the form of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian Islands, INTO THE UNITED STATES; ergo, the action pursued and done was external, and not domestic, to the United States and, therefore, it could NOT lawfully be done via a joint resolution. On this point, during U.S. Congress’s debate(s) regarding the possible annexation of Hawai‘i by a joint resolution of Congress—Rep. Thomas Henry Ball (Dem.) (Texas 1st District, March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1903; and Texas 8th District, March 4, 1903 to November 16, 1903) strongly rebuked those in Congress considering any such annexation of Hawai‘i (by a joint resolution), when he stated: “the very presence of this measure here [for the annexation of Hawai‘i] is the result of a deliberate attempt to do unlawfully that which CAN NOT be lawfully done” (emphasis added). 31 Cong. Rec. 5975 (June 15, 1898) (7).
Immediately after the supposed annexation of Hawai‘i by U.S. Congress’s joint resolution, the self-declared Republic of Hawai‘i (having been so self-declared by citizens of the United States who retained their U.S. citizenship while simultaneously supposedly creating, maintaining, and delivering (to the United States) an entirely new nation, out of whole cloth) ceded sovereignty of Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, including 1,800,000 acres of crown, government, and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, without the consent of, or compensation to, the Native Hawaiian people, or their ancient and rightful sovereign government. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
The indigenous Hawaiian people and other non-Native Hawaiian subjects of the Kingdom and their rightful rulers never directly relinquished their rights or claims to the United States, on or for: their inherent sovereignty as a people, the sovereignty of their own government, or their lands, treasures, and resources, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
On April 30, 1900, President McKinley signed the Organic Act, which provided a government for the territory of Hawaiʻi and defined the political structure and powers of the newly established Territorial Government and its relationship to the United States. And, on August 21, 1959, Hawai‘i became the 50th State of the United States. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
All the foregoing facts and the material conclusions of law (e.g., that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was wrongful and illegal)—have expressly and explicitly been admitted and acknowledged, as stated above—through official, transparent, and lawful governmental process, completed and enacted by both the legislative and executive branches of the government of The United States of America. This was accomplished on November 23, 1993 when Public Law 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510) was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into U.S. federal law by President Bill Clinton, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1893 illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510). As such—all the pertinent and material facts related to the issues of Hawaiian sovereignty, the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, and the rightful rule and governance of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian Islands belonging to the people of Hawai‘i, the Hawaiian monarchy, and the rightful descendants and heirs to the monarchy and throne of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i—are explicitly admitted and wholly uncontested by the United States federal government, in and through U.S. federal law. P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 1510).
The U.S. legislative and executive branches of government have NOW—after 100 years of un-American and unconstitutional conquest driven oppression over the Hawaiian Islands—explicitly, expressly, and officially recognized, openly admitted, and affirmed:
That “the health and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is intrinsically tied to their deep feelings and attachment to the land”. Id.;
That “the long-range economic and social changes in Hawai‘i over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been devastating to the population and to the health and well-being of the Hawaiian people”. Id.;
That “the Native Hawaiian people are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territory, and their cultural identity in accordance with their own spiritual and traditional beliefs, customs, practices, language, and social institutions”. Id.; and
That “it is proper and timely for the Congress on the occasion of the impending one hundredth anniversary of the event, to acknowledge the historic significance of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, to express its deep regret to the Native Hawaiian people, and to support the reconciliation efforts…” (emphasis added). Id.
(1) Lili‘uokalani Queen of Hawai‘i (1838-1917), Hawai‘i's story by Hawai‘i's Queen, 1990
(2) Lili‘uokalani Queen of Hawai‘i (1838-1917), Hawai‘i's Story by Hawai‘i's Queen, Lee and Shepard, Boston, 1898
(3) Vattel, Emer De, The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, Vol. 1, 1767
(4) The U.S. Supreme Court, in Franchise Tax BB., Supra, May 13, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 3399, 139 S.Ct. 1485, 2019 WL 2078084 (2019), upon this citing. https://www.lexisnexis.com/community/casebrief/p/casebrief-franchise-tax-bd-v-hyatt-1053047112
(5) Available at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1898-pt7-v31/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1898-pt7-v31-2-2.pdf, last viewed May 25, 2019
(6) The Apology Resolution (P.L. 103-150 (107 Stat. 150)) is addressed to the Native Hawaiian people of the Kingdom of Hawai‛i. However, there were non-Native Hawaiian subjects of the Kingdom who also lost their nation.
(7) Many excerpts from this document are taken from a Royal Decree to Cease & Desist, authored and issued by King Paki-Silva on June 4, 2019, Statement of Case and Authority.