Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Petition Against Hawaii

My class was discussing the annexation of Hawaii today, so I thought I'd do it here as well.  What I find is interesting is how Cleveland backsteps the US in this period, actually wanting to restore the Queen, but he leaves office and McKinley pushes it forward:
Without permission from the U.S. State Department, Minister Stevens then recognized the new government and proclaimed Hawaii a U.S. protectorate. The Committee immediately proclaimed itself to be the Provisional Government. President Benjamin Harrison signed a treaty of annexation with the new government, but before the Senate could ratify it, Grover Cleveland replaced Harrison as president and subsequently withdrew the treaty.

Shortly into his presidency, Cleveland appointed James Blount as a special investigator to investigate the events in the Hawaiian Islands. Blount found that Minister Stevens had acted improperly and ordered that the American flag be lowered from Hawaiian government buildings. He also ordered that Queen Lili'uokalani be restored to power, but Sanford Dole, the president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii, refused to turn over power. Dole successfully argued that the United States had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Hawaii. The Provisional Government then proclaimed Hawaii a republic in 1894, and soon the Republic of Hawaii was officially recognized by the United States.
This site is really cool in that it has petitions against hte annexation of Hawaii and ideas on how to teach with them. I rather like this debate idea!
Direct the students to use the petition and their knowledge of the historical debate to formulate their own positions for or against annexation of Hawaii to the United States. Give the students the following arguments, taken from the May 17, 1898, Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Report on H.Res. 259 (House Report 1355, 55th Congress, 2d session), and ask them to hold a committee hearing on annexation using characters researched in activity 2 as members of or witnesses to the committee:

Arguments For :
Hawaii too small and weak to maintain independence
No protest by any other government
"Cordial consent" of both governments
Strategic location to secure U.S. fleet and coastline
Commercial interests
"Outpost of Americanism against increasing Asiatic invasion"
Arguments Against:
Hawaiian people not consulted
American people not consulted
Unconstitutional method of increasing domain
Too remote; too costly to defend
Non-homogeneous population
Not commercially necessary
Not militarily necessary
Secure independence of Hawaiian people with policy rather than takeover

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