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During 1891 and 1892, annexation sentiment increased due to Liliuokalani's policies and the defeat of the Reform Party in the 1890 elections. This defeat had discouraged many who saw the Reform Party as the only vehicle to ensure a stable government. They now looked toward the possibility of annexation as a solution. One of those who began to consider the possibility of annexation with increasing favor was L. A. Thurston, who by "1892 was an ardent annexationist." 166/ However, "up to the end of 1891 there was, it is believed, no organized group seeking to promote annexation to the United States." 167/

The elections of February 1892 were complicated by an increase in the number of political parties from two in 1890 (the Reform Party and the National Reform Party) to four in 1892. The Liberal Party, which included Wilcox and many followers of the National Reform Party, was opposed by three smaller parties, including the Reform Party and the National Reform Party. The Liberal Party slogan was "Hawaii for Hawaiians," 168/ and its goal was a republican form of government:

The Liberal Party was the party of the opposition; its campaign orators continued the attack on the cabinet, the queen, and Marshal C. B. Wilson [an influential advisor to the queen] that had been started by [John E.] Bush and Wilcox in the spring of 1891, and these leaders continued to preach the doctrine of republicanism which, said Bush, was gaining favor among the Hawaiians because of the "present rotten condition of officialdom" in the kingdom, a/ In one speech Wilcox explained that "in times gone by he had been a staunch royalist, today he was in the same degree a Republican, he was a strong believer in freedom and justice and was in favor of a government of the people, by the people and for the people." b/ On another occasion he spoke of the "utter misgovernment of affairs at hone. Ignorant fools are conducting the Government. A 'blacksmith' [Wilson] is very influential with the Queen...He is too ignorant a man to be even trusted with any responsible Government position. It is a standing disgrace to the Hawaiian nation...We must all be loyal Hawaiians, and tell the Queen that her present Government is an injustice and a disgrace to the nation. We must not flatter her."c/ "To flatter the Queen would be to inflate her with her own importance, which would cause disastrous results." 169/

Neither the Liberal Party nor any of the other parties was able to win a majority of seats in the legislature in the 1892 election. The election results thus left the legislature in a weakened state. John E. Bush, a Liberal Party leader, wrote: "The practical defeat of the Liberal Party is the lost opportunity of the Hawaiians...It looks now as though the only hope for equal rights in this country lies in—shall we say it—annexation." 170/

During the last year of the Hawaiian monarchy the pace of events became more heated and feverish. Between the election of February 3, 1892, and the meeting of the legislature on May 28, 1892, two major developments occurred, "one overt and one secret, [that] were important elements of what Minister Stevens described as a feverish political situation: (1) an antigovernment agitation and conspiracy fomented by certain leaders of the Liberal Party, and (2) the formation and activities of an annexation club." 171/


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