From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page


Text Only

available to the United States in the Pacific, with the exception of Samoa which, geographically, was not as important. Victory at Manila Bay provided the impetus for victory for the annexationists in Hawaii. On May 4, 1898, three days after the Battle of Manila, the Newlands Resolution for Annexation was introduced in the House of Representatives. Although there was still a great deal of opposition, the Resolution finally passed on June 15, 1898. After more lengthy debate in the Senate, annexation was approved on July 6, 1898. Formal transfer of sovereignty occurred on August 12, 1898, when the Hawaiian Islands became a United States territory.


Why a Joint Resolution, Not a Treaty?

The reasons for the use of a joint Congressional resolution (the Newlands Resolution) rather than a treaty to annex Hawaii to the United States can be ascertained through the documented history of the annexation proceedings as well as by a review of world events that affected United States policies at the time. Several attempts to annex Hawaii to the United States had taken place prior to 1898, one as early as 1854. 208/ The treaty process was tried until the alternative joint resolution process succeeded in 1898. Although members of Congress and other government officials, as well as private citizens, advanced numerous reasons to use a joint resolution, the primary motivation was expediency. A joint resolution required only a simple majority of the Congress, whereas a treaty would have required a two-thirds majority of the Senate. 209/ The need for annexation, by whatever parliamentary means, was believed urgent to protect the strategic and military interests of the United States in the Pacific.

A short review of world events prior to debate and passage of the 1898 resolution clearly shows the sense of urgency its backers felt. A treaty of annexation was negotiated between the United States and Hawaii on June 16, 1897, and ratified by the Hawaiian Senate later that year. This treaty was submitted to the United States Senate on the same day it was negotiated, but "embroiled in the tariff and lacking a clear majority, much less a two-thirds vote of the membership, the Republican senatorial leadership delayed action." 210/ In the meantime, Japan protested against annexation as harmful to its nationals in Hawaii, who now made up the majority of the cheap labor force on the islands. President McKinley was fearful that Japan would take possession of Hawaii before the United States could annex it. On the subject of Japan, one author writes that in a conversation with Senator Hoar, McKinley stated that:

"We cannot let the islands go to Japan... Japan has her eye on them. Her people are crowding in there. I am satisfied they do not go there voluntarily, as ordinary immigrants, but that Japan is pressing them in there, in order to get possession before anybody can interfere." McKinley from the first acted on the basis of his new policy with a consciousness of American defense, an appreciation of the desirability of Pacific possessions, and an awareness of the designs of other powers. That consciousness would settle into a hardened conviction that America must assume her destiny in the Philippines as well as Hawaii.
The Japanese scare, however true or false, generated heat, but not enough to accomplish annexation. 211/

Previous Page Next Page