Nhsc-v1-309

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

nhsc-v1-309

Text Only

joint resolution for annexation was substantially the same as the treaty negotiated in the prior year with the Republic of Hawaii, which was duly ratified by its Senate. 273/

Soon after annexation, a territorial government was established for Hawaii under the Act of April 30, 1900 (31 Stat. 141). As early as 1903 the legislature of the Territory of Hawaii began to petition Congress for statehood. 274/ As in the case of Alaska, the question of statehood for Hawaii was the subject of numerous Congressional hearings and debates for many years. The proceedings in which Hawaiian statehood was discussed reflect that politics, both in the United States and on the islands, was a major factor in delaying Hawaii's transformation from territory to state.

The political situation in Hawaii was best summarized by John A. Burns, Delegate from Hawaii, in his article entitled, "Statehood and Hawaii's People." 275/ He described the Hawaiian achievement of statehood as the conquering of centralized government and the emergence of Hawaii's people. He admitted that the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 was an unpopular event and that the Hawaiian people distrusted the new Provisional Government. Its rule was much more stringent than that of the monarchy since a large portion of the general public was prevented from voting, while power remained in the hands of the propertied class. Burns stated that the unpopularity of the annexation was not because of animosity toward the United States, but rather a resentment for the particular ruling party.

Directly after annexation, a commission was set up to compose an Organic Act for Hawaii. According to Barns, two Hawaiian members of the commission wished to add a property and income requirement to the educational qualifications for voting. This provision would have prevented the majority of the Hawaiian people from voting. The efforts of Senator Tillman of South Carolina blocked such a measure, however, and the Organic Act was passed in 1900 with only a literacy requirement for voters.

The Territorial government continued to be extremely restrictive. Even though the Territorial legislature had passed measures for erecting county governments, the Territorial executive repeatedly vetoed them. Finally, the situation evoked a Congressional investigation. This resulted in an ultimatum by Congress that called for the Territory to organize county governments quickly or Congress would do so. After this directive, the Territorial executive allowed a local government bill to pass.

Delegate Burns listed a number of other reasons why statehood was delayed for Hawaii: besides county government, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the bill of rights, and other projects all involved excessive amounts of time. In addition to these reasons, the controlling economic and political groups strongly opposed statehood for their own interests. After amendments were made to the Agricultural Adjustment Act by the Act of May 9, 1934 (48 Stat. 670), placing strict limits on the amount of sugar imported from Hawaii into the continental United States, and extensive investigations were made into other Hawaiian affairs, the controlling groups were compelled to support statehood.

By 1935, Hawaiian statehood hearings had become more active. It was then suggested that a plebiscite be held to determine whether Hawaiian citizens approved of the statehood proposal. A plebiscite held in 1940 showed a majority of the residents of Hawaii favoring admission to the Union. At that point, however,

-p309-

Previous Page Next Page