Penn History Review


In 1897 tens of thousands of Hawaiians petitioned President William McKinley to oppose a treaty for the annexation of Hawaii that had been submitted to the United States Senate. The recently deposed Queen Liliuokalani also submitted formal protests to the President and to Congress in an attempt to preserve the sovereignty of Hawaii. These petitions seem to represent a departure in the Hawaiian position towards American influence in Hawaii. The diaries of David Lawrence Gregg, head of theAmerican diplomatic mission to Hawaii from 1853 to 1858, depict King Kamehameha III as openly engaged in annexation negotiations.1 More surprising, the Hawaiians who protested annexation in 1897 were attempting to preserve a Hawaii that was significantly more American in character than the Hawaii of only a century earlier.

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