The Creation of the Republic of Hawaiʻi

#127 in the Moʻolelo series

In December 1893, 11 months after the overthrow, President Cleveland was still calling Liliʻuokalani the Queen of Hawaiʻi – she notes this in her autobiography Hawaiʻi’s Story. Senator Blount’s investigation (called colloquially the “Blount Report” but actually entitled “Affairs in Hawaii”) recommended that Liliʻu be reinstated and Cleveland had every intention of doing so. He asked for Congress’s support in this – not for the decision, which, as executive*, was his to make, but for funds to send troops to enforce the decision. If no troops were sent, it was possible that the Provisional Government would brazenly refuse, claiming that they were sovereign and need not follow orders from a foreign executive (Hawaiʻi was actually sovereign). When Congress, the majority of whom favored annexation, refused to provide funds, this is exactly what the Provisional Government did.

Sanford Ballard Dole

The PG then proceeded to create a more permanent government that they decided to call the Republic of Hawaiʻi. (As I stated in the last post, Dole stressed that it was important to have the word “Republic” in the name, not just call it “Hawaii”). At this point, one might think of turning to Kuykendall for an account of the Republic’s formation, but astoundingly, his Hawaiian Kingdom volume 3 ends in February, 1894. The Republic was founded in July 4th, 1894. Thus his three-volume account of the Kingdom avoids the tricky tangle of the annexation question. In fact, Kuykendall died before completing the work, and A. Grove Day – in my view a shameless apologist for the oligarchy – “completed the work. His last sentence in volume 3 is:

Thus the ripe fruit was to be left dangling, but the United States had posted trespass notices and presumably would patrol the orchard.

Kuykendall/Day, 1967, 650.

The State of Hawaiʻi gives the following account of the Republic’s Constitutional Convention:

on March 19, 1894 the Minister of the Interior issued a proclamation calling for election of delegates on May 2nd; on May 10th President Dole issued a proclamation summoning the members of the convention to convene on May 30, 1894.

President Dole called the convention to order in the hall of the Judiciary Building. The convention hired the necessary staff and established four standing committees, which investigated and made recommendations on controvertible propositions. A draft constitution was submitted by the Executive Council and passed two readings in the Committee of the Whole. In convention it was read for a third time in order to make revisions, and a fourth time for corrections.

The constitution was signed on July 3, 1894 and promulgated the next day in special ceremonies, thereby establishing the Republic of Hawaii. The convention then adjourned sine die on July 5th, the twenty-fourth day of proceedings.

Kamana Beamer notes:

The use of the word “republic” in reference to the government was merely a facade to mask the despots. The population never voted on the constitution, and the government was illegitimate.

Kamanamaikalani Beamer, 2014, 199

Beamer’s claim that the Republic was “illegitimate” is no baseless claim. Cleveland noted, based on the Blount Report, that the Provisional Government “owed its existence to an armed invasion.” This means that it is a mere puppet government of the United States itself – admitted by its own President! As such, it has nothing to do with the actual sovereignty of Hawaiʻi, which is why Cleveland was recognizing Liliʻu as sovereign eleven months after the overthrow. When the US recognized the Republic, it was in effect recognizing its own creation.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Creation of the Republic of Hawaiʻi

  1. Thomas Chock



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