Subversive Historian – 07/07/09

The Newlands Resolution

Back in the day on July 7th, 1898, President William McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution. With a swift stroke of a pen, the Hawaiian islands were annexed to the United States. Named after Congressman Frances Newlands, the first sentence of the resolution claimed that the Government of the Republic of Hawaii ceded all rights of sovereignty to the U.S. There is, however, as always a back story. The republic in question was preceded by a provisional government that took power in the wake of the overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 for which the U.S. has apologized for its role 100 years later. The resolution, whose legality has been questioned by the sovereignty movement on the islands, brought with it all the provisions of being under the authority of the U.S. Existing treaties ceased, Chinese people were excluded from immigration to the islands or from them to the U.S. and nearly two million acres of land were transferred without consent or compensation from the indigenous population.

The Newlands Resolution executed the taking of new lands, as the fiftieth anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood awaits us later this year…


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