Hawaiian Overthrow The 19th century will live in infamy in Hawaiian hearts; it was a century of great change in Hawaiian society. The old system of mana and the sharing of the land were slowly replaced, the arrival of missionaries would signal the period of greatest change in Hawaiian society. Between the arrival of Captain James Cook and the missionaries, the Hawaiian monarchy was able to maintain some sort of independence and keep the old Hawaiian system in place. Everything began to change that eventually lead to the overthrow of the monarchy and the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. This was a very long process and it is hard to decipher who was responsible for the overthrow of the monarchy What part did Queen Liliuokalani play in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy? What actions did she initiate that provoked the Annexation group to arise and take over the Hawaiian kingdom that would become the republic of Hawaii and eventually be annexed to the United States? Was the queen the one to blame for the annexation of Hawaii? These are some of the questions that I would like to answer. The position of the queen and the influence she had on the whole affair is unclear to me at this point.
Queen Liliuokalani was born Liliu Kamakaeha on September 2, 1838. After her birth she was taken away and adopted by Konia, who was granddaughter of King Kamehameha the Great. They did this so that everyone in the higher positions in Hawaiian society would have a stake in everyones family. The whole society was supposed to be like one large family. At age four Liliu attended the royal school Run by the missionaries Amos Cooke and his wife. There she studied for over six hours a day after school and became a very good student.
Liliu also developed Christian beliefs that she would carry with her for the rest of her life. The school closed in Liliu went to school closer to home. This made her very happy because she did not like the boarding school very much and missed her family a lot . Liliu married at 24 years of age to John Owen Dominis, son of a very prominent ship captain. At the time of her wedding she moved to Washington Place until 1868 when she inherited some land in Waikiki. Liliu loved this house and she loved to share in the beauty of the land in Waikiki.
She would let all kinds of people stay at her house. People as prominent as Captains of ships down to the footmen and deckhands, she was a very compassionate women. In 1877 Kalakaua called Lililu to the palace and told her she was going to be named his heir apparent under the name of Princess Liliuokalani . Her first reaction was one of dismay and shock, she believed that this name was not a name at all. Kalakaua reminded her that her name meant sore eye, then she retorted that his name meant battle day2.These little reactions can be an example of the Queens stubbornness that would play a huge role in the way she would later run the kingdom. She did not like change that much either, this attitude would also play an important role with the way she would try to run her cabinet and kingdom.
In 1891 Kalakaua went on a world tour to help broaden his horizons and he appointed Princess Lili’uokalani as regent of Hawaii. Kalakaua died in San Francisco and Liliuokalani became queen. Hawaii would never be the same again. A lot of events had taken place during the five years before Liliuokalani had taken the throne from her brother. King Kalakaua had a tumultuous reign as King. In 1872, the cost of maintaining the King, the royal family and the military were $144,350 by 1886 the cost had more than tripled to $462,436 .How could the king and his family justify this cost? The Hawaiian kingdom would be driven into further debt because of the lavish spending of King Kalakaua and his royal family.
The argument that has presented before me is that he was trying to establish the Hawaiian monarchy as a real player in world affairs. I still dont see how you can justify spending that much money and put your people in debt with outside peoples. The reign of Kalakaua also brought conspiracy such as, the unscrupulous handling of the liquor license and the opium debate that raged throughout the kingdom. This brought about a revision to the Constitution and it became known as the Bayonet Constitution. The Constitution of 1887 was meant to perfect power. Its provisions, according to its supporters, were bulwarks of liberty .
The Constitution of 1887 was established to take some power away from the monarch and equally distribute it amongst the leaders of the Hawaiian society. It made the upper house of the legislature elective rather than appointive, which meant they could now vote for nobles as well. To vote you needed to meet the qualifications, an income of six hundred dollars a year or taxable property worth three thousand dollars. This qualification did exclude two out of three Hawaiians but Daws argues that it simply offered them an incentive to better their condition as individuals and thus earn there right to part in responsible politics . The groundwork was laid for a fight to the finish, who really controlled the islands.
The natives did not have much say in the Constitution of 1887 because most of the power sat in the hands of the haole elite. Kalakaua could not do much about this because he was concerned about foreign affairs at this point. With Kalakaua touring the world and trying to establish Hawaii as a sovereign nation, recognized amongst other great nations of their time, his sister waited in the wings. Little did she know that she would be thrust into the spotlight a lot sooner than expected. Liliuokalani took the throne upon the news of her brothers death when he arrived back in Hawaii in 1891. When she took the throne she swore to uphold the Constitution of 1887 even though later on she said This constitution never in any way ratified, either by the people, or by their representatives, even after violence had procured the kings signature to it . From the beginning Liliuokalani wanted to establish that she had the power in the kingdom and that Constitution that passed was had no bearing on her decisions.
She wanted to take power away from the people and move toward a more absolute monarchy. This could not have come at a worse time in Hawaiian society, the growing influence of the merchant class and the ever-growing power of the sugar industry in Hawaiian society caused many problems. In 1891 with the United States passing of the McKinley Act made Hawaiis situation even worse. The McKinley act placed no tariffs on sugar imported in the United States; this crippled Hawaiis sugar industry more and set the Hawaiian economy in despair. When the Sugar industry was in trouble the whole kingdom was in trouble .
This presented Liliuokalani with a problem, should she try to satisfy the plantation owners and try to help the United States in the process or she should go off on her own tangent? The problem that Liliuokalani faced was she did not have the political skills to rule during that time of turmoil. I believe this is why the a …