Annexation of Hawaii

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Not many Americans are familiar with the history behind Hawaii becoming part of the United States. Most people know Hawaii for beautiful beaches, nice weather, and the native cultures. The annexation of Hawaii is an interesting story and was not an easy task to accomplish for the United States. The story of the annexation is a story of conflicting goals as the American businessman struggled to obtain favorable trade conditions and native Hawaiians sought to protect their culture and heritage.

In 1891 Hawaii was a monarchy ruled by King Kalakaua and was later ruled by his sister, Queen Liliuokalani. The United States began seeking interest in Hawaii in the early 1820s to expand on agricultural growth. The United States became interested in Hawaii’s sugar growing agriculture and began trading with Hawaii [1]. America began trading and making deals with Hawaii while King Kalakaua was still ruling. During this time the United States did not charge anything for importing Hawaiian sugar. Also, the United States established a U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in the late 1880s.

The sugar growing industry is where the annexation of Hawaii started to begin or was the root cause of the annexation. In 1890 Congress approved the McKinley Tariff; this tariff raised the rates on sugar being imported into the United States from foreign countries. The raised rates caused a financial hardship on the sugar farmers of the Hawaiian Islands. The American sugar farmers knew if the islands were to be annexed by the United States, then the tariff would be no longer needed.

Queen Liliuokalani tried to rebuild the monarchy and was against the annexation with the United States. Many of the local sugar farmers were plotting a revolt to defeat the Queen because of her opposition to the annexation. American troops invaded the island without the consent from the President of the United States. The troops overthrew the Queen in a bloodless battle on January 17, 1893...
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