U.S. Congressman Clark Says Annexation Against the Will of the Hawaiian People

Rep. NewlandsAfter the defeat of the Spanish Pacific Squadron in the Philippines on May 1, 1898, just one month into the Spanish-American War, Congressman Francis Newlands (D-Nevada), submitted House resolution no. 259 for the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to theRep. Robert Hitt House Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 4, 1898. Six days later, hearings were held on the Newlands resolution, and on May 17, 1898, Chairman Robert Hitt (R-Illinois) reported the Newlands resolution out of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, and debates ensued in the House of Representatives until the resolution was passed on June 15, 1898.

Rep. Charles ClarkOn June 11, 1898, Congressman Hitt began the debate by giving a lengthy testimony calling for the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands as a military necessity. One of the opponents to the scheme of annexation was Congressman Charles Nelson Clark (R-Missouri). He too gave a lengthy testimony on the floor of the House during the debate and one of his key points centered on the lack of support the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i had from the people of the Hawaiian Islands. He was making specific reference to the signature petition against the treaty of annexation by the Hawaiian Patriotic League that was submitted by Senator George Hoar (R-Massachusetts) after meeting with the officers of the league in Washington, D.C. This signature petition was a major reason why the Senate failed to acquire the necessary two-thirds vote to ratify a treaty of annexation that was signed by the McKinley administration and the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i. The treaty failed.

Here follows Congressman Clark’s testimony during the debate on June 11, 1898 (vol. 31, Congressional Record, p. 5793):



The cornerstone of this Republic is the proposition enunciated by Thomas Jefferson, the chief priest, apostle, and prophet of constitutional liberty—“Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

If that proposition is not true, then the American Revolution was a monstrous crime; Washington, Warren, Montgomery, Greene, Marion, and all that band of heroes were turbulent traitors to King George III; John Hancock, Old John Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and their Congressional compeers pestilent disturbers of the peace; and all the blood shed in our two wars with Great Britain was wanton and wicked waste. If that proposition is not true, William McKinley is this day exercising functions usurped from Victoria Guelph, and this body is composed of mouthy brawlers doing unlawfully those things which the English House of Commons has the sole right to do.

If that proposition is not true, you, Mr. Speaker, are not Speaker de jure, but only Speaker de facto, interfering pro tanto with the prerogatives of the speaker of the English House of Commons, Mr. Gully, who is the grandson of a professional pugilist. [Laughter and applause.]

This annexation scheme is in flagrant violation of that basic principle of our Republic, for many thousand Hawaiians—more than the entire male adult population—have solemnly protested against the sale and delivery of their country to us by a little gang of adventurers who, claiming to be the whole thing, are offering to us a property of which they have robbed the rightful owners. And now America, which has been solemnly declared by the Supreme Court to be a Christian land, is to be made the receiver of these stolen Hawaiian goods.

If an ordinary citizen receives stolen goods, he commits a penitentiary offense. Wherein, I beg leave to inquire, is the difference of principle between in stealing ordinary property and in stealing an island or a group of islands, or in receiving them after they are stolen? The only justification lies in the thievish theory that if the theft is big enough, it ceases to be a crime and takes on the character and complexion of a virtue, and the perpetrators thereof, instead of being consigned to the striped uniforms, cramped quarters, meager diet, and hard labor of felons, are to be hailed as statesmen and rewarded with the plaudits of a grateful people—a theory which, I regret to say, is growing in this country.

But the jingoes tell us that this protest of the Hawaiians is all bogus, gotten up by designing knaves, and that the Hawaiians are falling over each other in their eagerness for annexation. If this is true, why not submit this annexation scheme to a popular vote in Hawaii, as was done in the case of Texas, and which was provided for in the treaty once negotiated with Santo Domingo, but which happily was never ratified, or have a plebiscite, as Napoleon III was in the habit of doing whenever he felt like it or wished to cure himself of ennui produced by wearing his uncle’s heavy crown, which was too large for him? That would be fair and would remove one difficulty. Certainly Mr. Sanford B. Dole could guarantee that every vote in favor of annexation would be counted at least once.

Does he or do his sponsors here shrink from the test of Hawaiian manhood suffrage on that proposition?

If a fair election on that proposition can not be had, what assurance have we that fair elections can be had hereafter, if we annex these islands? If the Hawaiians are not fit to vote on a proposition of vital interest to themselves, who will have the effrontery to say that they are fit to vote for all coming time on propositions of vital interest to us and to our posterity?

If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, how does it happen that the Hawaiians are to have no voice in a performance which transforms their country from an independent nation into a mere outpost of this Republic?

Let him answer who can.

This submission to a vote of the Hawaiian male adults of a proposition decisive of their destiny ought to be insisted on by Congress as a condition precedent to even considering annexation.

This is the American method of procedure—a method bottomed on the eternal principles of wisdom, justice, and liberty.

We should demand a free ballot and a fair count for the Hawaiians, whose patrimony has been appropriated by President Dole and his partners in the oligarchy.

The annexation shouters claim that the Hawaiian names appended to the remonstrance are largely fictitious, and chiefly secured as signers under false pretenses. We deny it. Issue is squarely joined on an important matter of fact. It can be settled by a vote of the Hawaiian males over 21 years of age. Who can deny that that is a fair test?

All the machinery of elections is in the hands of the little coterie of oligarchists. They are able, resolute, ambitious men. They can be relied upon to see to it that every annexation voter votes and that his vote is counted. They can also be relied on to see to it that not an unlawful vote is cast against the scheme of annexation, for their fortunes depend upon annexation. Can anything be more clearly just? Is President Dole afraid of the verdict of his own people? I pause for a reply.

None of his friends answer, so I will answer myself. He can not be induced to submit this scheme to a popular manhood suffrage vote, for the very good reason that he knows that he and his friends hold office through usurpation and that the vast majority of the Hawaiian people are bitterly opposed to him and all his works. He the friend of liberty, is he? How does it happen, then, that while under the monarchy 14,000 persons were permitted to vote, only 2,800 are given the elective franchise under the oligarchy?

Let it be remembered also that a large percentage of these 2,800 voters have been colonized in Hawaii by Dole & Co. since they have been conducting the Government. What a misleading misnomer is it to dignify this little handful of close-corporation oligarchists with the name of a republic! What a burlesque upon truth, what a travesty upon justice, what an affront to intelligence to assert that Dole and his gang have any claims upon us or upon any other friends of representative government and human freedom!

Oh, yes, but we are told that all male citizens of the Sandwich Islands can vote who will swear that they will support the present Republic and the present constitution of Hawaii. Now, at first blush that seems perfectly fair; but it is a delusion and a snare, as will readily appear from this fact: The constitution, which the Hawaiian people never had any hand in adopting, provides for this very scheme of annexation, which the Hawaiian people detest. That condition for voting is a very skillful contrivance. It exhausted human ingenuity to invent it as is worthy of Machiavelli himself. In order to vote at all a citizen of the Sandwich Islands must solemnly swear to support a constitution which deprives his country of its nationality. What man who has any reputation to lose indorses such a swindle on a feeble people? Under it only about 2,800 persons to vote, and that is about the number in favor of annexation.

13 thoughts on “U.S. Congressman Clark Says Annexation Against the Will of the Hawaiian People

  1. In the last 238 years of the American Governments existence, we have seen in the beginning how the power of the people help to break away from tyranny under England.

    The words written in the Declaration Of Independence speak true to that and it was all good at the time or was it.

    Since then, we have seen time and time again how greedy and selfish American Politicians ignore those very words in the constitution when it suited them and we’ve seen them quote the constitution to push their agenda’s as well.

    Congress was slapped in the face with facts that they were violating their own constitution, their own Supreme Court Decisions and their own basic human rights that they fought for in 1776 when a few Congressman like Charles Nelson Clark of Missouri spoke against the Newlands Resolution.

    It appears that in 1898 there were three kinds of politicians in the U.S, Congress:

    The first group were those that were tunnel vision and could only see Hawaii as a military outpost and those that were close friends of the traitors who help overthrow the Queen in 1893 even if it meant ignoring its own laws.

    The second were those who had no balls to speak the truth for fear of having to deal with the greedy bastards in the first group above and just went along with controversial legislations such as the Newlands Resolution unless it personally affected them.

    The third group of politicians were those who spoke the truth and still believed in the basic American way. Knowing that as true Americans it would benefit the U.S. to have a military outpost in the Hawaiian Islands, these politicians felt it should be done in the right way and not steal a country by helping a small group of greedy white traitors who were just looking to line their pockets with more money.

    Hawaii’s 121 year oppression under the U.S. is a prime example of politicians ignoring the U.S. Constitution as well as quoting the U.S, Constitution when it suited their agendas.

    Please excuse my rambling, but as a Kanaka I long to see the wrongs made right and the guilty made to pay.

    A Hui Hou,

    Malama Pono

    • Good to here others draw these same conclusions. What if we put men like the third group you mentioned in Congress? There were many others we could highlight besides Congressmen Clark, many many others! Read Annexation Hawaii by Thomas Osbourne.

      • archive.org/stream/jstor-25103247/25103247_djvu.txt

        The Hawaii Situation by Rep Wm. Springer also accounts the series of events.

    • A country can only be pompous and arrogant for so long. I’m praying that God and karma are going to settle thus one day. The same thing that happened to Rome right before the dark ages is going to happen to thus hypocritical America. Absolutely not proud to be an american

      • Bear in mind of the mindset of those in the 1700s. The U.S. Bill of Rights state that all men are created equal meant ALL white men are created equal, the rest are sub-human. This liberated indebted white men slaves as well. The white women did not have those equal rights since it was a white man’s world.

        With civil rights and Human rights, the idea shifted to mean mankind throughout the world, broadening its meaning in today’s international society. It’s still the white-man’s world who controls it; but for convenience, sales and marketing ; it’s best to sound inclusive rather than exclusive in today’s world.

    • Thank You, well said. In my Mothers generation and my generation we were brain washed completely. Our native language was forbidden, our history the same and we were only thought about American History and language. My bones and my heart trembles with Sadness to see how us the Hawaiian People have been blind sighted for so many years. But alas, our knowledge and wisdom is returning. I look strongly for the return to our Natural Kingdom of Hawaii for our People and the generations to come. Keep Pressing and motivating our People Young and Old. I recall why so many of the older generation was against Statehood while the new generation supported it… The older generation knew what happen during there parents generation while us at that time had very limited knowledge of how our Kingdom was Stolen from Us by those so called white businessman….and illegally annexed by the US.

      • It’s more that the younger generation just accepted what the U.S. educators imposed on our ‘opio. Growing up, I knew we weren’t a part of the U.S. and I was born in the Kingdom of Hawaii, but never knew the proper terminology to be used which later I learned through research.

  2. Regarding (from the post):

    “many thousand Hawaiians—more than the entire male adult population—have solemnly protested against the sale and delivery of their country to us by a little gang of adventurers who, claiming to be the whole thing, are offering to us a property of which they have robbed the rightful owners. ”

    I make this point via an analogy in my “Liberate Hawai’i! book. Suppose you are the unquestioned owner of a property, but a scoundrel makes a fraudulent power-of-attorney document claiming the power to sell your property and forges your name to it. The he uses that bogus “power of attorney” to sell your property to his co-conspirator so he and the co-conspirator can share in your wealth, at your expense! The matter is made worse when the court system fails to recognize the document as fraudulent, even when it is brought to their attention, thereby becoming itself a co-conspirator! This is what happens when the US court system regards the issue of sovereignty for Hawai’i a “settled matter,” namely “statehood,” declaring the burglary of over a century ago as a valid transaction!

  3. The 2,800 they speak of are the U.S. Americans, some were ex-Hawaiian subjects of American parentage, and a handful of token Kanaka maoli that formed the Annexation club which sponsored the Committee of Safety. This would mean that the U.S-invented Republic of Hawaii was at least 99.5% U.S. Americans. Hardly a plebiscite of Hawaii’s Kingdom subjects. The Ku’e Petitions of 1897 answers the Turpie Resolution of 1894 which states that the people of Hawaii has the sole right to chose their form of governance and political polity. The Turpie Resolution also threatened any American and all other nations to back-off and not to interfere with the Hawaii situation as it would be an unfriendly act against the United States. War-torn Europe, after the Crimean War, weren’t inclined to go up against the U.S. The U.S. – Indian wars were virtually at an end, and capable to engage in wars beyond its shores. The Monroe Doctrine was being enforced in South America and now extended to the Pacific Ocean, particularly, Hawaii and the Philippines; but not necessarily limited to those two countries.

    When the U.S. proclaimed the citizens of the ipso facto Republic of Hawaii to now be U.S. citizens, the overwhelming majority of its citizens were already U.S. citizens. This translates to the fact that all others maintains their original citizenship and would have to naturalize to the U.S.A.; especially, Asiatic people because they were banned by the ROH and the USA. All loyal bona fide Hawaiian subjects, legally remained Hawaiian Kingdom subjects till today. Hawaii was still considered a foreign country up until 1959 when again the U.S. proclaimed it a state of their union.

    Many Hawaiian subjects knew their status and who they are; but was forced to play the mythological game under duress. All protests were blacked-out and Hawaiian subjects were forced to comply to feed and sustain their families. They are the ones that learned to walk that fine-lined tightrope and never forgot. They under-estimated us and now others are earning the truth and have come aboard with us.

    The reparations for the Japanese was a set up for Hawaiians to want the same thing; but under the U.S. agenda and demands. Hawaiians were sold on the idea orchestrated by the U.S. to deflect any future repercussions as to the international crimes committed against the Hawaiian Kingdom. If they could convince to the majority of Hawaiian Kingdom subjects to accept their domestic tribal status, this would put the final nail in the Hawaiian subjects’ coffin and relieve the U.S. of its continuous crimes. They never counted on the increasing awareness of the facts and that the Hawaiian subjects activism which they thought they had squashed, has been growing. Their arrogance and over-confidence is costing them greatly. They know it’s time to pay the piper; but are trying to absolve the debt and crimes.

      • Legally, we are still Hawaiian subjects. For this tribal Hawaiian to move forward, it should be mandatory for those who participate in this, to individually naturalize to the U.S. first and expatriate from the Hawaiian Kingdom. We, Hawaiian Kingdom subjects, do not consent to this travesty and maintain the Hawaiian Kingdom’s lands, assets, resources, and jurisdiction. This means, naturalized U.S. Hawaiians do not have any power to negotiate Hawaiian Kingdom’s lands, assets, resources and jurisdiction which we steadfastly hold as the Kingdom’s subjects. The Turpie Resolution of 1894 and the Ku’e petitions of 1897 preserves this for us, its citizens.

  4. The americans, specifically up to their political leadership are mercenary in nature. The thoughts, feelings and actions are in their dna They came ashore on the continent as mercenaries, subjecting, coercing, lying, cheating, stealing, killing mercenaries. Assuredly not all have the value system of the mercenary and then few have the courage to offend it until it is brought down. It is our kuleana to do that and we endure the daily desire for more and louder voices demanding and attaining, fairness, honestly and justice. Ku`e is our kuleana. A`ole!! is a complete sentence. Say it loudly, say it often, Act it out.

  5. Thanks to Dr, Sai , they can’t hide the truth with their hands anymore. As a Borikua from Puerto Rico, I have been sharing your site and progress with all that will hear it, to make them aware and develop support for the Hawaiian Kingdom, Aloha!

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