The Need For Bird $ ħ!τ ! In the State of the Union Address of 1850 President Millard Fillmore addressed the need for guano. Bird droppings are rich in chemicals for fertilizer, used by farmers to increase crop yields. The United States failed to acquire a treaty with Peru for buying guano, but the Guano Act of 1856 by the U.S. Congress authorized annexation of any small island in the Pacific that was not claimed by another government
Guano Act Acquisitions Baker Island 1857 Howland Island 1857 Jarvis Island 1857 Johnston Atoll 1858 Midway Islands 1867
Early Japanese Contact In 1853 Commodore Matthew C. Perry was dispatched by President Fillmore to Japan. Supporters of the mission wanted to see Japan opened to trade but this mission was to serve a wider purpose – an extension of US naval power into and across the Pacific. To project naval power the US Navy needed coaling stations and Perry investigated potential stations on the islands of Okinawa and Chichi Jima, part of the Bonin Islands. The Department of the Navy along with the US Congress opposed “imperialist” acquisitions and Japan seized control of both islands in the 1860s.
US Interventions – 1858 to 1868 Fiji 1858 Shanghai 1859 Newchwang 1866 Japan 1868 Somoa 1878
The US and Hawaii The U.S. economy was benefiting from a decline in transport costs, an expansion of trade and a rising standard of living. By the 1870s Hawaii's sugar exports were more than thirteen times what they had been in 1860, with steamships providing faster transport between Honolulu and San Francisco. The Hawaiians were Christianized, and missionary families were well established and still citizens of the United States, with foreigners having the right to own land, to vote and to serve in government.
The US and Hawaii In 1875 the United States and the Kingdom of Hawaii signed a "treaty of reciprocity" - free trade. Southern congressmen complained about injury to the rice and sugar producers in their districts: cheap Asian rice could be imported by way of the Hawaiian Island duty-free. Also, by 1880, Hawaiians were unhappy, not about US imports but about the accumulation by missionaries and other foreigners of both power and influence. Native Hawaiians became increasingly hostile to “arrogant and uncharitable opportunists” as they described white business owners. Hawaiians called for a purely native legislature and complained that foreigners held most of the land. "Hawaii for Hawaiians" had became a slogan.
The US and Hawaii Claus Spreckles Spreckles, a German-born financier from California, all but monopolized the sugarcane procurement. King Kalakaua granted Spreckles political favors because the two played poker together and Spreckles arraigned personal loans for the king. Rumor had it that Spreckles was the power behind the throne when in 1886, he returned to California. Kalakaua
The US and Hawaii Well-established U.S. citizens felt they had been in Hawaii long enough to be considered Hawaiian. They: Felt they deserved the influence they could exercise were disturbed by what they thought was hostility from non-whites were concerned about bad government by King Kalakaua. Common among whites during these times was the belief that non-whites were incapable of good government. Whatever the beliefs of influential whites in Hawaii, among them were at least a few who believed that the king had too much power. A few formed a secret society called the Hawaiian League, led by Lorrin Thurston. Thurston wanted a new constitution that gave more power to the legislature and voting restrictions that protected men like himself from the opinions of hostile non- whites.
The US and Hawaii The conspirators confronted King Kalakaua and took power the old fashioned way, with weapons. Without an adequate guard or military counterforce, King Kalakaua responded by signing the “Bayonet Constitution” which Thurston and his fellow conspirators had devised. The king, according to his sister Liliuokalani, signed the constitution "under absolute compulsion."
The US and Hawaii When King Kalakaua died of kidney disease in 1891 Liliuokalani took the oath as reigning monarch, swearing to uphold the new constitution that she despised. With the support of Hawaii's citizens she drafted a constitution to replace the Bayonet Constitution and in January 1893, the former conspirators, now in power, defended their power by resorting to yet another coup. They formed a Committee of Safety and enlisted a militia that took over government buildings and offices. U.S. President Benjamin Harrison encouraged the move favored annexation. The coup was supported by the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Boston which landed marines and sailors to keep order in Honolulu. The Queen's guards surrendered their arms at the palace barracks and Queen Liliuokalani was retired to her private residence. Wanting no bloodshed she urged people not to riot A new Democratic administration would be coming into power the following March and she believed that the decency of the American people would set things aright: she planned to write an appeal to President Cleveland.
The US and Hawaii Unfortunately for the Hawaiians, on February 1, the Harrison administration recognized the government of the “Hawaiian League” and Hawaii was proclaimed a U.S. protectorate. A treaty of annexation was sent to the Senate, but after learning that most Hawaiians opposed annexation, Democrats opposed it and the treaty of annexation failed to pass. Grover Cleveland spoke of the dishonorable conduct toward Hawaiians and in March after his inauguration he sent a new U.S. minister to Hawaii to restore Queen Liliuokalani to power. Liliuokalani also had the support of the sugar magnate, Claus Spreckles, but his power was not what it had been rumored to be. The government in Honolulu refused to step down, and there was not the will by the new administration, or the U.S. public, to use force against their fellow citizens in Hawaii.
The US and Hawaii On 04 March 1897 Republicans returned to the presidency, and in June 1898, during the Spanish American War, annexation of the Hawaiian Islands was once again debated in Congress. “We must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China.” In July, President William McKinley signed the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands into law and by 1900 the islands were made a territory, with the leader of the coup against Liliuokalani, Sanford B. Dole, the territory's first governor.