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Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua

1893 - attempted overthrow

Keanu Sai

length 5:00

On January 16, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom was a fully functional nation. It was internationally recognized. It was a member of the family of nations. And it was actively engaged in commerce and trade. It had over 90 consulates throughout the world with ambassadors and ministers assigned to them.

This Hawaiian Kingdom, its independence was being threatened by a few individuals calling themselves the Committee of Safety. These were traitors. And they conspired with the United States to try to get Hawai‘i annexed by the United States under the idea of a treaty. Not a conquest, but by voluntary treaty.

Well, that's what sparked things to occur in 1893, January 17. American troops were landed under the assumption that American lives were in jeopardy.

They were really landed for the protection of these self-proclaimed individuals calling themselves the Committee of Safety.

The Committee of Safety was specifically comprised of six Hawaiian subjects, who were not of the native blood, one German national, a British national and five American citizens for a total of thirteen people.

Well, they decided to commit the crime of treason by declaring that the Provisional Government exists and that the United States is going to recognize them.

So what they did was they conspired with Minister Stevens, the ambassador assigned to the Hawaiian islands. They had him land American troops to protect their proclamation that they're overthrowing the government.

These individuals made a proclamation that says "We are the Provisional Government now and we have taken over the monarchial form of government" – which was fully constitutional. And they did this with the backing of the American troops there.

Now mind you, it's only thirteen people that are doing this. But you have United States naval forces and marines coming off the boats.

With the American troops landing, which was in total violation of international law and Hawaiian Kingdom law, because they had no consent,

Lili‘uokalani was put in a precarious situation. She was Hawai‘i's head of state at that time.

For her to take out these traitors, which she could have easily done, she would run into the problem with the United States.

She realized that Minister Stevens was going to go ahead and recognize this Provisional Government as being the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Well, what she needed to do was to insure that that can't happen by a legal process.

So what she did was, she yielded her authority, her executive authority, not to the Provisional Government, but yielded it to the United States government because they landed troops unlawfully on Hawaiian soil.

And what she asked was an investigation to be done. To find out that American troops did land in violation of international law and treaties that Hawai‘i has with the United States and, she stated, to restore herself to her constitutional position as the monarch.

Now, that very same day, right after Lili‘uokalani issued that proclamation, Minister Stevens went ahead and recognized the Provisional Government. Now that's what gave them the go-ahead to now travel to the United States. And on February 14, in Washington, individuals from this Provisional Government signed a treaty in Washington and then it was submitted to the United States senate for approval.

The problem was, before it could get approved, President Harrison was defeated in the elections by President Grover Cleveland. Grover Cleveland came into office in March.

The first thing he saw was Lili’uokalani's letter of protest. He said "Definitely we have a problem. American troops have landed and they're not supposed to be involved with these kinds of things."

He immediately went to the United States Senate and he took the treaty out from the Senate. And he said "You folks will not look at this, because I have evidence that American troops were involved. And that is a gross violation of international law."

He then commissioned an envoy, named James Blount to do an investigation in this so-called overthrow.

As a result, James Blount came to Hawai‘i. He did a full investigation. And his conclusions were: America was wrong. They were in violation of international law. Minister Stevens was wrong. He acted without the consent of the United States congress or government.

And he called for the restoration of the Hawaiian government.

As a result, President Cleveland gave a message to the United States congress of his findings.

In his message he stated to the United States congress that the Provisional Government was neither de facto nor de jure. What that means is, they're not a lawful government. He said they were just self-proclaimed.

As a result, he said "I will never resubmit this treaty of annexation again."

Francis Boyle

The United States government has now officially conceded that it illegally invaded and occupied the Kingdom of HawaiĆi. And for this reason, the native people of HawaiĆi would be entitled to restoration of their independent status as a sovereign nation state, to go back to what they were before the U.S. invasion, to undo the damage that had been done.
Ma Hope Ho'i Ma Mua