Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sanford B. Dole's 160th Birthday April 23, 2004

Dole's 160th Birthday April 23, 2004. This is an essay which examines the Hawaiian media coverage of Sanford B. Dole's 160th birthday. Dole was the first and only President of the Republic of Hawaii and under his leadership the Hawaiian people overthrew a corrupt monarchy and eventually voluntarily joined the United States of America. (This was done by treaty and a joint resolution of Congress in 1898 but the Hawaiian people themselves did this by vote many times in the 20th Century including the binding one in 1959.)

From the site:

Sanford B. Dole was native-born at Punahou School, April 23, 1844. He spent eleven of his most formative years (ages 11-22) growing up Hawaiian-style, at Koloa, Kauai, where he became expert at konane (similar to checkers) and pahia (a special form of diving). After attending Williams College (Massachusetts) he became a lawyer, and included plantation laborers among his pro bono clients. He adopted a native girl (perhaps his biological child), whose descendants are Hawaiian community leaders today. His ties to Koloa remained strong, and he was elected to the Kingdom Legislature 1884-86 from Koloa. In 1887 he led the protest group that forced King Kalakaua to sign a new Constitution. Later Kalakaua appointed him to be a Justice of the Kingdom's Supreme Court.

In 1893 he honorably resigned his judgeship before the revolution; and then led the Provisional Government afterward. U.S. President Grover Cleveland "ordered" him to undo the revolution and reinstate the Queen. Hawaii President Dole wrote a lengthy and strongly-worded letter of refusal, confirming that Hawaii desired annexation but was not a puppet regime. Dole then helped create the Republic of Hawaii and was its only President through four more years as an independent nation, recognized by all the nations who had previously recognized the Kingdom. His strong leadership allowed the Republic of Hawaii not only to defy President Cleveland but also to crush the attempted counter-revolution which made use of rifles and bombs the U.S. Navy permitted to be smuggled in to Robert Wilcox.

When U.S. President McKinley came into office, President Dole renewed the negotiations for annexation. Dole drove a hard bargain. The U.S. paid off the accumulated national debt of the Kingdom and Republic (paying more than the market value of the ceded lands at that time). Dole also required the U.S. to hold the ceded lands not as U.S. property but as a public trust for the benefit of all the residents of Hawaii. In 1900, he became Hawaii's first Territorial governor. In 1903 he was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court (Honolulu). Following many years of charitable works, he died in 1926.

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