Monday, January 16, 2006

Morgan Report

Morgan Report. Those interested in Hawaiian history will be pleased to learn that the Morgan Report is now available online.

It is a Senate report issued in 1894 which examined what role the United States played in the Hawaiian Revolution of 1893. It found that the US role in the Hawaiian revolt was minimal.

The Morgan Report refutes the allegations made by James Blount in his Blount Report which was issued in 1893. Blount failed to swear in witnesses or even interview some of the key members of the revolt. Despite these flaws, the Blount Report has been online for years. It is nice to see the Morgan Report available online as well. This will help researchers and historians get a fuller view of the events of 1893 in Hawaii.

The site is set up as a Wiki but visitors can not edit the content. This is probably a good idea as I imagine that this site would get vandalized a lot from some in the Hawaiian separatist community. The site owner (Jere Krischel) will issue accounts to anyone who wants to help out with the project though.

From the site:

The "Morgan report" is today's name for a report to the U.S. Senate by its Committee on Foreign Relations, whose chairman was Senator John T. Morgan, Democrat of Alabama. Senate Report 227 of the 53rd Congress, second session, was dated February 26, 1894.

The Morgan report was printed as part of a large volume containing other government documents: "Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6." In that volume the "Hawaiian Islands" section begins with its own title page being page 360. The actual content of the Morgan report doesn't begin until page 363 of the larger volume 6. The page numbers shown on this webpage are the same as printed in the larger volume 6. Therefore, anyone desiring a page number for the Morgan report as though it is a stand-alone document should subtract 359 from the numbers shown on this webpage.

In what may have been a surprise to Cleveland, the Morgan Report thoroughly repudiated the conclusions of Blount, and with the Morgan Report's conclusion, the matter was legally closed. Cleveland explicitly accepted the conclusions of the Morgan Report, continuing to engage in international relations with the Provisional Government, recognizing the Republic of Hawaii, and even negotiating treaties originally ratified under the Kingdom government with the Republic.

Although sovereignty activists insist that the Provisional Government was a puppet government, installed by the U.S., as per Cleveland's December 18, 1893 letter to Congress, it is critical to note that with the submission of the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894, Cleveland accepted that his original assertions were in error.


Philip H said...

It's ironic (and hypocritical) that the "Morgan Report" site is set up as a wiki yet no one else is allowed to comment on it. The purported favoring of the Morgan Report is a view held mainly by Jere Krischel, who appears to be responsible for the online presence and mentions of this document. Can anyone say Google Bomb? The Blount Report's conclusions may have been contradicted a year later, but they have been upheld in the court of history. It is the Blount Report that receives official recogition by the State of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii:

M said...

"It's ironic (and hypocritical) that the "Morgan Report" site is set up as a wiki yet no one else is allowed to comment on it."

A wiki is a type of web site development tool. Many wikis are protected and only allow a selected community to edit. This is hardly hypocritical. If it is, so then are the dozens of sites out their with the words Hawaiian Nation or Kingdom on them which carry only the Blount Report and do not allow comments from those who realize the flaws inherent in that report.

"Can anyone say Google Bomb?"

The Morgan Report is a public domain government document. Anyone can scan it and put it online. Nor is Jere Krischel the only one linking to it. Checking the backlinks on the site shows many he could not have possibly added including the one on this blog.

"The Blount Report's conclusions may have been contradicted a year later, but they have been upheld in the court of history."

I hardly think all scholars agree with this view. The evidence is not there. If the USA invaded Hawaii in 1893, it is one of the few invasions in history with no battles, fighting, or causalities. US troops took possession of no buildings although local rebels (many of them Hawaiian Kingdom citizens) did. The United States government even condemend the coup and attempted to restore the Queen!

I think the Cleveland Administration used the Blount Report in an attempt to smear the foreign policy of President Harrison. This is why Blount only interviewed certain people and refused to talk to others. The Morgan Report was bipartisan, swore in all witnesses, and found a very different conclusion than did Blount. You may not like the Morgan Report much, but it is not easily dismissed.

"It is the Blount Report that receives official recogition by the State of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii."

The grant that created this page at the University of Hawaii claimed that the Morgan Report would be scanned and put online as well. See While they did not do this, the site does have a link to the Morgan Report site linked to in this post.

As far as the State of Hawaii only recognizing Blount...Do you really believe that any government is an authority on history? Go ask Turkey about the Armenian genocide or the US Congress about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Perhaps Hawaii has political reasons for only acknowleding one report and not another?

I realize the popular and politically correct view of history does not allow for any other than the orthodox view of Hawaiian history. Unfortunately, that view appears in retrospect to be revisionist and ignore a great deal of facts. This view is also being used by a small minority of residents in Hawaiito secede from the USA without a vote of all Hawaiian citizens. (And it is secession not restoration. The international community fully recognizes American rights to Hawaii.)

The Morgan Report adds a great deal to the study of Hawaiian and American history. Even if you disagree with it, it is great that it is up to study. Jere Krischel has provided a real service to historians and the public at large. If you would like to put the Morgan Report up and put your own commentary on it (critical or otherwise) go ahead! If you let me know, I'll even give you a link from this blog.

Thanks for commenting and best wishes.