Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1900s – Young Brothers formed, Moana Hotel opens, Dole organizes Hawaiian Pineapple Company and UH starts. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
“Hawai‘i is America in a microcosm – a melting pot of many racial and national origins, from which has been produced a common nationality, a common patriotism, a common faith in freedom and in the institutions of America.” There was a 93.6% voter turnout for the General election for statehood – as compared to generally less than 50% in recent times – total turnout for the 2016 primary election was only 34.8% (a new low.)) In 1959, over 94% voted for statehood.
While Hawaiʻi was the 50th State to be admitted into the union on August 21, 1959, Statehood is celebrated annually on the third Friday in August to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 admission of Hawaiʻi into the Union. Contrary to comments by some, the Crown and Government lands were not ‘stolen’ from the people with Territorial status, Statehood or any other change in governance. Those lands have consistently been recognized as part of the public domain or government property (as decided by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.)
With the Great Māhele, Kamehameha III divided the lands and reserved for himself lands for his personal use (“Crown” lands) and the larger portion he gave ‘to the Chiefs and people’ (“Government” lands.) Queen Emma and Lili‘uokalani made claim to the Crown Lands as private property (Emma for her dower rights and Lili‘uokalani as her personal property.) The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled, “These lands are … for the good of the Hawaiian Government, and to promote the dignity of the Hawaiian Crown.”
An 1865 law noted the Crown Lands “shall be henceforth inalienable, and shall descend to the heirs and successors of the Hawaiian Crown forever”. The US Court of Claims noted, “it is very unusual, even in cases of conquest, for the conqueror to do more than to displace the sovereign and assume dominion over the country.” We now generally refer to the Crown and Government Lands as ‘ceded’ lands. Under the Admission Act, about 1.2-million acres are to “be held by (the) State as a public trust” – they remain in the ‘public domain’ for the public good.
“(T)he executive power of the government of the Territory of Hawaii shall be vested in a governor, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and shall hold office for four years and until his successor shall be appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed by the President.”
The Territory of Hawaiʻi was organized on June 14, 1900, remaining a territory for 59 years. Twelve people served as territorial governor, appointed by the President of the US.