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Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers from Hawaiʻi and the U.S.: Hawaiʻi Statehood

Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers from Hawaii and the U.S.

Topics in Chronicling America - Hawaiʻi Statehood


Newspaper article with the headline, Massachusetts papers howl at idea of Hawaii asking statehood.

June 14, 1900: Congress approved the Hawaii Organic Act. The Territory of Hawaii then developed its governing legislation, and the citizens of Hawaii were now U.S. citizens.

February 11, 1919: Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole presented a Hawaiian statehood bill to Congress. A committee studied the bill.

1921-1959: During this period, statehood for Hawaiʻi would be proposed to the House of Representatives forty-eight more times and face opposition. Opposing representatives from the Southern states were concerned that the representatives from Hawaiʻi would encourage civil rights legislation in Congress. For some of the opposing Democrat representatives, admitting a traditionally Republican state into the union could lessen the chances of the Democrats regaining control of the Senate. Some of the representatives from populous states didn't want Hawaii to lessen their voting leverage. New York Representative Coudert argued that the bill would give Hawaiʻi one Senator for every 35,000 voters, when New York state has one Senator for every 2,500,000 people.

1935: The movement for statehood in Hawaiʻi accelerated, partially due to the possibility of a new tariff for the continental United States on sugar from Hawaiʻi and the possibility of military rule resulting from the community's unrest from the controversial Massie case.

October 6 to 22, 1937: A joint congressional committee with seven senators and twelve representatives went through seventeen days of hearings in Hawaiʻi and determined that Hawaiʻi is eligible for statehood. From the hearings is a recommendation for a statehood plebiscite, or a vote in which people in Hawaiʻi approve or disapprove statehood.

November 5, 1940: The majority of Hawaiʻi voters voted in favor of statehood 46,174 to 22,426 votes in the statehood plebiscite, resulting in the required 2 to 1 vote.

January 7 to 17, 1946: The U.S. House Committee on Territories conducted hearings for Hawaiʻi statehood. On the last day, Territorial Senator Alice Kamokila Campbell delivered a speech against statehood, 53 years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. She said, "I do not feel ... we should forfeit the traditional rights and privileges of the natives of our islands for a mere thimbleful of votes in Congress..."

1946: The United Nations included Hawaiʻi in the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, which also included Alaska, America Sāmoa, Guam, the Philippines, the Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

September 1947: Kamokila Campbell started the Anti-Statehood Clearing House, which went against the Hawaiʻi Statehood Commission efforts. She gathered testimonies against statehood, presented them to Congress, and sent information and arguments against statehood to Congress.

January 7, 1948: President Harry S. Truman encouraged Hawaiʻi statehood in his state of the union address.

January 17, 1948: Fifty-five years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Territorial Senator Alice Kamokila Campbell filed a lawsuit against the Hawaiʻi Statehood Commission in the case Campbell v. Stainback et al. She questioned the territorial government's use of $200,000 in public funds for the local and national campaign for statehood and argued that it was for political, rather than for public, purposes.

March 29, 1949: The case Campbell v. Stainback et al. concludes with Justice E. C. Peters ruling that the Statehood Commission should not be using public money to campaign for statehood.

May 20, 1949: The Territorial Legislature approved the assembling of the Constitutional Convention to develop a state constitution to accelerate the statehood process.

November 7, 1950: Hawaiʻi voters voted in favor of the Hawaii State Constitution with a vote of 82,788 to 27,109 votes.

1952: A combined Hawaii-Alaska Statehood bill went to the Senate floor, despite the objections from the delegates from Hawaiʻi and Alaska.

1953: The House of Representative approved the Hawaii Statehood bill 274 to 138, but the Senate delayed the measure until the next year.

1954: The Senate decided to combine the statehood bills for Hawaiʻi and Alaska together and passed the combined bill 57 to 28.

1957 to 1958: Hawaiʻi Delegate John A. Burns decided to follow the strategy of giving Alaska statehood and delaying statehood for Hawaiʻi. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to give Hawaiʻi statehood, but was uncertain about giving Alaska statehood. However, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Alaska Statehood bill, and Eisenhower signed the bill.

March 11, 1959: The Senate voted in favor of the Hawaii Statehood Bill 75 to 15 votes.

March 12, 1959: The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Hawaii's Statehood Bill 323 to 89 votes.

June 27, 1959: Hawaiʻi voters approved the Statehood bill 132,773 to 7,971 votes.

August 21, 1959: President Eisenhower signed the proclamation that welcomes Hawaiʻi as the fiftieth state.

September 17, 1959: After Hawaiʻi voters approved the statehood bill, the United States sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General, saying that Hawaiʻi is now a State of the Union and that the United States will no longer report about Hawaiʻi to the United Nations. The United Nations removed Hawaiʻi from the list of non-self-governing territories.

November 23, 1993: U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the "Apology Resolution," formally known as United States Public Law 103-150, which apologizes on behalf of the United States for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Suggested Search Terms:

1. [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] hawaii, statehood, kuhio, kalanianaole

2. Put “Hawaii Statehood” in the field “with all of the words”

3. Select Hawaii in the “Select state(s)” field and enter “statehood” as a search term

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

Hawaiian Statehood, The Honolulu Republican (Honolulu, T.H.), July 14, 1900, Image 2, Col. 3

No Statehood for Hawaii, The Honolulu Republican (Honolulu, T.H.), July 14, 1900, Image 2, Col. 3

Delegate Wilcox Much Too Previous, The Honolulu Republican (Honolulu, T.H.), July 17, 1901, Image 1, Col. 7

Ridicules the Idea of Statehood for Hawaii, The Honolulu Republican (Honolulu, T.H.), August 08, 1901, Image 1, Col. 4

Hawaii and Statehood, The Honolulu Republican (Honolulu, T.H.), August 11, 1901, Image 4, Cols. 3-4

Delegate Wilcox Impassionate Address to Hawaiians, The Independent (Honolulu, H.I.), July 10, 1902, Image 1

Hawaii and Statehood, The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), January 01, 1909, Image 4, Col. 1

Must Wait for Our Statehood, The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), July 26, 1910, Image 1, Col. 2

Statehood for Hawaii, The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), August 05, 1910, Image 4, Col. 2

What Other Say of Statehood, The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), September 30, 1910, Image 4, Col. 2

Time to Campaign for Statehood Here, The Hawaiian star., January 11, 1911, SECOND EDITION, Page THREE, Image 3

Hawaii and Statehood, The Hawaiian Gazette (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), March 24, 1911, Image 4, Col. 1

Massachusetts Papers Howl at Idea of Hawaii Asking Statehood, Evening Bulletin (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]), June 17, 1911, Image 15, Col. 1-3

Hawaii Wants Statehood, The Washington Times (Washington [D.C.]), February 12, 1919, FINAL EDITION, Image 2, Col. 6

Drive of Freedom Plan of Our Isles, The Washington Times (Washington [D.C.]), April 06, 1919, NATIONAL EDITION, Image 11