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 Kuhio Kalanianaole presented a Hawaiian statehood bill to Congress. A committee studied the bill.image_681x432_from_245,352_to_1489,1142

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

1935: The movement for statehood in Hawaii accelerated due to two factors: a possible new tariff for the continental United States on sugar from Hawaii and a possible military rule to control the community’s unrest from the controversial Massie case.

October 6 to 22, 1937: For seventeen days, a joint congressional committee with seven senators and twelve representatives listened to hearing testimonies in Hawaii and determined that Hawaii is eligible for statehood. From the hearings is a recommendation for a statehood plebiscite, or a vote in which people in Hawaii approve or disapprove statehood.

November 5, 1940: The majority of Hawaii 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 Hawaii statehood. On the last day, Territorial Senator Alice Kamokila Campbell spoke against statehood fifty-three years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. In her speech, 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 added Hawaii onto the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, which also included Alaska, America Samoa, 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 fought the Hawaii Statehood Commission efforts. She gathered testimonies against statehood, presented them to Congress, and sent information and arguments to Congress.

January 7, 1948: President Harry S. Truman promoted Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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. Moreover, she argued that it was for political, rather than for public, purposes.

March 29, 1949: For the case Campbell v. Stainback et al., Justice E. C. Peters ruled that the Statehood Commission should not fund the campaign for statehood by using public money.

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

November 7, 1950: Hawaii voters favored the Hawaii State Constitution: 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii and Alaska together and passed the combined bill 57 to 28.

1957 to 1958: Hawaii Delegate John A. Burns decided to follow the strategy of giving Alaska statehood and delaying statehood for Hawaii. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to give Hawaii 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: Hawaii voters approved the Statehood bill 132,773 to 7,971 votes.

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

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

November 23, 1993: U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the “Apology Resolution,” or the United States Public Law 103-150. It apologized 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 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 6, 1919, NATIONAL EDITION, Image 11


2 Comments on “Statehood”

  1. […] in history — September 11, 1897 — Native Hawaiians initiated a petition drive against the U.S. annexation of Hawaii. Through October 2, 1897, 21,269 native Hawaiians, or the majority of the 39,000 on the census, […]

  2. […] Read about Hawaii becoming the fiftieth state: “Statehood.” […]

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