At 3:00 pm, On January 17, 1893, the
U.S.S. Boston landed US Marines on Hawaiian soil in a flagrant act of war.
The legitimate ruler of Hawaii, Queen Lili'uokalani protested the action in these
I... do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and
the Constitutional Government of and for this Kingdom... Now to avoid any
collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do, under this protest,
and impelled by said force, yield my authority until such time as the Government
of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the actions
of its representatives and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the
Constitutional Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.
Instead of the facts getting a fair hearing and having the rightful Government of Hawaii
restored, Queen Lili'uokalani was arrested by US forces and charged with treason.
Hawaii became one of the "United" States.
Queen Lili'uokalani later wrote:
It had not entered our hearts to believe that these friends and allies from the
United States... would ever... seize our nation by the throat, and pass it over
to an alien power. Perhaps there is a kind of right... known as the "Right
of Conquest" under which robbers and marauders may establish themselves in
possession of whatsoever they are strong enough to ravish from their fellows.
If we have nourished in our bosom those who have sought our ruin, it has been because
they were of the people whom we believed to be our dearest friends and allies.
If we did not by force resist their final outrage, it was because we could not
do so without striking at the military force of the United States... The people
of the Islands have no voice in determining their future, but are virtually
relegated to the condition of the aborigines of the American Continent.
An alien element composed of men of energy and determination control all the
resources of Honolulu and will employ them tirelessly to secure their ends.
Even President Grover Cleveland was sickened by the theft of the Kingdom of Hawaii:
Hawaii is ours. As I look back upon the first steps in this miserable business,
and as I contemplate the means used to complete the outrage, I am ashamed of the
Grover Cleveland, Speech to Join Session of US Congress, December 18, 1893
In 1896, as a side-note to an unrelated ruling, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United
States revealed his bigotry against Chinese immigrants:
"There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race."
Justice John Marshall Harlan (1896: Plessy v. Ferguson)
In 1898 the US sent the battleship Maine into the Havana, Cuba harbor. Since
the US was not at war with Cuba, it's not clear what this battleship was doing there.
Then the ship blew up and sank in the harbor. A Spanish investigation identified the
cause of the explosion as an internal flaw. The US investigators never reached a
conclusion as to the cause. But the US newspapers did. Without evidence, they
created the story that the Spanish had blown up the Maine. In an effort to increase
his newspapers' circulation, William Randolph Hearst fabricated pictures showing
Spanish saboteurs fastening an underwater mine to the Maine and then detonating
it from shore. When artist Fredrick Remington was sent by Hearst to cover the war,
Remington soon wrote back: "There is no war. Request to be recalled.".
Hearst cabled him back with the words: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."
True to his word, Hearst stirred up national sentiment in favor of a war with Spain!
Soon the battle cry was heard throughout the US: "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!"
And so, war was declared against Spain.
Theodore Roosevelt fought in the war, and later gained the Presidency because of it.
The US also gained Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines from Spain as a result
of the war.
A three-year war then ensued between the US and the people of the Philippines who wanted
their independence. The US lost 4,300 of its own soldiers in this war, and killed
57,000 Filipinos who were fighting for their freedom.
The acquisition of a Pacific Empire led to interest in building a canal from the
Caribbean to the Pacific. There was one slight problem: the land was owned by another country:
So, President "Teddy" Roosevelt stirred up Panamanian nationalists to
provoke an uprising, and they soon proclaimed independence from Columbia.
When Columbian ships came to quell the revolt, they were blocked by US
"I took Panama," Roosevelt later boasted. Exclusive rights to the canal
were sold to the US by the country they had newly created, and building began in 1904.
The principles of the Monroe Doctrine seem to have been overlooked in this instance.