Trouble in Paradise
Hawaii’s Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown on January 17 by a coalition of sugar speculators and missionaries (and some rogue Marines) who had felt compelled to act by the recent course of her government. Some 160 U.S. Marines who had been stationed nearby were recruited for the coup effort, but they joined the action only unofficially. Sanford Dole, who had lived most of his life in the Hawaiian Islands as the child of missionaries, had, before his election to the legislature in 1884, been part of the revolution of 1887 that established a constitutional monarchy. He now assumed temporary powers as head of the provisional government while the movement waited for the United States to proclaim its annexation of Hawaii.
Cooperation was slow in coming. President Cleveland opposed the move, and the revolution’s leaders had to wait for a change of government on the mainland to get what they wanted. When Cleveland requested that the group restore Queen Liliuokalani to power, Dole accused the President of attempting to meddle in Hawaiian politics. After establishing the Republic of Hawaii without U.S. government approval, on July 4, 1894, the group made Dole president until 1900, when the McKinley administration finally annexed Hawaii and named Dole the territory’s first governor.