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Page 138 of two-column document containing many different signatures.

Petition against the Annexation of Hawaiʻi

In 1897, recently inaugurated President William McKinley submitted a treaty for Hawaiian annexa- tion to the U.S. Senate. Those loyal to Queen Lili‘uokalani did not stand idle. In response, three organizations called for collective action to protest the overthrow. For instance, the Hui Hawaiʻi Aloha ‘Āina, led by lawyer and former minister of foreign affairs Joseph Nāwahı̄, organized petition drives. In December 1897, delegates of the organization brought a 556-page petition with 21,269 signatures to Washington, D.C., where Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts read it on the Senate floor. By Feb- ruary of 1898, the treaty still lacked the required majority and was successfully blocked. 

Hawaiian scholar Noenoe K. Silva uncovered these documents in the National Archives in the 1990s. The petitions continue to play a key role today, par- ticularly in appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court as well as the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

Hawaiian Patriotic League
Ink on paper
35.6 x 21.4 cm (14 x 8 7/16 in.)
National Archives and Records Administration, Center for Legislative Archives, Washington, D.C.
Audio file
Audio commentary by Noenoe K. Silva, Professor, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa