Sunday, January 15, 2012

When Hawaii became a territory

Or something. My grandmother used to clip crochet and quilt patterns from newspapers and magazines. One yellowed 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" newspaper clipping from The Inter Ocean for a "Pretty Edging" fell out of a child's book today. On the back is a dispatch from Honolulu about the "territorial bill is finally passed with the amendments."
Within a few hours of its passing on April 14 protests broke out. There was a deportation plan and a no liquor sold in saloons provision. To deport all contract laborers who have come here within the last year would mean sending back to Japan 30,000 people and would leave the sugar plantations helpless, for the whites will not do the work. All agree it would ruin the main industry of the islands.
Nothing ever changes when it comes to immigrant labor, does it? But I don't have a year for this, so I looked through a number of sites, most sort of nasty condemnations of "American Imperialism" and finally settled on a small section from Hawaii State History Guide.
Hawaii was a native kingdom throughout most of the 19th century, when the expansion of the vital sugar industry (pineapple came after 1898) meant increasing U.S. business and political involvement. In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and a year later the Republic of Hawaii was established with Sanford B. Dole as president. Then, following its annexation in 1898, Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1900.

In 1900 the islands were made a territory, with Dole as governor. In this period, Hawaii's pineapple industry expanded as pineapples were first grown for canning purposes. In 1937 statehood for Hawaii was proposed and refused by the U.S. Congress the territory's mixed population and distance from the U.S. mainland were among the obstacles.
I still don't know what deporting Japanese contract labor had to do with it. It could have been they feared the Japanese immigrants would then go to the mainland for better wages. But, on the other hand (or other side) the edging was supposed to be nice for children's underwear or aprons.

The Inter Ocean was a Chicago newspaper printed weekly that was very popular, and my great-grandfather, David George, of Ashton, Illinois, subscribed. Grandma Mary, the youngest of his 4 children, had many clippings from this paper in her childhood scrap books.

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