What is annexation?
ames Keauiluna Kaulia was a dedicated Hawaiian loyalist and patriot who served as the president of the archipelago-wide ʻAhahui Aloha ʻĀina. Because of his work, along with the contributions of many other poʻe aloha ʻāina, no treaty of annexation nor any other form of legal merger between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States was executed.

In the handful of years following the US-backed coup of 1893 against Queen Liliʻuokalani, it became apparent that the US was not going to help restore the lawful government of Hawaiʻi. Instead, it had recognized the undemocratic and illegitimate “Republic of Hawaiʻi.” Moves were being made toward annexing Hawaiʻi to the US. Throughout 1897, Hawaiian patriotic leagues organized a mass petition drive against annexation. On Sept 6, 1897, Kaulia opened a gathering of thousands of Hawaiian patriots at the ʻIolani Palace with a stirring speech that opposed the annexation of Hawaiʻi to America.

Later that same year four Hawaiian delegates -- James Kaulia, David Kalauokalani, John Richardson, and William Auld -- arrived in Washington, DC with the 556-page petition in hand. That December day, as they met with Queen Lili'uokalani, who was already in Washington lobbying against annexation, the second session of the 55th Congress opened. Together they planned a strategy to present the petition to the Senate.


The delegation and Liliʻuokalani met Senator George Hoar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and on December 9, with the Hawaiian delegates present, Senator Hoar read the text of the petition to the Senate. It was formally accepted. The next day the delegates met with Secretary of State John Sherman and submitted a formal statement protesting the annexation to him. In the following days, the delegates met with many senators, voicing opposition to the annexation. By the time the delegates left Washington on February 27, 1898, there were only 46 senators willing to vote for annexation. The treaty was defeated in the Senate.

To this day, there is no treaty of annexation between Hawaii and the US. James Keauiluna Kaulia played a pivotal role in assuring there was and is no legal act making the Hawaiian Kingdom a part of the US.

Mai maka‘u, e kūpa‘a ma ke Aloha I ka ’Āina; Do not be afraid! Stand firm in love for this land! - James Keauiluna Kaulia

The Kaulia Speech: An Excerpt

Translation provided by Jacob Bryan Ka‘omakaokalā Aki and Dr. Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘opua

James Keauiluna Kaulia was the president of the archipelago-wide ʻAhahui Aloha ʻĀina. On Sept 6, 1897, he opened a gathering of thousands of Hawaiian patriots at the ʻIolani Palace with this rousing speech opposing the annexation of Hawaiʻi to America. What follows is an excerpt from that speech:

He aupuni kuokoa ko kakou i nai ia e na Kamehameha i moe aku la, a o ka pono kukulu Aupuni kuokoa a lakou i imi ai, oia ka kakou e hauoli ne i keia la, nolaila, he aha na pilikia i ulu ae i ko kakou noho kuokoa ana?

We have an independent government that was formed by the Kamehamehas, who are now at rest. And the right that they sought, to build an independent government, is the reason for our happiness today. Therefore, what are the problems that grow out of our continuing independence?

O ke kuokoa a na makua Alii i imi ai i pono hooilina no ka lahui, oia ke ake ia nei e kanu ola ia, au e olelo ae ai ina e hoohuiia kakou me Amerika, oia ko kakou ae ana aku e kanu ola ia kakou ka lahui i loko o na popilikia he nui e hoʻea mai ana ma hope o ka hoohui ia ana.

The independence that our beloved Aliʻi sought as a rightful inheritance/legacy for the lāhui Hawaiʻi of which I speak, that is what they desire to be buried alive; consenting for our nation to be subsumed within America is like agreeing that we, the nation, be buried alive with the many hardships that would follow annexation.

No laila, mai makau, e kupaa ma ke Aloha i ka Aina, a e lokahi e ka manao, e kue loa aku i ka hoohui ia o Hawaii me Amerika a hiki i ke aloha aina hope loa!

Do not be afraid! Stand firm in love for this land, and unify in this thought: vigorously protest the annexation of Hawaiʻi with America until the very last aloha ʻāina patriot who loves this land.

E hoomau ia ko kakou Kuokoa a i Aupuni Kuokoa ma lalo iho o kona mau Kanawai ponoi, no laila, mai ae kakou e hoohui ia ko kakou Aina me Amerika.

Let our independence continue, as an independent government under its own true laws! Do not agree to let our land be joined with America!

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