Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Lili’uokalani

Book 7

I want you all to know that I wrote Her Majesty’s name without looking; and spelled it correctly. 

I found this at a charming bookstore in Kona next to the place where I had a really great burger.  Don’t remember the names, but they were right off the Queen’s Highway.

The title is a misnomer.  This isn’t a history of the country so much as a personal memoir of the end of Hawaii’s monarchy – she was forced to abdicate in 1894.  It is a fine memoir in that the lady tells a compelling story, but it isn’t a real history.  In fact, Lili’uokalani says herself that she cannot even reference her personal documents to write this book because they were confiscated by the provisional government when she was arrested and forced to abdicate.

Because I haven’t read any hard history of Hawaii, and in my day, U.S. history barely made it out of the 19th century, I haven’t a clue as to the relative truth of the Queen’s point of view.  But apparently she wrote this piece as an appeal to the Good People of the United States to drop the idea of annexing Hawaii. 

What I found fascinating is that the Queen seemed to think this type of conquest behavior wasn’t what America was all about:

“Is the American Republic of States to degenerate, and become a colonizer and a land-grabber?”

Ummmm….I was all ready to say, “Know thy enemy, Lady.”  When I thought that perhaps she did know it, and these lines were disingenuous fawning and flattery.  If that was true, more power to her.

Except that she lost that war.

My Midwestern Gen-X perspective is that at least since Pearl Harbor, Hawaii has been positively embraced as the tropical paradise of the United States.  But recall that it has only been a state for 60 years or so.  There must be people here that have parents and grandparents that did not wish to become part of the Union.  It made me think of a couple of girls from Puerto Rico that lived on my floor at AU.  The last thing they wanted was Puerto Rican statehood.

Sometimes, I think we are a vain, presumptuous, conquering people.

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