Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Ruth Ediger

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Rebecca Hughes


Hawaii, Kingdom of Hawai'i, Hawaiian annexation, sovereignty, American imperialism, US territory


The Kingdom of Hawai’i was annexed by the United States of America in 1898 and was given statehood in 1959. Prior to its annexation, the Kingdom of Hawai’i had a legitimate functioning government with sovereign recognition from many in the international arena, including the United States, as early as 1840. This article analyzes current and past definitions of the state and sovereignty, as well as precedence from international law, to determine if the United States violated the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawai’i before and during the annexation process. A preponderance of evidence, including explanations of the preexisting Hawaiian political structure, has indicated that the United States and the Provisional Government violated the sovereign rights and privileges of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. The case study that the Hawaiian experience presents is one that is applicable to the question of other US territories and possible violations of their sovereignties. Additionally, the imperialistic policies of the United States becomes much more contemptible when examined through Christian moral principles.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program. Special thanks to the University Scholars Director, Dr. Christine Chaney, and my two readers, Dr. Ruth Ediger and Dr. Rebecca Hughes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License