Theoretical question...could Hawaii leave the Union?

Yes, I was referring to the laughably bad excuses for the war. Most wars of conquest have flimsy excuses to disguise the fact that they’re wars of conquest.

This reminds me of the old sitcom plot where a couple finds out that they were actually never officially married.

In those cases they would just have to go find the old Justice of the Peace to remarry them. So in the case of Hawaii we’ll just go steal the place again.

That’s rather beyond the scope of this thread, and is somewhat fluid. The point is that a vote on whether to remain in the Union as a territory or remain as a state doesn’t say anything about the then-extant wishes of the Hawaiian people to remain in the Union at all.

Well, those individuals are all dead by now. A better argument could be made that the *living *Hawaiians’ views should hold sway. Independence is a pretty small minority view there these days, AIUI.

That’s a popular view by many, but it was the Queen who was staging the coup. The whites and 100 sailor/Marines from the ship were more of a counter-coup.She was disavowing/dissolving the existing constitution that guaranteed rights (land holding, voting) to all residents of Hawaii. She wished to replace that with only native Hawaiians holding these rights which amounted to seizing the lands and properties of not only whites, but Japanese/Chinese/Filipinos/British/Portuguese who were in Hawaii and significantly outnumbered the “native” Hawaiians.

“Native … anyone”. People who came from somewhere else and got there first.

My favorite counter to the illegal annexation claim is, “Why isn’t Oahu worked up by the coup by Kamehameha. He invaded with not 100 armed men but with around 10,000 men backed and advised by a couple of British military with guns and cannon. In the battle, see Nuuanu battle of, thousands of Oahu warriors, women, and children were killed and the island occupied by force”.

The riposte is, “Kamehameha was a great king.”

Me. “He won and wrote the history books. The dead Oahu natives had no voice.”

Sure. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that we’re doing anything other than making ex post facto excuses for why Hawaii should still be American. Besides which, native Hawaiians make up less than 10% of the population today, while they were well over 60% at the time of the statehood plebiscite. It looks like 6-7% of the population are in favor of independence, which is about what you’d expect.

A constitution written by the Americans and forced on her predecessor to take away most of his authority 5 years before. Timeless it may have been but the Bayonet Constitution ( from it’s use of the same arguments as the 18 Brumaire ) was purposed not only to take away Hawaiian power, but to ensure the full voting rights of the oppressed white Sugar Plantation owners — and hardly anyone else.

Wait…why would Obama’s presidency be invalid? :confused: Even if we assume the annexation was illegal I’m not seeing why that would suddenly make all of the people born on the island not American citizens. I would assume at the minimum they would be like Puerto Rican or other US territories. I guess it could be a mess, but I was actually thinking of this in terms of allowing Hawaii to leave the Union (which presumes they were in it until this time), not that it would somehow make history invalid.

Not that I think the people of Hawaii at this stage would want to leave, for the most part…this was just an intellectual exercise which I figured I’d bounce off the board. It has been interesting, to me at least.

I still don’t see what’s illegal about the annexation. Was it a blatant might-makes-right land grab? Sure. But that’s never been illegal under international law, nor under the laws of any nation, and in fact all of the US’s land comes (directly or indirectly) from such grabs.

Was it a slightly different sort of blatant might-makes-right land grab from the usual? OK, maybe, but why does that matter?

You need to either say that it was a war that we won, or that it was peaceful, and either way, it’s legitimate.

Well, that’s part of what I was asking. I thought to annex a territory you needed to have a majority of the people living there agree, but this annexation was less than 5% initially and setting aside a sovereign to do it. I don’t know if that was kosher even in the 19th century. If it was something that happened all the time then there would be precedence, so I would assume that would settle this right there.

I’m not willing to call the will of the great majority of the living an “excuse”. Yes, history happened, but we have to live in the present. Most historical abuses of power cannot be rectified, and *should *not be. The further they recede into the past, the less relevant legalisms are, and by now they Just Don’t Matter.

If the SC ruled that the annexation of Hawaii was illegal, then the island wasn’t a US territory to begin with because the SC ruled that the process that turned it from an independent republic to a US territory wasn’t valid. If Hawaii was never a US territory, then no one in Hawaii could claim US citizenship on the basis of Hawaii being a US territory because it wasn’t ever one.

If the SC issued some dicta saying that they didn’t like the annexation but weren’t invalidating it, then it would have no legal effect, and the annexation would still be legal. In no case does a special ‘this state can now vote itself out of the union’ process get created out of whole cloth for Hawaii.

Under US law, you just need to have congress approve the annexation and the president sign it. Under international law, you need to have other countries recognize your annexation. The ‘you must have a majority of people living there agree’ is just not part of US law or international law.

I agree, I’m not sure where people are getting the idea that there is a law like this.

The “have a majority of people living there agree” part comes under “having other countries recognize your annexation.” That’s why - for example - Kuwait isn’t a province of Iraq.

Probably by misinterpreting this 1993 bill, US Public Law 103-150. It’s an apology to the natives, not a retraction of anything.

And why Palestine effectively *is *a province of Israel.

Wait – you assert that the plebiscite is basically worthless under international law, then you say that the worthiness of plebiscites is beyond the scope of the thread?

Meanwhile, the United Nations in 1946 designated Hawaii to be a “non-self governing territory,” which was deserving of a path to a permanent political status in some manner. When Hawaii became a state, the U.N. removed Hawaii from consideration as a non-self governing territory, recognizing that Hawaii now had a political character as integral to the United States itself. It seems pretty obvious to me that any claims that Hawaii’s political identity is in any way unresolved lacks any basis in international law, considering the U.N.'s specific actions with respect to Hawaii’s status.

I don’t think this is how it works. De facto and de jure, Hawai’i has been part of the USA regardless of how illegal its annexation was. Undoing that would entail a transition, not just a sudden retroactive claim of independence. Pretending that it wasn’t even part of the USA illegally would be nonsensical.

I think the real core question with this, would be whether or not the Supreme Court has the power/jurisdiction to make such a declaration.

I don’t believe that it does.