Hawaiian Statehood – How Hawaii Became Part of the United States

Categorized as Oahu Vacation Information

When I travel around the Hawaiian Islands or when I am just enjoying the scenery from the lanai of my Oahu Vacation Rental, I often appreciate the fact that even though I am in a tropical paradise I am still in the United States. This got me thinking about how Hawaii came to be a state and how lucky we all are that Hawaii became a part of the United States.

The Hawaiian Statehood movement began to grow after World War II ended in 1945. This was a time when economic, social, and political life in Hawai’i was being dominated by Republican (Caucasian) corporate interests led by major sugar and trading firms such as the powerful “Big Five”: American Factors, Theo H. Davies; C. Brewer & Co.; Alexander & Baldwin; and finally Castle & Cooke.

A constitutional convention convened on April 4, 1950. The purpose of this convention was to create a state constitution to present to the United States Congress, and a draft document was created in October of 1950 which was approved by Hawaii’s Legislature. The measure was put the voters in a general election in November of 1950, and then ratified by a 3-1 margin.

Proponents of statehood gathered about 150,000 signatures on a petition in 1954. This petition was about 3 miles long and was written on a roll of blank newsprint. At this time Hawaii’s delegates to Congress were pushing for Statehood.

Alaska became a state in 1958 and this helped to remove major political obstacles to Hawaiian Statehood. On March 11, 1959 the US Senate passed a measure, and this was soon followed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 12. US President Dwight Eisenhower then signed the Act into law on March 18, 1959. The measure needed a plebiscite of Hawaiian residents to pass, and this happened on June 27, 1959. Hawaii’s residents voted in favor of statehood passing the plebiscite by a vote of 17 to 1, and only Niihau opposed it.

President Eisenhower signed the Statehood Proclamation on August 21, 1959, and this meant that Hawaii was officially admitted as the 50th of the United States. The population of the Islands at this time was more than 600,000 people, and visitors numbered more than 240,000. On July 4, 1960, a 50th star was added to the US flag, and then Hawaii’s state flag was formally accepted.

Now 50 years have gone by and we are very much enjoying the benefits of Hawaiian Statehood on this beautiful archipelago in the middle of the vast azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. We can visit any of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands and be confident that we are offered all of the protections of the United States Constitution.

I am lounging right now in my beautiful Oahu Condo and feel like I am in a remote tropical paradise without a care in the world because I am assured by the fact that I am in the United States.