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Lost_World's avatar

How does the US justify colonizing Hawaii?

Asked by Lost_World (1231points) March 10th, 2011

Historically the US has disapproved of colonialism, and during the 1960s put pressure on many European countries like France and the UK to free there colonies in Africa. Other than just not calling it a colony how does the US justify colonizing Hawaii?

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11 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Hawaii is not a colony; it is a state. it is part of the United States.

WasCy's avatar

The United States is not a perfect government, and never has been or will be—or could be. But considering how the United States “could have” become a world-wide empire and did not, its restraint could be admired.

After all, we did not colonize the Philippines or Cuba after the Spanish-American War. (It might be fair to say that we just gave up the attempt in the Philippines after the bloody insurgency we faced there.) We’ve never made inroads into Africa that the major European powers did, and (despite some ill-considered talk from time to time) never made serious attempts to take over Canada or Mexico, both of whom have shared our “world’s longest undefended borders”, at least until recently.

Perhaps most importantly, even after being on the winning side in two brutal wars that ravaged Europe in the past century, we never did more than station more or less token – and defensive – military forces there, and have otherwise striven to assure those countries’ independence.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well you’ll always have Peurto Rico.

ucme's avatar

I can think of 5–0 reasons, right off the top of my head.

Lost_World's avatar

@WasCy We can never know what could have happend. However in my opinion the US did not become a world-wide empire is because it was not able to. It was a colony for the age of exploration, and did not gain true power until the late 19th and early 20th century. By this time most of the world was taken and the need/want for empire was gone.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The US colonized quite a few places in the past besides Hawaii: Cuba, Philippines, and some of the smaller islands in the Caribbean. Even parts of the Western US were forcably taken from Mexico.

What makes Hawaii unique is that it was an independent country with a constitutional government that was overthrown by US settlers. Those settlers formed a republic and then petitioned the US for annexation which came in 1893. The US essentially disregarded the wishes of the native population and took the islands for itself.

Those natives lost their home, and they are still not recognized as an indigenous population like Native Americans are.

YoBob's avatar

I think a better question is how does the United States justify allow Puerto Rico to continue being a territory rather than telling them to either join the union or go totally independent.

WasCy's avatar


This is always left up to a vote of Puerto Ricans themselves. They seem to favor the unique status that territoriality gives them. I wouldn’t mind seeing them become independent, and I’m not in favor of statehood. On the other hand, they’ve been a territory for so long that it probably wouldn’t be fair to them, either, to just cut them loose and say, “Now you’re independent. Ain’t it grand?” It might not be.

Mamradpivo's avatar

There were brown-skinned people living on top of resources we wanted and a strategic location to house a navy and merchant marine fleet halfway to Asia. What more justification did we need?


YoBob's avatar

@WasCy I’m not surprised. Given the choice between keeping things the way they are and enjoying all of the benefits of being a state without having to pay federal income tax or officially joining the union I would certainly vote for keeping their current cushy status.

IMHO, it’s time to tell Puerto Rico the honeymoon is over.

JLeslie's avatar

@hawaii_jake I never realized the natives lost their homes and cannot get similar benefits to native americans. Seems like they should get those benefits.

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