“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why is Hawaii a state?

Native Hawaiians debate best path to sovereignty

Associated Press 

WAIMANALO, Hawaii (AP) — Pookela Rodenhurst lives as if he's back in the Hawaiian Kingdom. He hunts for sea turtles, watching for the game warden behind his back. He forages for herbs in the Koolau Mountains. He drives without a license because he won't agree to abide by state laws.
Rodenhurst and other Hawaiian nationalists who long for a return to the days when the islands were ruled by royal families are increasingly dominating the debate about the future of the islands' indigenous people. And their insistence on someday restoring the kingdom threatens to overshadow a federal proposal that could, after years of lobbying by advocates, offer Native Hawaiians some of the same privileges that have long been available to other native groups.
Many years before Hawaii became a tourist destination, the Hawaiian Kingdom ruled over the islands and held treaties with dozens of countries. It was overthrown by a group of American businessmen 122 years ago, on Jan. 17, 1893, and annexed five years later.
Now, the U.S. government is considering extending to Native Hawaiians the same type of tribal recognition that many American Indian tribes have had for generations, potentially giving special status to more than 200 programs and securing lots of federal money, including nearly $14 million for health care, $32 million for education and $10 million for housing. The issue has reawakened distrust between moderates who generally support the idea and absolutists who want to see the kingdom rebuilt, even if it means chasing an all-but-unattainable goal — dissolving the state of Hawaii.
Rodenhurst insists the American government is "belligerently occupying Hawaii."
"They have no business to come out here and try to engage us and treat us like Indians," he said.
Resentment over the annexation is nothing new among Native Hawaiians, but it resurfaced in June, when the U.S. Department of Interior began considering extending tribal status, which moderates believe is a far more realistic goal than somehow reversing Hawaiian statehood.
"People will criticize that federal recognition is not the end-all, be-all for Hawaii's population, but it is what I believe is achievable in my lifetime," said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.


  1. Because most residents of the United States do not understand the basic constructs of geography and cartography?

  2. Empire—American as Apple Pie

    Compare George W. Bush’s claim, “We do not seek an empire,” Colin Powell’s affirmation, “We have never been imperialists,” and Donald Rumsfeld’s clincher, “We don’t do empire,” with the Founding Fathers’ forthrightness in declaring their imperial aspirations. George Washington called the nascent nation “a rising empire.” John Adams said it was “destined” to overspread all North America. And Thomas Jefferson viewed it as “the nest from which all America, North and South, is to be peopled.”

    Nor were the Founding Fathers coy about disclosing their priorities for territorial expansion. They proclaimed their intent to extend the new nation westward to the Mississippi River and beyond. They vowed to shake the Floridas loose from Spain’s feeble grasp. They agreed that Canada must be seized and annexed. As early as 1761, Benjamin Franklin targeted Cuba and Mexico for aggression, and he later joined Samuel Adams in agitating for grabbing the entire West Indies. Jefferson went so far as to assert that the United States had the right to prohibit other countries from cruising in Gulf Stream waters in both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean on the spurious grounds that this warm-water current was really just an extension of the Mississippi River.

    The Founding Fathers fit their actions to their aspirations. George Washington was instrumental in precipitating the French and Indian War in the name of King George II and on behalf of land-speculating gentry in Virginia. The gentry, Washington among them, had ambitions to sell land and form settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains. But Native Americans and their French allies already occupied the land. After the French spurned a demand that they withdraw from the Upper Ohio Valley, the twenty-two-year-old Washington led a detachment of 160 Virginia colonial militiamen into the disputed territory. Although no state of war existed, Washington’s men fell at night upon an encampment of thirty-one Frenchmen, who the French said were on a diplomatic mission, and killed ten of them, including their leader. This act of aggression triggered what American school books call the French and Indian War, but many historians refer to as the Seven Years War (1754–1761) and others as the Great War for the Empire, reflecting the fact that the conflict in North America was only part of an all-out war for world domination between Britain and France and their respective allies that was waged on three oceans and three continents.

  3. The American Empire and Its Prospects
    by J. R. Nyquist

    Financial historian Niall Ferguson thinks American imperialism is a good thing. If America does not take up the banner of liberal empire, says Ferguson, the developing world will not develop, vast regions of the earth will remain backward and the march of progress may grind to a halt. Ferguson's latest book, Colossus: The Price of America's Empire, argues that Americans have wrongly come to believe that "empire" is a dirty word.
    "The irony is that there were no more self-confident imperialists than the Founding Fathers themselves," writes Ferguson.

    George Washington once referred to the United States as a "nascent empire" and an "infant empire." Thomas Jefferson once told Madison that no constitution was"ever before as well calculated as ours for extending extensive empire and self government."

    Alexander Hamilton also referred to the United States as "the most interesting – empire – in the world."

  4. “The American continents are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by European powers,”
    Monroe declared.

    By the time President James Polk delivered his inaugural address in 1845, Manifest Destiny – America’s philosophy of empire – was in full bloom.
    “Foreign powers should … look on the annexation of Texas to the United States not as the conquest of a nation seeking to extend her dominions by arms and violence,” Polk explained, “but as the peaceful acquisition of a territory once her own.”
    He threatened war with Great Britain over the Oregon territory, and went to war with Mexico over Texas and the Southwest. U.S. territory grew by more than a million square miles during Polk’s four years in office. By the end of the 19th century, the United States was a “de facto imperial power in much of the Western Hemisphere,” Harvard’s Stephen Rosen has noted, poised to expand its empire.

    Capitalizing on U.S. victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War, President William McKinley grew the American empire south into Cuba and Puerto Rico, and west into the Pacific, from the Hawaiian Islands all the way to the Philippines and Guam.
    He was hailed “chief of our nation and our empire.”

    His successor, Theodore Roosevelt, was an unapologetic empire-builder. Ferguson notes that Roosevelt once lamented the “lack of imperial instinct that our people show.” Perhaps their reticence was understandable. A bloody guerrilla insurgency in the Philippines claimed 220,000 Filipinos and 4,000 Americans, devouring hundreds of millions in treasure. Yet Roosevelt called upon America and other leading powers to play the role of regional policemen. Toward that end, he used U.S. warships to flex American muscle in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Pacific, fulfilling Jay’s vision of a time when America’s fleets would engage the world’s attention.

    - See more at:

  5. ... evidence of America’s reach is found in the spread of, and demand for, U.S. consumer culture – what Middle East expert Fouad Ajami calls “America’s hipness.”
    Nations that once wanted to be part of America’s informal empire for security reasons, now want in for economic and cultural reasons. Ferguson notes that half of the 30,000 McDonald’s restaurants, salt-and-peppered across the world, are located somewhere other than the United States. Likewise, 70 percent of Coke’s thirsty drinkers reside outside North America. Wal-Mart has 2,700 stores outside the States. Starbucks has stores in 37 countries.

    In other words, globalization actually could be the Americanization of the world, which is just another indication that the United States has arrived exactly where Adam Smith predicted it was headed in 1776.

    Alan W. Dowd is a contributing editor for The American Legion Magazine.
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