Petition against annexation, Women's Hawaiian Patriotic League of the Hawaiian Islands, September 11, 1897
In 1897, President William McKinley signed a treaty to annex Hawaii and submitted it to the Senate for ratification. Many Native Hawaiians opposed annexation—they swiftly gathered 21,269 signatures of men, women, and children on petitions for delegates to present in Washington, D.C. The Senate rejected the treaty, but five months later Congress annexed Hawaii through a joint resolution.
We…native Hawaiian women…earnestly protest against the annexation of the…Hawaiian Islands to the…United States of America in any form or shape.
Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
In 1893, a group of American businessmen in Hawaii overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani and her government. Instituting a provisional government, the rebels immediately sought U.S. annexation. Petitions by Native Hawaiians persuaded the Senate to reject an annexation treaty in early 1898. After the United States seized the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, Congress annexed Hawaii in July 1898, granted it territorial status in 1900, and made it the 50th state in 1959.