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President William McKinley’s nomination of Sanford B. Dole to be Governor of the Territory of Hawaii, May 4, 1900

Under the Hawaiian Organic Act of 1900, which created the government of the Territory of Hawaii, Hawaiians did not elect their governor. Instead, the U.S. President appointed governors and the Senate confirmed them. On May 4, 1900, President William McKinley nominated Sanford B. Dole as the first governor of the Territory of Hawaii.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

President William McKinley’s nomination of Sanford B. Dole to be Governor of the Territory of Hawaii, May 4, 1900

Territorial Hawaii

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.