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Hawaii Organic Act: Congressional debates on Hawaii Organic Act

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I do not believe that there was ever a bill to provide a government for 
a Territory presented to the American Congress more un-
Democratic, un-American, and unprecedented than House bill 2972 in 
its original form.   1 doubt if the distinguished chairman of the Ways 
and Means Committee, without a very painful (Paynefull) effort, could 
produce a bill more "un-Republican, un-American, unwarranted, 
unprecedented, and unconstitutional" than this bill.    [ Applause.]    I 
invite your attention to a few of its most pernicious provisions: The 
governor and the secretary of the Territory were to be appointed by 
the President.    The governor should appoint the judges of the 
supreme court, judges of the circuit courts, and all other officers of 
the Territory except the members of the legislature.   The supreme 
judges were to be appointed for life, or during good behavior. The 
supreme court was to be the judge of the qualifications and elections of 
the members of the legislature.   No one was to be eligible to election as 
a senator, nor could anyone vote for a senator, who did not have 
property to the value of $2,000, or an income of not less than $1,000.   
This meant the continuance of an oligarchical form of government in 
the Hawaiian Islands.   The governor could make and control the 
courts.   The supreme court could make and control the legislature.   
The governor and his favorites would have a corner on the public 
offices.   The commission framed a bill under which it might not have 
been possible for anyone outside of the "Dole family compact" to 
hold a public office in the Territory.   It is reported that every officer 
under the Dole regime is grandfather, or father, or father-in-law, or 
uncle, or brother, or brother-in-law, or son, or son-in-law, or nephew, or 
cousin, of some other public officer.   The persons who have been in 
control of affairs in the Hawaiian Islands of late years are called 
"missionaries" - improperly so.   There is evident need of the 
instrumentality of the genuine missionaries to remove the selfishness 
from the hearts of these people and make them more Christian-like. 
[Applause.] Who ever heard of the judges of any Territory of the 
United States being appointed for life?   The bill framed by the 
commission provided that the present incumbents of the supreme 
court should continue in office until their respective offices became 
vacant, which would be by death or impeachment, and then their 
successors should be appointed for life or during good behavior. It 
may be proper to remark that one of the supreme court justices was a 
member of the Hawaiian commission and a member of the committee 
to consider and report on the judiciary.   He evidently believes that 
"self-preservation is the first law of life." The Committee on 
Territories has amended the bill, with the view of eliminating the 
objectionable features already pointed out. The chief justice and the 
associate justices of the supreme court are to be appointed by the 
President, and for a term of six years, instead of for life or during 
good behavior.   The judges are not to have jurisdiction over 
elections and qualifications of members of the legislature.   The 
property qualification provision has been stricken out.  We believe 
that all these changes are in the interests of a good government and a 
popular government in the Territory of Hawaii. The commission's bill 
provides that the public lands of Hawaii shall be under the control of 
a land commissioner appointed by the governor.   This might afford 
an opportunity for land grabbing and favoritism in the sales, grants, 
and lenses of lands.   After the annexation, the Dole administration 
proceeded to dispose of large tracts of the public lands, and it 
became necessary for the President to put a check to this wrongful 
procedure by an Executive order.  An amendment to the bill very 
properly refers the administration of the sales, grants, and leases of 
the public lands of Hawaii to the Commissioner of Public Lands 
here in Washington.

The labor conditions in Hawaii are disastrous to the best interests of 
the American laborer.   The sugar planters, the rice growers, the mill 
owners, and others have been for years importing the cheap oriental 
labor.   The contract-labor system is in vogue. Since the date of 
annexation it is estimated that the wealthy syndicates have brought to 
the islands from 25,000 to 30,000 Japanese contract laborers, under 
contracts of three to five years.   More than one-half of the 
population of the islands is made up of Chinese and Japanese.   There 
is no opportunity for the American laborer in the Territory of Hawaii.   
He would be brought to starvation in competition with the cheap 
Asiatic laborer.   The American laborer at home must also feel the 
harmful effect of the competition of this oriental labor.   The 
acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands has not enlarged the opportunities 
of the American laborers, but it will make it harder for many of them 
to gain a livelihood. Asiatic laborers are paid $15 per month and 
European laborers $18 per mouth.   What will the American laborer, 
brought into competition with this cheap labor from the East, say of 
the party responsible for this condition of things? The commissioners 
in their report to the President, on page 139, say:
That as a commercial or business proposition the matter of the employment of 
cheap labor, imported from various islands and countries, became the important 
subject of Hawaiian consideration.   The large profits resulting from the 
cultivation and manufacture of sugar where inexpensive Asiatic labor was to be 
obtained produced the legitimate result of aggregating capital in large amounts for 
the purchase or leasing of sugar lands, where this class of labor could be 
employed most profitably. The facilities which existed under the Hawaiian 
monarchy for obtaining grants, concessions, and leases of government lands were 
availed of by speculative favorites and others, and large plantations by wealthy 
planters instead of small holdings by industrious heads of families became the 
rule upon the islands.
Notwithstanding the fact that the President and Congress were 
apprised of the contract-labor system in the islands and the system of 
farming by corporations, for almost two years the Hawaiian Islands 
have been under the American flag and not a thing has been done to 
check the progress of these un-American systems. The number of 
contract laborers has been greatly augmented. During the last year 
more than 25,000 Japanese contract laborers have been imported into 
the island.   Several hundred acres of land have been leased to the 
sugar syndicates. Will some one of our Republican friends explain 
why these things have been permitted to be done?   Why this delay in 
legislating for the Territory of Hawaii?   We had the report of the 
Hawaiian commission sixteen months ago.   If it was ever of any 
value as an index as to what should be done it was as useful in the last 
session of Congress as in this.   It certainly has not improved with 
age. Perhaps there was method in this long delay.   Up to the out-
break of the war with Spain the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands 
was considered hopeless.   It bad failed to be done by treaty 
ratification in the Senate.   The Speaker of the House, and certainly a 
majority of the members, were strongly opposed to the proposition of 
annexation.   But the leaders of the Administration took advantage of 
the situation in war times, when enthusiasm and not judgment 
controlled the action of many, and urged the annexation of the 
islands as a war measure.   A majority of the members yielded to the 
deception.   Now, annexation came rather unexpectedly.   The large 
corporations of the islands were taken by surprise, notwithstanding 
they desired annexation.    They needed time to import many 
thousands of contract laborers before Congress would legislate for the 
islands.   It would seem that the

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