In 2011 a major book was published by a highly respected historian who analyzed the Hawaiian revolution and annexation.

William M. Morgan Ph.D., PACIFIC GIBRALTAR: U.S. – JAPANESE RIVALRY OVER THE ANNEXATION OF HAWAII, 1885-1898 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011). It is available at “Bookends” in Kailua, and Sixteen copies are scattered around various branches of the Hawaii Public Library. A detailed book review, with many lengthy quotes from each chapter, is at

Most Hawaii readers will be surprised by details about Grover Cleveland’s attempt to overthrow President Dole and restore the Hawaiian monarchy through a combination of diplomatic and military intimidation in mid to late 1893; and by the fact that Congress considered it perfectly proper to use joint resolution in 1898 as the method of ratifying Hawaii’s five-year-long eager request for annexation.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the book is the seriousness of Japan’s diplomatic maneuvering — and deployment of multiple warships in Honolulu as a show of force — to block annexation and to demand voting rights for Japanese living in Hawaii. The U.S., Hawaii, and Britain were worried Japan could gain political control of Hawaii through demographic conquest, and/or an imminent Japanese military occupation of Hawaii. The U.S. and Britain counteracted Japan’s multiple warships by their own deployments of warships in Honolulu harbor.

The author, William Michael Morgan (no relation to Senator James T. Morgan of the 1894 Morgan Report), has a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University. According to information about his book at, Dr. Morgan was a Foreign Service officer in the Department of State for more than 30 years, and lived in Japan for 13 years, first as a Marine lieutenant in 1971-72 and then three assignments in the Foreign Service. His State Department domestic jobs included Director of the Japan-Korea desk of the old U.S. Information Agency, Acting Director of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and Director of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During 2007-09, he taught U.S.-Japan relations and National Security and Public Diplomacy at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service while on “detail” from the State Department.

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