Why Hawaii should be an independent country

I wrote this when I was way more enthused an independent Hawaii, and secessionist movements in various areas of the world. Now I’m more tempered about nationalism as an ideology. I am less enthused, more curious, and sometimes weirded out by nationalist movements and their excesses; to me, they’re not inherently “progressive”. 

Harry Underwood
ENG 191
Argument – rewrite

Why Hawaii should be an independent country

In 2008, the autonomous republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, from which it had been seeking independence since 1999. The declaration was welcomed in other regions both within and without Europe as a sign of hope for other political secessionist movements. There is a number of political secessionist movements within the current expanse of the United States, such as those of Vermont, California and Lakota Country. However, for historical, cultural, social and political reasons, the Hawaiian Islands should and ought to obtain independence from the United States.

Hawai’i was an independent, sovereign entity from 1795-1893, ruled by a series of constitutional monarchs. However, the monarchy was overthrown in January 1893 through the support of American-descended planters and businessmen with the help of U.S. troops stationed on the U.S.S. Boston. The country was then, in 1900, handed over to the United States as a territory where, until the 1960s and 70s, people of partial or full Hawaiian ancestry would be mostly relegated to second-class sociocultural status within their own former home country.

Hawai’i also retains a number of cultural distinctions which would better suit the stature of an independent country. Out of the 50 states, Hawai’i is the only state in which no ethnic group – neither White American, nor Japanese American, nor native Hawaiian American – possesses an outright majority; however, it is also one of the most ethnically and culturally amalgamated regions of the current United States. It is an affront to such American institutions as the “one-drop rule,” considering that the majority of Hawaiians are proud of their extremely-mixed ancestries but consider it lucky if they possess partial Native Hawaiian backgrounds. Finally, those who are of native Hawaiian ancestry – partial or full – are becoming much more politically and socially aware within the last 30 years of the “Hawaiian renaissance,” which also accompanied a growing demand for the secession of the islands from the United States. However, this growing cultural awareness has economically benefitted the other major ethnicities of the state by strengthening the cultural brand that makes Hawai’i unique among tourist destinations.

Also, being an independent country could also influence Hawai’i’s own social mores and policy. The citizens could press for a further expansion of civil rights for the same-sex, transgender and bisexual minorities, which already enjoy a number of rights by the current state government. An independent government for the islands is likely to also employ other socially progressive measures, including free universal healthcare for all citizens, improvement of technological literacy, and environmental stability protection. Such sweeping measures for social empowerment are barely feasible under the current U.S. rule of the islands, as the debate over such measures is ongoing.

Finally, Hawai’i would continue to retain its position (and probably increase its status) as the “Crossroads of the Pacific” in terms of trans-Pacific relations. It currently serves as a point of communication, trade and diplomatic negotiation between the United States and Japan; with independence, Hawai’i could also serve as a completely unbiased entrepot of trade and communication between other powers in the Pacific Ocean, such as Russia, Canada, New Zealand or Chile. In the case of diplomatic tension between any power in the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i is likely to be a neutral state, thus ensuring that no one state can lay a long-lasting, imperialistic claim over the islands without arousing the ire of another state. Hawai’i would also be able to govern itself effectively under such pressure. It would likely install a parliamentary system of government similar to the government under the former monarchy which governed the islands during the 19th century, while inheriting a presidential-republican system from the United States. Furthermore, a draft independence constitution was created in 1995 detailing such a system of governance and is likely to be used in a modified form by an independent government (Hawai’i Independent & Sovereign 1995).

In conclusion, Hawai’i has a lot to gain from becoming an independent nation-state. Historical discrepancies can be rectified, sociocultural institutions could be geared toward further multi-racial recognition, and political institutions would be further reformed for the granting of civil rights to social minorities within the Hawaiian population. Therefore, Hawai’i should join the international community as a sovereign, independent member.


“HAWAI`I CONSTITUTION”. January 16, 1995. Hawai’i Independent & Sovereign. March 10, 2008. <http://www.hawaii-nation.org/constitution.htm&gt;