Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm going to do something a little dangerous here and talk about something I know relatively little about.  But what little I do know, I find interesting.  The Annexation of Hawaii.  Someone let me know in the comments if I'm getting anything wrong.

Years ago, I was in an expat bar in Japan, and I was talking to a group of Brits, and they asked me how Hawaii became part of America.
"We just took it," I said.
"What?" they said in surprise.  "What do you mean you just took it?  You can't just take over countries like that."
"What do you mean?" I said.  "You Brits did that all the time."
"Yeah, like, a long-long-long time ago,"  they responded.  "Nobody does that now."

It was at this point that I began to suspect my high school history might have been oversimplified a little bit.  After all, even back in the age of imperialism, imperial aggressors always had some sort of manufactured excuse for taking over a place.  What was the manufactured excuse for Hawaii?

So I looked it up on Wikipedia.  And I found the whole history was a lot more complicated, and a lot more interesting, than I had previously thought.
It appears that imperialism and republican idealism got a bit mixed up into one.  The American businessmen who overthrew the Hawaiian monarch modeled themselves on the French Revolution, and even formed a Committee of Public Safety--just like the one in the French Revolution.
From their perspective, they weren't imperialists, they were just fighting against monarchy.

I don't really have a larger political point to make here.  I just thought this little historical connection between the annexation of Hawaii and the French Revolution was interesting.  

Why am I talking about all of this now?  The video below was making its way around Facebook, and it made me remember all of this.  And that's all.

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