History Timeline 1870s

Photo above: President U.S. Grant. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Valley of the Yellowstone, 1871, by William Henry Jackson, Hayden Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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U.S. Timeline - The 1870s

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  • Timeline

  • 1875 - Detail

    March 18, 1875 - Trade treaty approved by U.S. Senate with the island Kingdom of Hawaii granting the United States exclusive trading rights.


    Hawaii Reciprocity Commission


    The Kingdom of Hawaii was going through a transitive year. A new king had been elected by the legislature, thirty-nine to six, David Kalakaua, on February 12, 1874, which had not pleased Queen Emma, widow since 1863 of Kamehameha IV, or her supporters, who rioted. That riot needed British and American Marines to stop. Once peace had been restored, King Kalakaua visited Washington, D.C. in 1874, the first monarch from Hawaii to do so, and discussed establishing a trade agreement between the two nations. There was already significant trade between the island country and mainland United States; $1.3 million worth of goods sent to Hawaii from the U.S.A., $1.8 million sent back.

    Agreements on trade between the two nations had been codified since December 23, 1826 in the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation Between the United States and the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), 1826, which allowed ships to ports of entry for trade purposes, as well as friendship. It did not address sovereignty, although many saw the treaty as a de facto indirect recognition of their independence. This treaty was the first for the Kingdom with any foreign power. It was never ratified by the U.S. Congress, although the articles were adhered to. Another trade agreement in 1849, the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation and Extradition, 1849, granted U.S. citizens the right to reside in Hawaii and eliminated duties. In 1853, diplomatic relations were established with an American legation headed by David L. Gregg.



    How the Treaty of Reciprocity Came About


    Sugar cane plantation owners had been wanting a trade treaty with the United States for decades; Hawaiian leaders were wary that any solid agreement could lead to annexation. Businessmen in both nations were more willing, even to the extent of ceding land at Pearl Harbor for use by the United States. That did not occur during its initial seven years, once approved in 1875, but would lead in outgoing years to its creation.

    Once David Kalakaua was inaugurated as King, he vowed to follow the Hawaii Constitution and toured the islands for three months. A trip to the United States was also planned, culminating in the first White House state dinner with President Grant on December 12, 1874. The Treaty of Reciprocity 1875 was signed on January 30, 1875, with a term of seven years. It was ratified by the United States Senate on March 18, 1875, the Kingdom of Hawaii on April 17, and signed by President Grant on May 31, 1875. The treaty did not include ceding the lands for Pearl Harbor. The main articles provided for duty-free import of Hawaiian agriculture into the United States and U.S. agricultural and manufactured goods back into Hawaii duty-free. It would go into force on September 9, 1876.

    Did the Treaty have the desired effect on trade between the two nations? Yes. In 1874, exports from Hawaii to the United States were $1.8 million dollars. In 1890, at the end of the extension, they were $13.3 million dollars? But what about sovereignty? There are many historians who believe that the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875, and particularly the covenants of its extension, significantly led to the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States as a territory in 1898, thus eliminating its sovereignty.


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    Treaty of Reciprocity, 1875


    Convention

    The United States of America and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, equally animated by the desire to strengthen and perpetuate the friendly relations which have heretofore uniformly existed between them, and to consolidate their commercial intercourse, have resolved to enter into a Convention for Commercial Reciprocity. For this purpose, the President of the United States has conferred full powers on Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State, and his Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands has conferred like powers on Honorable Elisha H. Allen, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Chancellor of the Kingdom, Member of the Privy Council of State, His Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, and Honorable Henry A.P. Carter, Member of the Privy Council of State, His Majesty's Special Commissioner to the United States of America.

    And the said Plenipotentiaries, after having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in due form, have agreed to the following articles:

    ARTICLE I - For and in consideration of the rights and privileges granted by His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands in the next succeeding article of this convention, and as an equivalent therefor, the United States of America hereby agree to admit all the articles named in the following schedule, the same being the growth and manufacture or produce of the Hawaiian Islands, into all the ports of the United States free of duty.

    SCHEDULE - Arrow-root; castor oil; bananas, nuts, vegetables, dried and undried, preserved and unpreserved; hides and skins undressed; rice; pulu; seeds, plants, shrubs or trees; muscovado, brown, and all other unrefined sugar meaning hereby the grades of sugar heretofore commonly imported from the Hawaiian Islands and now known in the markets of San Francisco and Portland as "Sandwich Island sugar;" syrups of sugar-cane, melado, and molasses; tallow.

    ARTICLE II - For and in consideration of the rights and privileges granted by the United States of America in the preceeding article of this convention, and as an equivalent therefor, His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands hereby agrees to admit all the articles named in the following schedule, the same being the growth, manufacture, or produce of the United States of America, into all the ports of the Hawaiian Islands free of duty.

    SCHEDULE - Agricultural implements; animals, beef, bacon, pork, ham and all fresh, smoked or preserved meats; boots and shoes; grain; flour; meal and bran, bread and breadstuffs, of all kinds; bricks, lime and cement; butter, cheese, lard, tallow, bullion, coal; cordage, naval stores including tar, pitch, resin, turpentine raw and rectified; copper and composition sheathing; nails and bolts; cotton and manufactures of cotton bleached, and unbleached, and whether or not colored, stained, painted or printed; eggs; fish and oysters, and all other creatures living in the water, and the products thereof; fruits, nuts, and vegetables, green, dried or undried, preserved or unpreserved; hardware; hides, furs, skins and pelts, dressed or undressed; hoop iron, and rivets, nails, spikes and bolts, tacks, brads or sprigs; ice; iron and steel and manufactures thereof; leather; lumber and timber of all kinds, round, hewed, sawed, and unmanufactured in whole or in part; doors, sashes and blinds; machinery of all kinds, engines and parts thereof, oats and hay; paper, stationery and books, and all manufactures of paper and wood; petroleum and all oils for lubricating or illuminating purposes; plants, scrubs, trees, and seeds; rice; sugar, refined or unrefined; salt; soap; shooks, staves and headings; wool and manufactures of wool, other than ready made clothing; wagons and carts for the purposes of agriculture or of drayage; wood and manufactures of wood, or of wood and metal except furniture either upholstered or carved and carriages; textile manufactures, made of a combination of wool, cotton, silk or linen, or of any two or more of them other than when ready made clothing; harness and all manufactures of leather; starch; and tobacco, whether in leaf or manufactured.

    ARTICLE III - The evidence that articles proposed to be admitted into the ports of the United States of America, or the ports of the Hawaiian Islands, free of duty, under the first and second articles of this convention, are the growth, manufacture or produce of the United States of America or of the Hawaiian Islands respectively shall be established under such rules and regulations and conditions for the protection of the revenue as the two Governments may from time to time respectively prescribe.

    ARTICLE IV - No export duty or charges shall be imposed in the Hawaiian Islands or in the United States, upon any of the articles proposed to be admitted into the ports of the United States or the ports of the Hawaiian Islands free of duty, under the First and Second Articles of this convention. It is agreed, on the part of His Hawaiian Majesty, that, so long as this treaty shall remain in force, he will not lease or otherwise dispose of or create any lien upon any port, harbor, or other territory of his dominions, or grant any special privilege or rights of use therein, to any other power, state or government, nor make any treaty by which any other nation shall obtain the same privileges, relative to the admission of any articles free of duty, hereby secured to the United States.

    ARTICLE V - The present convention shall take effect as soon as it shall have been approved and proclaimed by His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, and shall have been ratified and duly proclaimed on the part of the Government of the United States, but not until a law to carry it into operation shall have been passed by the Congress of the United States of America. Such assent having been given and the ratifications of the convention having been exchanged as provided in article VI, the convention shall remain in force for seven years, from the date at which it may come into operation; and further, until the expiration of twelve months after either of the high contracting parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same; each of the high contracting parties being at liberty to give such notice to the other at the end of the said term of seven years, or at any time thereafter.

    ARTICLE VI - The present convention shall be duly ratified, and the rafitications exchanged at Washington city, within eighteen months from the date thereof, or earlier if possible.

    In faith whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries of the high contracting parties have signed this present convention, and have affixed thereto their respective seals.

    Done in duplicate, at Washington, the thirtieth day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five.

    Hamilton Fish
    Elisha H. Allen
    Henry A.P. Carter

    Photo above: King Kalakaua and the members of the Reciprocity Commission, 1874, Bradley and Rolefson. Courtesy Hawaii State Archives via Wikipedia Commons. Below: King Kalakaua and President Grant meeting at a State Dinner at the White House in December 1874, 1875, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Info Source: Hawaiihistory.org; Library of Congress; "Reciprocity Treaty of 1875," Kate Farr, Darmouth.edu; Hawaii-nation.org; history.state.gov; Ulukau.org; Wikipedia Commons.


    King Kalakaua and President Grant


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