clark hilterman
clark hilterman
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August 21, 1959 Hawaii Becomes the 50th State
8/21/2015 5:04 PM - U.S. History


Hawaii is one of four U.S. states—apart from the original thirteen—the Vermont Republic (1791), the Republic of Texas (1845), and the California Republic (1846) that were independent prior to statehood. Along with Texas, Hawaii had formal, international diplomatic recognition.

The Kingdom of Hawai'i was sovereign from 1810 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American and European capitalists and landholders in a coup d'etat. Hawaii was an independent republic from 1894 until August 12, 1898, when it officially became a territory of the United States. Hawaii was declared a U.S. state on August 21, 1959.

In March 1959, Congress passed the Hawaii Admission Act, which U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law. The act excluded Palmyra Atoll, which had been part of the Kingdom and Territory of Hawaii, from statehood. On June 27, 1959, a referendum asked residents of Hawaii to vote on the statehood bill; 94.3% voted in favor of statehood and 5.7% opposed it. The referendum asked voters to choose between accepting the Act and remaining a U.S. territory. The United Nations' Special Committee on Decolonization later removed Hawaii from its list of self-governing territories.