Francis G. Newlands c. 1903

In 1898, the coming Spanish-American War demonstrated the military significance of Hawaii and bolstered calls for annexing the Islands. The United States already had rights to Pearl Harbor but those in favor of annexation feared those rights could be abrogated and the interests of the United States could only be secured by annexation. On May 4, 1898, nine days after the Spanish-American War began, Representative Francis G. Newlands of Nevada introduced a joint resolution in the House of Representatives to annex the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. This would require a simple majority vote by the House and Senate. Some argued this was unconstitutional because it usurped the Senate's treaty power. Nevertheless, the House approved the Newlands Resolution on June 15, 1898 by a vote of 209 to 91. The Senate, after some secret debates, approved the resolution on July 6 by a vote of 42 to 21 with 26 senators abstaining. President McKinley signed the annexation resolution into law on July 7, 1898. Newlands later served as a Senator from Nevada. Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-35403.