Lili‘uokalani’s Commitment to the Hawaiian People
The new queen had spent much of her life at the royal court and had acted as regent during Kalākaua’s two long trips abroad. When she found out her brother had been forced to sign the Bayonet Constitution, she canceled her tour of Europe and returned to Hawai‘i at once. There she found the Hawaiian people afraid of losing their independence. Queen Lili‘uokalani had a very strong will; she knew how she wanted to rule her people and keep Hawai‘i from being taken over. The year 1891 was a difficult one for the sugar industry and for Hawai‘i’s economy. America had changed its tax policy. Now Hawai‘i no longer had the special treatment it had gotten under the former Reciprocity Treaty. Many foreign businessmen living in Hawai‘i thought annexation to the United States would solve this tax problem. Then, they could go by the same tax laws as everyone in mainland America.
At the same time, a bitter feeling against Lili‘uokalani began to grow in the hearts of American and European businessmen and residents. Their main issues had to do with Lili‘uokalani’s proposal of a new constitution. She wanted a constitution that would give power back to the monarch and that would reestablish voting rights for Hawaiians and others who had lost these rights with the last constitution. Lili‘uokalani believed that she had the support of her cabinet, but this proved not to be true.