The Pro and the Con
None did so with more zeal at the time than the Farringtons, father and son. Wallace R. Farrington began working toward statehood in 1903. Joseph R. Farrington followed in his father’s footsteps and made the issue of statehood his life’s work. While others were working at home, Delegate Farrington was working in Washington, D.C. Neither of the two lived to see Hawai‘i become the fiftieth state. Joseph Farrington died in Washington, working to the last minute of his life toward this goal. In 1919, Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, the Territory’s second delegate to Congress, introduced the first statehood bill in Congress, but it died in committee.
In contrast, a good number of people did oppose statehood for varying reasons. Sugar planters opposed statehood before 1935 until Hawai‘i’s sugar was put out of favor by a new law, the Jones- Costigan Act. Other opponents of statehood argued that Hawai‘i had a communist influence in one of the major unions. There were also racial issues that remained such as anti Japanese American sentiments left from World War II. Native Hawaiian opposition to statehood was minor compared to the outcry when Hawai‘i was annexed to the United States in 1898. Only 6 percent of total voters in Hawai‘i rejected statehood, and Ni‘ihau was the only precinct to vote against statehood.