It was on this day in 1893 that American Marines from the USS Boston landed in Honolulu in order to prevent HM Queen Liliuokalani from abrogating the "bayonet constitution". This military intervention was the first step in the United States taking direct control of the Hawaiian islands. The "bayonet" constitution of 1887 had been forced on HM King David Kalakaua after an armed uprising led by prominent American businessmen on the islands such as Sanford B. Dole. The King asked for help from the ambassadors of foreign countries on Hawaii but they advised the King to comply with the demands of the rebels. Left without hope of aid the King had no choice but to sign the new constitution into law which greatly reduced the power of the Hawaiian monarchy. Although, on paper, the new constitution seemed to bring with it greater democracy and restrictions on "royal tyranny", as is so often the case this was actually far from the reality of the situation. Actually, the new constitution brought with it a very restricted franchise which effectively allowed only the very wealthy landowners to have political power. Since, by this time, most native Hawaiians had very little and almost all the land belonged to the wealthy foreign businessmen the new constitution meant that, from then on, the American population would rule the islands.
The monarchy, even by that point, had become the only guardians of the rights and welfare of the Hawaiian people and by the terms of the "bayonet constitution" the monarch was made almost totally powerless. On January 14th the Americans formed a Committee of Public Safety (a name that should make any monarchist recoil in horror) with the intention of overthrowing Queen Liliuokalani and seeing Hawaii annexed to the United States. The Queen was suspected (rightly) of wishing to abrogate the constitution and replacing it with one that would allow for greater representation by the native Hawaiians. The U.S. Marines were then called to the legation supposedly to protect American lives and property in a neutral capacity but the effect was that the Queen could take no action against the American rebels who were openly advocating treason against the Hawaiian kingdom. Seeing no other option, on January 17 the Queen reluctantly abdicated to "the superior military forces of the United States".
The Queen had hoped that the U.S. government, once made aware of the situation, would see justice done and her throne restored. That was what had happened in the past with the British but it would not be the case this time. Too many people in power in the States had already decided that America had to have Hawaii, not only for the business interests on the islands but also for their strategic value in the Pacific so that no other power would take control of them later. The Queen would never be restored and on July 4, 1894 (the symbolism of the date being obvious) the "independence" of the Republic of Hawaii was declared with Sanford Dole chosen as the president. It was, of course, a complete farce and everyone knew it. Hawaii at once became an American protectorate and later a U.S. territory before finally being admitted as a state in the Union.