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Sanford Dole

Political Figure / Jurist

Born: 23 April 1844
Died: 9 June 1926
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Best known as: The first governor of Hawaii
Sanford Ballard Dole was the first governor of the Territory of Hawaii, a position he took after helping to overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Born in Honolulu to Christian missionary parents, Sanford Dole was educated on the islands and attended college in Massachusetts, at Williams College, from 1866 to 1867. He gained legal experience in a law firm and returned to Hawaii, where he was elected to the Kingdom's legislature in 1884, a representative from Kauai. Sanford Dole was then a Supreme Court justice for the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1887 until early 1893, and a well-known advocate of Westernization, with pals in the sugar industry who were bent on the annexation of Hawaii to the United States. Thanks to the encouragement of U.S. Foreign Minister John L. Stevens, and backed by a warship in Honolulu Harbor (the USS Boston), American landowners were able to take possession of Hawaii in January of 1893, and set up a provisional government, with Sanford Dole as president. (Queen Liliuokalani capitulated peacefully and was put under house arrest.) Outgoing U.S. president Benjamin Harrison liked the idea, but incoming president Grover Cleveland objected to the armed invasion of a sovereign state. While the dispute went on, Sanford Dole served as the president of the Republic of Hawaii from 4 July 1894 until 14 June 1900. After Cleveland was out of office, pro-annexation president William McKinley took over and named Sanford Dole to the post of governor of the territory of Hawaii. Dole stayed there until 1903, when he resigned to take a position as a federal judge. Sanford Dole left the bench in 1914, but continued a career as a public servant until his death in 1926.
Extra credit: Sanford Dole was the first cousin, once removed, of James Dole, who founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company -- more commonly known as Dole Pineapple.

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