This week the NYT published a great read on Hawaii's role in our country's civil war--a subject too often glossed over or completely ignored by most history books:
Hawaiians themselves decidedly favored the North. Union victories were celebrated, and a Honolulu bookstore sold red, white and blue envelopes that read “Union must be preserved” alongside copies of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Neighbors of a Southern-born woman living in Honolulu ripped up a Confederate flag she had hung from her veranda. In fact, support for Lincoln in Hawaii was greater than in the United States – he did better in 1860 and 1864 mock elections with American expats in Hawaii than among the Northern voting public. American residents on Hawaii island threw a grand Fourth of July celebration in 1861, complete with bands, the firing of guns, and toasts to Lincoln and the Union.
Even lesser known is how native Hawaiians actually fought in the Civil War, even though they were not part of the US yet. Historically Hawaii's strategic location has always made the islands a sought-after focal point for military planning, and this continues to this day. The University of Illinois has more research on this subject. And of course, this all goes wonderfully with James Michener's Hawaii.