Throughout the early half of the 20th century, Hawaii was dominated by major sugercane companies. The military, particularly the navy, saw Hawaii as critical to
western defenses of the US. After the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into World War II, Japanese Americans, who made-up a much larger percentage of residents in Hawaii relative to other states, avoided being interned, mainly due to their large numbers. Interestingly, the most decorated US unit in World War II, for its size, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was mainly composed of Japanese-Americans who fought mainly in Europe. In 1952, the Democratic Party became the most powerful political force on the islands, paving the way for industrial strikes and labor movements that weakened the sugercane plantations. By this stage, the Democrats made many appeals for statehood and in 1959 Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act to allow Hawaii to become the 50th state. The vote was preceded by a referendum in which 93% of the population had wanted statehood for the islands. During the 1960s, there was renewed interest in Hawaiian culture and language as many on the islands saw the nature in which Hawaii became a US territory as illegal. In 1993, President Clinton signed the "Apology Resolution" to formally apologize to 'Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893...and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination.'
There still remains an active Hawaiian independence movement that has advocated for Hawaii's independence and native rights. In 2009, President Obama supported The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009, which would allow for a native Hawaiian government to form similar to native groups in the continental US. However, with political infighting the bill never came to fruition. In 2015, the Department of Interior announced procedures to enable a Native Hawaiian government to be formed. However, lawsuits filed stopped the process from taking effect, citing that elections cannot use race as a way to define who can vote. The process for creating an independent Hawaiian government has been stalled by the use of race as a defining characteristic on who can vote.