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Incorporation of Hawaii by the United States

Background: In 1820 the first missionaries from ABCFM (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missionaries) arrived in Hawaii. ABCFM was a New England Congregationalist organization. The far majority Mount Holyoke Hawaiian missionaries were affiliated with ABCFM. Christian missionaries were not initially received with open arms. However, after a year of proselytizing the missionaries were successful in converting some of the highest-ranking chiefs (Ali'i) as well as the Queen, Ka'ahumanu. The general population quickly followed suit and converted to Protestant Christianity.

Power Transfer: Many of the Mount Holyoke Holyoke Missionaries were very influential by educating generations of future Hawaiian leaders who would eventually play a role in determining the fate of Hawaii. Mrs. Mills (class of 1845) who taught at a Christian institution on Oahu writes, “Many of our students are now well known in the later history of Hawaii; are prominent in the Revolution and reconstruction and eminent in other ways.” From this we can infer that Western-style education played a role in influencing opinions regarding the revolution and reconstruction in Hawaii. In essence, the Missionaries were the first step towards American domination of the Hawaiian Islands

New Government System Echoes the West: The Hawaiian Government system was based off of European Monarchy with a bicameral legislature. Hawaii entered the geopolitical sphere as a legitimate Nation-StateThe government is a limited monarchy. The king, Kalakaua I, is of pure Hawaiian blood. There are two Houses, the House of Nobles and the House of Representatives, elected under a limited franchise law. The independence of the Kingdom was recognized by the Great Powers in 1843. By an arrangement made in 1889, the government of the United States controls the foreign relations with Hawaii.” In 1900 Hawaii became an official US territory and on August 21, 1959 Hawaii became the 50th state.

This page was created by [name student] '[grad year] in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 - [e-mail]