The Annexation of Hawaii

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The islands collectively known as Hawaii were annexed by the United States in 1898, in a controversial conclusion to a series of socio-political events that had begun decades earlier. The scope of this paper is to provide some background on the event, identify who the key people were as well as the roles they played, discuss how the annexation was finally accomplished, and why it was important.


The process itself was rocky indeed, being ultimately accomplished only after years of international negotiation, domestic debate, and political maneuvering. The importance of the event was significant enough in its day, but it would prove even more important half a century later. The annexation of the territory that would eventually become the fiftieth state was far from easy.
The events preceding the annexation of Hawaii were a mixture of economic and political dynamics that had been brewing for several decades. Those circumstances would ultimately be brought to a clear conclusion by the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.
The economic background immediately preceding the debate over annexing Hawaii centered around one concept; free trade. Initially, "[t]he American approach to Hawaii, like that to China or to the Pacific coast of North America, was a matter of private enterprise, without government intervention" (Best & Johnson 79). As more American and foreign investment poured into Hawaii, however, it became clear that there would have to be some form of public policy steps taken to address the growing concerns regarding commerce, immigration, and the political ramifications in the Kingdom of Hawaii. ...
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