For centuries, the United States (U.S.) has euphemised their imperial endeavours across North America as they have continued to rely on ‘providence’ to justify American expansionism and colonialism. This connection between an ordained destiny and imperialism is observed within the realm of Hawaii with Bostonian missionaries. Sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), Bostonian evangelists embarked the ship Thaddeus, entering Hawaii in 1819 with the intent to civilize what they perceived as an uncivilized nation. Notably, concepts of ‘civil’ and ‘uncivilized’ are culturally determined and are intricately tied to America’s belief in their own exceptionalism. At large, this paper is examining the way American identity and thinking(s) about their own exceptionalism manifested on the ground via imperial pursuits in Honolulu, Hawaii. While the connection between ‘providence’ and American imperialism is not new, this paper will focus on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of American expansionism, the latter question being answered through an analysis of Christian belief structures that have generated America’s belief in their own superiority. This research strives to expose primarily that America is not innocent in their colonial efforts. While Bostonian moral reformists in Hawaii claimed that their mission was anti-imperial, actions on the ground in part of the missionaries proved otherwise and, as this paper will show, an informal empire gradually figured itself as a formal empire by way of direct colonial control. The ‘how’ of American imperialism in Hawaii will be examined through a Marxist approach. As Karl Marx essentially critiques the hypocritical nature of schooling, this paper argues that education and religion hindered the potential of Indigenous pupils and were therefore used as tools to create a self-sustaining lower class for the exploitation of capital.
"A Marxist Approach to Bostonian Missionaries in Hawaii,"
The Great Lakes Journal of Undergraduate History: Vol. 8:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/gljuh/vol8/iss1/2