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United States to educate their children. 49/ The future impact of this was significant:
- A strong and aggressive foreign element, mainly American, purloined political power from the Kanakas [natives], and made itself wealthy by entering business, trade, and commerce. Although most of them were no longer missionaries, they were called the "Missionary Party"—in derision--by the natives who saw themselves being progressively relegated to the rear. The numerically inferior, but culturally superior, Americans became not only the leading businessmen but also the chief politicians and governing officials. Royal officers after the 1850's seldom bore Hawaiian names. 50/
This domination continued into the twentieth century, particularly in business. Another author notes that: "By 1935, exactly one-third of the directors and officers of the forty-five sugar plantations and factors in Hawaii were direct descendants of or related by marriage to the original missionary families of the Islands." 51/
There is another side of this story, however. The missionaries did accomplish more than their own self-aggrandizement. For example, they "set up the first printing press west of the Rockies, developed the Hawaiian alphabet, established schools throughout the Islands, printed textbooks, translated the Bible into Hawaiian, and promoted constitutional government under the Kingdom." 52/ The primary goal of the missionaries was to preach and convert, but much time was spent in the beginning teaching and transcribing the Hawaiian language. Their success in education can be seen in the large number of Hawaiians enrolled in schools and the high literacy rates recorded. Whether or not this record of activity was of benefit to the native Hawaiians is difficult to say. Fuch states that:
- The missionaries did have a tremendous impact, and by speeding the process of social change, they contributed to the psychological demoralization of the Hawaiians. The Hawaiian language, dance, and art were degraded. The land, property, political and religious systems were under constant attack ...[However,] [e]ven without the missionaries, it is unthinkable that Hawaiian culture and people could have withstood the sudden impact of Western civilization. Indeed, the missionaries often helped arrest some of the decay. 53/
The traders and explorers, who had come to consider the islands of Hawaii their personal paradise, did not appreciate the missionaries' zeal in teaching the natives traditional New England mores. As more natives, and particularly the ali'i, embraced the new faith, more forceful attempts were made to control the debauchery of the sailors by proscribing their activities. The kapu most detested by the sailors was the one placed on women to keep them from the ships. The conflict arising from this clash of desires resulted in the first formal laws of the kingdom, promulgated by the king (see below).
Sailors were not the only group with whom the missionaries did not see eye to eye. In 1827, French Catholic missionaries arrived at Honolulu. The Protestant missionaries eventually influenced the chiefs to expel the Catholic priests. Nevertheless, they persisted in their attempts to establish a mission. Native converts and priests alike continued to suffer persecution until 1839. This fact was one of the primary reasons that the Hawaiian government would have problems in its foreign relations with France for years to come.
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