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From first contact with the West, the English language in both its British and American forms was the principle foreign tongue in Hawaii, although French, Spanish, and Russian were also present. The arrival of the American missionaries in 1820 brought a new future for the English language in Hawai'i beyond the simple use of conducting trade. The missionaries established a community of some permanence. They eventually disregarded, however, their own goals of teaching the community in the native tongue.
Although the missionaries espoused a new order among the early foreign residents, they could not envision themselves and their children as truly part of the community. Missionary children were not allowed to learn the Hawaiian language, missionaries maintained their own church congregations and schools, and even punished members for marrying into Hawaiian families. Thus the American missionaries and their families created the nucleus of the first permanent non-Hawaiian-speaking community in Hawai'i.
This English-speaking community at first derived it subsistence from religious and academic instruction of Hawaiians. These occupations, however, were supplanted by Hawaiians who were better able to communicate with fellow natives. Consequently, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM, which financed the Hawaiian mission) officially declared the Christianization of Hawai'i a success. This ended their support and contributions to the livelihood of the missionaries, their children, and their associates. Some missionaries returned to New England, others journeyed to other parts of the Pacific to continue their calling, but many stayed in Hawai'i. Because the missionaries had remained aloof from the general English-speaking community, they became trapped by the remnants of their own arrogance when the ABCFM withdrew support. In order to continue in their accustomed lifestyle and survive as a separate group, they began to wrest control of the land from the Hawaiians. The missionaries started to come into conflict with the very principles that had originally inspired the ABCFM ministry.
Hawaiian culture stresses sympathy for individuals in need and the Hawaiian people had developed considerable aloha for the early altruistic efforts of the missionaries. The people expected ruling ali'i to care for the missionaries and their families according to Hawaiian culture, and the ali'i did so generously. Some missionaries were granted the use of large tracts of land and others were incorporated into government service (that is, the court) to utilize their expertise in dealing with foreiomers and new concepts entering Hawai'i.
Incorporation of English-speaking members of the community into government service represented a departure from the earlier practice. As a result, in conflicting matters, the small groups of English speakers in government favored their own interests over that of the Hawaiian community.
They supported dismantling the Hawaiian common property ownership tradition, the repeal of the voting rights of Hawaiian women, and other similar programs that benefited their own linguistic community at the expense of the entire nation. The necessity existed because without such change, the English-speaking community could not expand in Hawai'i, and the
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