Queen Liliuokalani Research Paper

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At Queen Liliuokalani’s birth no one knew of the struggles and trials she was to face. Neither did they know that she would be the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani made many difficult decisions during her reign but she did so with the hope of establishing sovereignty and preserving the islands for the native people. The United States played a major role with the dethroning of Queen Liliuokalani and the annexation of Hawaii as they gradually encroached upon the Islands through trade and commerce, taking away power from their Monarchy, and completely disregard Hawaii’s own desire for sovereignty as the political leaders of the U.S. only sought to gain control for their own benefit. Liliuokalani was born on September 2, 1838 in a grass house located in the little town of Punch Bowl. Her mother was an inferior chiefess named Keohokalole (Allen 33). But Liliuokalani only stayed in the care of Keohokalole for a short time. The baby’s father, Kapaakaea, had promised her to the High Chief, Abner Paki and his wife Konia through hanai. Hanai was an act of adoption by another High Chief family within the Islands. But adoption between the High Chief families was common during these days. The parents did not just gave their children away out of aloha, but to better the child’s station in life. They also felt that it brought the Islands as a whole closer together like family. She grew up with her sister Bernice, a natural daughter of Pakis’. She attended the Chiefs’ Children School, later known as the Royal School. The Royal School was founded by Christian missionaries that first came to the area in 1819 (Stone 11). At the school they taught them about Christianity and taught them to speak English while training them in the ways of a princess. She attended the School with her sister Bernice and many of the other High Chief’s children, though Liliuokalani was not a direct technically a princess because she was not a direct descendant of the King. Liliuokalani’s adoptive mother, Konia, was the granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great. But since Liliuokalani was hanai by the High Chief she was not a direct descendent of Kamehameha through blood. The children at her school often referred to her as alii, or chiefess, while they referred to her sister Bernice as Princess Bernice (Stone 16). But she decided to keep her head high and act like a princess of Kamehameha anyway. This shows the bright and intelligent mind that she had as she was able to recognize differences in her surrounding and adjust her own thoughts and actions to them. As Liliuokalani grew older she became more aware of the clashing cultures between the U.S. and Hawaii. In 1891 King Kalakaua, her brother, died of a serious ailment, leaving the throne to Liliuokalani, then becoming Queen Liliuokalani (Pau). She entered the world of politics as innocent as a child, unknowing to the imperialistic mind of the United States. For many years the U.S. tried to gain control of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It first started with the Missionaries. Christian missionaries came to the Islands in 1819. The missionaries had a great impact on the civilization of the Islands. With the preaching of Christianity came school houses, spelling books, a change on governing and most importantly a written language. Just five years after the landing of the missionaries the principal chiefs had agreed to recognize Sunday as a holy day, and had adopted the Ten Commandments as the basis of government (Carpenter 26). By 1840 with the period of the Great Awakening the people of Hawaii were ‘“suddenly throng[ing] to the churches… athirst for spiritual knowledge’” says Mary Charlotte Alexander (Weaver 69). The work was so successful that Hawaii began to be recognized as a civilized nation by the 1840’s. But this first step towards power would also lead to their downfall as they continually put their trust in America. As civilization was brought throughout the...
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