In: Historical Events

Submitted By jperillo
Words 686
Pages 3
Everything is affected by the past, meaning that the factors responsible for the failure of the Māhele in Hawai’i cannot be confined to the time span of the event itself. Instead, the influences root back to events that occurred before the idea of privatization of the land was brought to the Islands. Although there were many participants in this transition from a subsistent economy to a more Western based capitalistic economy, the group that was most responsible for its failure proved to be the Chiefs. The Chiefs were responsible for allowing foreigners to gain influence over the standing government and bring in the Māhele. During the late eighteenth century, when Western traders began appearing on the shores of Hawai’i, it had been the Chiefs who approached them and initiated a means to exchange goods that would soon pose substantial financial problems for the Islands (Kelly, 57). The supply of sandalwood was not matching up with its high demand. It was not the fault of the Maka‘ainana, or the commoners, who had no choice but to work in order to provide for those holding power above them, but that of those who promised the merchants this good; the Chiefs. Due to the shortage of sandalwood, the Chiefs were now faced with a large debt as they had already accepted the merchants’ ships as an exchange for their promises (Kelly, 58). Unfamiliar with this new concept and overwhelmed with the demands and threats of foreigners, the Hawaiian government had no choice but to bring in the missionaries thus beginning the transition to a capitalistic Hawai’i (Kelly, 59). The idea to adopt the idea of privately owned property was proposed as a way to stop the oppressive actions of the Chiefs. The poor treatment of the commoners by the Chiefs is what allowed for this progressive idea to be agreed upon by the Mo’i, or the King (Kelly, 63). So, although it was King Kamehameha III…...

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