American Involvement in Hawai‘i
American missionaries had, early in the century, given kings and chiefs some ideas for and direction in making laws, writing constitutions, and ruling. Of course, these ideas were based on American laws, which the foreigners thought superior. They never asked if making Native Hawaiians follow Western law was pono, proper and right. Through the years, Hawai‘i’s ideas of government had become more and more like those in America. Americans had early been involved in governing the kingdom. The islands had definitely become more prosperous for some as a result of American business and treaties made with the United States, and trade tied the two countries closely together.
Any nation would have been glad to possess the Hawaiian Islands. Why then did the United States not act quickly to annex them? In the first place, the United States wanted to be sure that enough people in Hawai‘i really wanted this change. The United States also wanted to make sure it could explain taking over Hawai‘i to those in Hawai‘i and to other nations. At that time, world powers were moving into and taking over many Pacific island nations. Great Britain had taken Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1840. The fact that Hawai‘i was far from the mainland also made such a decision one that required careful planning.