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LITERACY, STATECRAFT AND SOVEREIGNTY: KAMEHAMEHA III'S DEFENSE OF THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM IN THE 1840s

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Title:LITERACY, STATECRAFT AND SOVEREIGNTY: KAMEHAMEHA III'S DEFENSE OF THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM IN THE 1840s
Authors:Corley, Janetta Susan
Contributors:Chappell, David A. (advisor)
History (department)
Keywords:History
History of Oceania
Extraterritorial restrictions
Functional sovereignty
Hawaiian monarchy
show 1 moreKamehameha III
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Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Kamehameha III’s struggle for sovereign control of his kingdom began in earnest in 1842 when he sent his diplomats on their long journey to confront the world’s greatest maritime powers in their own capitals. His struggle began several years before that, however, when as a young boy he pronounced that his rule would be characterized by literacy, and he ordered his people to learn to read and write. Without literacy, Kauikeaouli could not have defended his sovereign rights and privileges in the public forums of his opponents—and without literacy, there would be no record from the king himself how he chose to meet the threats that confronted his kingdom.
Although Kamehameha III (r. 1825-1854) secured guarantees of territorial sovereignty in 1843-1844 from Great Britain, France and the United States, those guarantees did not preclude western agents’ attempts to limit the king’s ability to exercise his sovereign powers by imposing extraterritorial restrictions over key economic and juridical functions. Kamehameha III recognized that his loss of authority to exercise functional powers threatened the Hawaiian kingdom’s ability to retain its territorial sovereignty. Western opponents already had a foothold in the kingdom, and the king needed innovative tactics and strategies to prevail in his struggle.
This dissertation examines the comprehensive strategy that Kamehameha III devised to retake full sovereign control of Hawaiian kingdom governance. Documentary evidence demonstrates that the king collaborated with his chiefs, ministers and legislators to implement specific governance, political and diplomatic measures. Kamehameha III’s tactics worked in tandem to structure the kingdom’s political interactions with western nation-states in ways that would restore power and authority to the Hawaiian government and secure continued independence.
This dissertation explores kingdom governance records and other contemporary evidence about each of the measures taken, the king’s rationale for selecting the specific measure, its implementation, and its effectiveness. These records easily disprove accusations contemporary to his times that Kamehameha III’s ministers ruled in his stead. This examination contributes to a reevaluation of Kamehameha III’s leadership role and an expanded understanding of the threats and opportunities presented him during his reign.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2019
Pages/Duration:315 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/63198
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - History


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