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Patrons, Clients, and EmpireChieftaincy and Over-rule in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific$
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Colin Newbury

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257812.001.0001

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(p.183) 11 Hawai‘i
Patrons, Clients, and Empire


Oxford University Press

The Hawaiian Kingdom was ruled by a paramount lineage through appointment of Hawaiians and Europeans to offices of state. Acceptance of laws, literacy and religion, on Hawaiian terms, maintained the primacy of the royal executive over its nobles, its ministers, and its system of island government. Foreign settlers were integrated within a Polynesian hierarchy as ‘service gentry’. Recognition by foreign powers allowed the ruling lineage to manage a Pacific state by securing a loyal civil service and control of political representation and the judiciary until the 1880s. Thereafter, royal patronage was challenged through the Legislature by a minority of lawyers, businessmen and republicans. By 1891, royal prerogatives were under threat and foreign relations depended on American good will. A militant faction overturned the monarchy in 1893, preparing the way for Congressional approval of an illegal settler government, annexation and Territorial status. But patronage politics continued into the 1930s under the influence of business corporations and Republican Executives.

Keywords:   paramount lineage, Polynesian hierarchy, service gentry, patronage politics, republicans

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