Business as Mission and Its History in 19th Century Hawaii
This paper addresses “Business as Mission” (BAM) as played out in 19th century Hawaii. History teaches us important lessons applicable to today’s world. This paper, Part One, addresses the history of business as mission in Hawaii. Part Two addresses the interpretation of this history. Part One focuses both on business as mission’s positive contributions and its negative drawbacks; it then addresses how the missionaries attempted to correct the drawbacks; finally, it sketches the three steps, from 1887 to 1898, in Hawaii’s political downfall (both its monarch and independence lost)—a downfall largely caused by “business as mission” gone awry. Business, and difficulties with its fit within wider Hawaiian society, was a chief cause of Hawaii’s political downfall. This downfall was a tragedy as it was completely contrary to the wishes of all the early (1820s on) actors—both native and foreign—who had originally embraced “business as mission” as a way to upbuild Hawaii among the nations. The mistakes made contributing to Hawaii’s loss of independence—mistakes made on both sides, both native Hawaiian and foreign-descended Hawaiian—are briefly touched upon in Part One. Part Two will explore lessons to be learned from these mistakes for Business as Mission today.