Why was Hawaii important in U.S. expansionism?
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Hawaii was important to US expansionism first because it was the country’s first major overseas acquisition and second because it helped the US with both of its main reasons for expanding.
Military power and economic gain were the two most important reasons for expansion. Hawaii gave America both of these things. The Hawaiian sugar plantations were a great source of wealth and of sugar, which is one reason why sugar magnates were behind the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani. When the US took Hawaii, the Navy got a large and important base at Pearl Harbor. This helped the US to project its power across the Pacific.
One of the biggest reasons why the US wanted Hawaii was a similar reason for its imperialism- acquire strategic military bases. Because Hawaii is much further out into the Pacific Ocean, it provides the US with a military base closer to Asia. This came in handy during WWII, at the Pearl Harbor naval base, which was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. The base ended up being a crucial beginning point in our Pacific campaign against Japan.
Another reason the US wanted Hawaii was for its lucrative sugar trade. Hawaii was a large sugar producer, and the United States charged high tariffs for Hawaiian sugar merchants. By annexing with the United States, Hawaii no longer had to deal with tariffs, and the US could profit directly from Hawaiian sugar.
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