How did the Reciprocity Treaty lead to the overthrow of Hawaii?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 helped bring about the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i because it gave Americans more reasons to want to have control of the islands.

The Reciprocity Treaty was essentially a free trade agreement.  It allowed sugar growers in Hawai’i to have free access to US markets.  In return, it gave the US the land that became the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.  This became a problem for the Kingdom because it made American investors interested in the islands.  Because sugar from the islands could now enter the US, the sugar plantations became more valuable.  American investors came to the islands and dominated the sugar industry.  These Americans retained a desire to be part of the United States.  Eventually, they helped overthrow the monarchy so that the Kingdom could be annexed by the United States. 

Thus, the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 helped bring about the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i because it opened the door for American investors, who preferred to be part of the United States. to dominate the sugar industry.

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