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Hawaii's Scenic RoadsPaving the Way for Tourism in the Islands$
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Dawn E. Duensing

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839284

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839284.001.0001

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Roads to Civilize a Nation

Roads to Civilize a Nation

(p.9) Chapter One Roads to Civilize a Nation
Hawaii's Scenic Roads

Dawn E. Duensing

University of Hawai'i Press

The history of road development demonstrates how Hawai`i’s first constitutional government (1840) was the impetus for political, social, and economic “progress.” Good roads were crucial in westernizing Hawai`i and frequently exposed tensions between Native Hawaiian and foreign interests. Like most matters in the kingdom, infrastructure improvements were usually driven by missionaries, other foreign settlers, and their descendents, often to suit personal ambitions. Early reasons for building roads were to make land accessible, facilitate agriculture, and improve communication, all of which were necessary to achieve a Western economy. Roads were moreover a key element in “civilizing” the Hawaiian nation. By 1887 Hawai`i had constructed useful roads and bridges that facilitated Western commerce and benefited Native Hawaiians. Foreign residents nevertheless denounced the monarchy's failure to build good roads, emphasizing its financial, administrative, and labor problems; yet by the 1850s, they dominated the legislature that planned and funded public works.

Keywords:   Hawaiians, westernization, Hawaiian monarchy, missionaries, foreigners, roads, economics, politics, social structure

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