Imperial Maine and Hawai'i: Interpretive Essays in the History of Nineteenth-century American Expansion
With Imperial Maine and Hawai'i author Paul Burlin attempts to analyze and elucidate some of the major themes, issues, and currents that formed 19th century American expansion in the Pacific. While the method used is a discussion of the lives and activities of individual Maine residents who were either living in Hawai'i or simply dealing regularly with the archipelago, the book is not a mere work of state history. Rather, the individual players are used as a proxy to discuss the larger issues involved with American imperialism. Burlin explores the shared relationship between Maine and Hawai'i between 1830 and annexation in 1898, devoting chapters to subjects such as religion, commerce, politics, and policy, both foreign and domestic. Using the personal histories of different players in the formation of the state, this study analyzes the major issues involved in American expansion during the period. Questions of self-interest, ideology, geopolitics, and economic forces are brought to the surface and scrutinized. Through his careful consideration, Burlin exposes the complexity and ambiguity of motive and action as the American relationship with Hawai'i evolved over the last two-thirds of the century.
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