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Engineering NatureWater, Development, and the Global Spread of American Environmental Expertise$
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Jessica B. Teisch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834435

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807878019_teisch

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Nothing but Commercial Feudalism

Nothing but Commercial Feudalism

California's Hawaiian Empire

(p.133) Chapter 5 Nothing but Commercial Feudalism
Engineering Nature

Jessica B. Teisch

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the case of Hawaii. Like California, Australia, and South Africa, the case of Hawaii shows how technical and capitalist growth guided infrastructural development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Pulling Hawaii into a global economy via American imperialism meant growing sugarcane on an unprecedented scale; developing sophisticated irrigation, transportation, and marketing systems; hiring cheap, foreign labor; and dealing with the native Hawaiian question. Also as in California, Australia, and South Africa, Californians facilitated Hawaii's entry into a global economy, but certain incongruities arose. California businessman Claus Spreckels's sugar empire, for example, inextricably tied California's industrial growth to Hawaii's political and economic future and to the islands' destiny: the creation of a poor, urban class of Hawaiians.

Keywords:   Hawaii, capitalist growth, infrastructural development, global economy, American imperialism, sugarcane

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