Sereno Bishop, Robert Louis Stevenson and 'Americanism' in Hawai'i

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The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson visited the Hawaiian Islands from January- June 1889, in the middle of one of the most turbulent periods in its history. While staying on the islands he became associated with King Kalakaua's royalist faction, which was then involved in a struggle for power against the Reform Party, whose members were responsible for leading Hawai'i first to republican rule (1893) and then to American takeover in 1898. This article examines Stevenson's encounter with the Reverend Sereno Bishop, author of a pamphlet enquiring into the causes of indigenous depopulation, within the context of significant social and political change on the islands. While evidencing the growing politicisation of Stevenson's later years, his experience also bears witness to the development of Americanism in the Reform Party, who prepared the way for annexation by aligning themselves ideologically with sympathetic elements in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-457
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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