Mission: Implausible. Surprise and success in the Hawaiian mission, 1819–1825
The erroneous expectations of the first group of American missionaries sent to Hawaii directly led to immense initial skepticism and worry on the part of the proselytizers, but fears and reservations gradually fell away as progress slowly emerged from the troubled effort. New impressions collided with preconceived notions to shape decades of Christian/Hawaiian interaction as the first two groups of New England proselytizers grappled with an unceasing series of surprises. Many historians have written about this intersection of cultures, but few have analyzed the intentions behind the mission's actions, preferring to simplify the Christians as either saints or demons. This study seeks to find the reasons behind missionary surprise in Hawaii, using their own words to narrow the gap between hagiography and demonization.
0337: American history