The Annexation of Hawaii – Students Assess the Reasons Why Hawaii was Annexed


Grade Levels
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th
Social Studies – History, U.S. History
Resource Type
Formats Included
Zip, Google Apps™, Internet Activities
7 pages + 8 slides


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With this lesson, students will analyze three different points of view discussing the annexation of Hawaii. The first points to sugar, the second to imperialism and racism, and the third discusses the need for naval bases. After reviewing each of the three readings, students will then create a “responsibility pie” to determine the share of responsibility that should be assigned to each of the three reasons presented.

This lesson discusses the events that led to the annexation of Hawaii, including the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani, the demands of sugar planters in Hawaii, the influence of president McKinley and the writings of Alfred T. Mahan. All of the text is written at a level that makes it accessible to students at the older end of the middle school level. You can see more in the preview here. – The Annexation of Hawaii

Topics include: Queen Liluokalani, Alfred T. Mahan, Imperialism, annexation, the McKinley tariff, King Kalakaua, sugar planters, naval bases, missionaries

Included in this resource:

  • Classroom Presentation – Made to be utilized in an in-class situation with students. A PowerPoint version is included in the file and the Google Slides version is provided with the link. The Google Slides version is easily editable for use with Pear Deck.
  • Handout for Students – Printable version that is made to coordinate with the classroom presentation – (PDF, Google Slides link, and PowerPoint)
  • Lesson Plan for implementation

This lesson is tied with the following NYS Standards:

8.3c – Interest in Pacific trade contributed to an increase in United States foreign interactions.

8.3c.1 – Students will assess the events surrounding the annexation of Hawaii.

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