Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association

Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association

Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association

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Founded in 1895, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association (HSPA) was an unincorporated, voluntary organization of sugar plantation owners in the Hawaiian Islands. Its objective was to promote the mutual benefits of its members and the development of the sugar industry in the islands. It conducted scientific studies and gathered accurate records about the sugar industry. The HSPA practiced paternalistic management. Plantation owners introduced welfare programs, sometimes out of concern for the workers, but often designed to suit their economic ends. Threats, coercion, and "divide and rule" tactics were employed, particularly to keep the plantation workers ethnically segregated.

The HSPA also actively campaigned to bring workers to Hawaii. For instance, they opened offices in Manila and Vigan, Ilocos Sur, to recruit Filipino workers and provide them free passage to Hawaii. Similarly, the HSPA became a powerful organization with tentacles reaching as far as Washington, D.C., where it successfully lobbied for legislation and labor and immigration policies beneficial to the sugar industry of Hawaii. On March 24, 1934, the U.S. Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act (Philippine Independence Act), which reclassified all Filipinos living in the United States as aliens and restricted entry of laborers from the Philippines to 50 per year.

The archives are now kept at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa Library.


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