Liberia And The U.S.  — In Historical Perspective 

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By Sainey  Faye

JULY 26TH, 1847 …..On this date Liberia becomes Independent, the second
only to Ethiopia to have political Independence.It was settled by African
slaves returning home from chattel slavery from the U.S.A., with help from
the American Colonization Society (ACS).This society advocated the return
or repartriation of Africans who were free,  back to their homeland-Africa.
 They saw the need as anti-slavery advocates, to pressure the government to
establish in 1821-1822  a location  for ex-slaves & freedmen.Like Sierra Leone
which was established in 1787, many who left England where sent to Liberia
as a reward for escaping from their masters, and fighting with the British
in their war against America.
 When they were rewarded as so-called free citizens, many of them opted or forced,  
large numbers  were sent home to both Liberia and Sierra Leone, they were both
annexed.But the British would not recognize  the ACS as having authority or
sovereign power for the simple reason that they were ‘private persons’ and
thus could not levy or collect taxes.As colonialist, they settled with the
help of the American government, with a few selected elites of Africans
and Americans; and then modeled the government like the U.S.
They named the capital Monrovia, after the 5th U.S. president James Monroe.
The rest is history, what some would call the Americo-Liberia elites rule ensued;
until all hell broke in 1980 during Tolbert rule.A coup ensued, and then a civil war
and the civil war continued for years causing endless lives and 
suffering created by despots like Sergeant Samuel Doe -later killed, and Charles taylor (warlord) now in custody at the Hague. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected woman President in Africa, is now President, and has now brought peace and tranquility to the country.
 Liberia was among the 54 African countries invited to the U.S. – Africa Summit meeting in August 5-8, 2014 in Washington D.C. The president who has extended an invitation to this summit, also happens to be the son of an African from Kenya.Interesting times indeed….what ever happened to “Marshall Plan ” for Liberia and/or Africa as minimal pay back at least for what she did to the motherland ?
Read below these unforgettable date and time, when Africans from all over the world were herded; and let loose to return to where the ancestors were captured from their motherland, and asked to settle and build a state/country of their own with few; if any tools to work with.They left with little more than the clothes on their backs, but kept and never forget what transpired in their contributions to what is now called the U.S.A. They had no amnesia of what was done to them and their brethren……which makes many wonder, what would America be without the Africans contribution ? 

Read on :- Below is a brief synopsis of the historic constitution, which was revised many times through a century and a half.

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1847
” We the people of the Republic of Liberia were originally the inhabitants
of the United States of North America.

In some parts of that country, we were debarred by law from all the rights
and privileges of men–in other parts, public senti ment, more powerful
than law, frowned us down.
We were everywhere shut out from all civil office.
We were excluded from all participation in the government.
We were taxed without our consent.
We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country, which gave
us no protection.

We were made a separate and distinct class, and against us every avenue to
improvement was effectually closed. Strangers from all lands of a color
different from ours, were preferred before us.
We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or only met by
alleging the peculiar institutions of the country.

All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished
in our bosoms, and we looked with anxiety abroad for some asylum from the
deep degradation.
The Western coast of Africa was the place selected by Amer ican
benevolence and philanthropy, for our future home. Removed beyond those
influences which depressed us in our native land, it was hoped we would be
enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges, and exercise and improve
those faculties, which the God of nature has given us in common with the
rest of mankind.

Under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, we established
ourselves here, on land acquired by purchase from the Lords of the soil.
In an original compact with this Society, we, for important reasons
delegated to it certain political powers; while this institution
stipulated that whenever the people should become capable of conducting
the government, or whenever the people should desire it, this institution
would resign the delegated power, peaceably withdraw its supervision, and
leave the people to the government of themselves.

Under the auspices and guidance of this institution, which has nobly and
in perfect faith redeemed its pledges to the people, we have grown and
prospered.
From time to time, our number has been increased by migration from America
, and by accessions from native tribes; and from time to time, as
circumstances required it, we have extended our borders by acquisition of
land by honorable purchase from the natives of the country.

As our territory has extended , and our population increased, our commerce
has also increased. The flags of most of the civilized nations of the
earth float in our harbors, and their merchants are opening an honorable
and profitable trade. Until recently, these visits have been of a
uniformly harmonious character, but as they have become more frequent, and
to more numerous points of our extending coast, questions have arisen,
which it is supposed can be adjusted only by agreement between sovereign
powers.

For years past, the American Colonization Society has virtually withdrawn
from all direct and active part in the administration of the government,
except in the appointment of the Governor, who is also a colonist, for the
apparent purpose of testing the ability of the people to conduct the
affairs of government, and no complaint of crude legislation, nor of
mismanagement, nor of mal-administration has yet been heard.

In view of these facts, this institution, the American Colonization
Society, with that good faith which has uniformly marked all its dealings
with us, by a set of resolutions in January, in the Year of Our Lord One
Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Six, dissolve all political connection
with the people of this Republic, return the power with which it was
delegated, and left the people to the government of themselves.

The people of the Republic of Liberia then, are of right, and in fact, a
free, sovereign and independent State; possessed of all the rights,
powers, and functions of government.
In assuming the momentous responsibilities of the position they have
taken, the people of this Republic, feel justified by the necessities of
the case, and with this conviction they throw themselves with confidence
upon the candid consideration of the civilized world.

Liberia is not the offspring of grasping ambition, nor the tool of
avaricious speculation.
No desire for territorial aggrandizement brought us to these shores; nor
do we believe so sordid a motive entered into the high considerations of
those who aided us in providing this asylum.

Liberia is an asylum from the most grinding oppression. In coming to the
shores of Africa, we indulged the pleasing hope that we would be permitted
to exercise and improve those faculties, which impart to man his
dignity–to nourish in our hearts the flame of honorable ambition, to
cherish and indulge those aspirations, which a beneficent Creator had
implanted in every human heart, and to evince to all who despise, ridicule
and oppress our race, that we possess with them a common nature, are with
them susceptible of equal refinement, and capable of equal advancement in
all that adorns and dignifies man.

We were animated with the hope, that here we should be at liberty to train
up our children in the way they should go–to inspire them with the love
of an honorable fame, to kindle within them, the flame of a lofty
philanthropy, and to form strong within them, the principles of humanity,
virtue and religion.

Among the strongest motives to leave our native land–to abandon forever
the scenes of our childhood, and to sever the most endeared connexions,
was the desire for a retreat where, free from the agitations of fear and
molestation, we could, in composure and security approach in worship, the
God of our fathers.

Thus far our highest hopes have been realized.
Liberia is already the happy home of thousands, who were once the doomed
victims of oppression, and if left unmolested to go on with her natural
and spontaneous growth; if her movements be left free from the paralyzing
intrigues of jealous, ambitious, and unscrupulous avarice, she will throw
open a wider and yet a wider door for thousands, who are now looking with
an anxious eye for some land of rest.

Our courts of justice are open equally to the stranger and the citizen for
the redress of grievances, for the remedy of injuries, and for the
punishment of crime.
Our numerous and well attended schools attest our efforts, and our desire
for the improvement of our children.

Our churches for the worship of our Creator, everywhere to be seen, bear
testimony to our piety, and to our acknowledgment of His Providence. The
native African bowing down with us before the altar of the …. while upon
that curse of curses, the slave trade, a deadly blight has fallen as far
as our influence extend–in the name of the Great God, our common Creator,
and our com mon Judge, we appeal to the nations of Christendom, and
earnestly and respectfully ask of them, that they will regard us with the
sympathy and friendly consideration, to which the peculiarities of our
condition entitle us, and to extend to us, that comity which marks the
friendly intercourse of civilized and independent communities.

Done in convention, at Monrovia , in the County of Montserado , by the
unanimous consent of the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia , this
twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord, One thousand, eight
hundred and forty-seven.”

In witness whereof we have hereto set our names:
Montserrado County
S. Benedict, President, H. Teage Elijah Johnson, J. N. Lewis, Beverly R.
Wilson, J. B. Gripon
Grand Bassa County
John Day , Amos Herring, A. W. Gardiner, Ephraim Titler
Sinoe County
E. E. Murray, Jacob W. Prout, Secretary to the Convention

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