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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:To liberate from an 'anomalous condition' or 'secure in ignorance and wretchedness'? Reassessing the intellectual origins of the American Colonization Society
Author:Kahrl, Andrew W.
Periodical:Liberian Studies Journal (ISSN 0024-1989)
Geographic terms:Liberia
United States
African Americans
American Colonization Society
Abstract:Despite its near universal acceptance among the mainstream press, it is misleading to categorize Liberia as having been founded by freed slaves. As evidenced by the motivations of its white benefactors, the American Colonization Society (ACS) did not seek to spur the mass emancipation of African-American slaves. Moreover, the colonization of Liberia further reveals the privileged and influential status free-born blacks enjoyed in shaping the new nation. The uncritical designation of Liberia as founded by freed slaves, as this essay argues, not only distorts the diverse backgrounds of its African-American settlers, but also oversimplifies the complex and inchoate racial ideologies animating early 19th-century Anglo-American thought, and thus clouds the understanding of this critical stage in the histories of the United States, Liberia, and the Atlantic world. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]