In the southeastern city of Harper, Liberia lies a large regal mansion known locally as “the palace”. The Mansion , which was once one of Liberia’s most renowned sites, now has no running water or electricity. There are holes in the roof, and the inside of the mansion decays year after year. The outside of the mansion is surrounded by a short iron fence that bears a monogram—”WVST”. The monogram stands for William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, Liberia’s longest-serving president. Tubman served as Liberia’s president for 27 years. The home of the man called “the father of modern Liberia” is now in ruins and occupied by squatters. It serves as a symbol of how decades of political turmoil and disagreements between the freed slaves and the native Liberians have left an everlasting stain on the history of the nation. This paper is going to discuss how the the settlement of freed slaves from the Americas played a role in the cause of the Liberian Civil Wars. I will be looking at this by examining how the settlers were more privileged than the native people. I will determine privilege by the differences in income, political rights, and ownership rights between indigenous people and the American settlers. Additionally, I will look at the cultural differences between the two groups to see what impacts it had in the creation of conflicts. Lastly, I will study the history of Liberia from the beginning of the nation to the events leading up to the civil wars. Liberia’s founding was driven by the politics of slavery in the United States as well as interests regarding foreign policies. From the very beginning, it was apparent that the settlement in Africa was only for the benefits of America. In fact, before their departure in 1820, the American Colonization Society had signed a constitution stating that the settlement should be administered under U.S. laws. Once the society landed on the Pepper Coast, they renamed the land “Liberia” which ironically translates to “the land of liberty”. The capital was also named “Monrovia” after U.S. president James Monroe. As promised, the land was administered under U.S. laws. The conflicts between the Americo-Liberians , also known as the “Congors”, and the indigenous Liberians began almost instantly. The Americo-Liberians never intended on having any sort of integrated community. They therefore created a system of segregation in which they were the elites. They implemented the European culture into the African society, and built churches in defiance to the local religions. Like the white colonizers in the rest of Africa, they looked down on vitalism, voodoo, and nature worship. They believed that those practices were inhumane and the only way to be civilized was through Christianity. Furthermore, they made English the official language as opposed to Bassa, Kpelle, or any of the indigenous languages. They wore European styled clothing, ate American food, and proudly beard their names inherited from their slave masters. As if the African identity wasn’t being stripped from the indigenous people enough, Liberia’s flag was created almost identical to to U.S. flag. They even referred to the land as “Little America”.
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