Political and Social Movements

The Antislavery Movement

What did the founding of Liberia have to do with the antislavery movement?

With the goal of transporting freed slaves back to their homeland, members of the American Colonization Society (organized 1816–17), made land purchases on the west African coast. The holdings were named Liberia, a Latin word meaning “freedom.” The first black Americans arrived there in 1822. But the society’s plan was controversial; even some abolitionists and blacks opposed it, as they believed the only answer to the question of slavery was to eradicate it from the United States and extend the full rights of citizenship to the freed slaves in their new American home. Nevertheless, by 1860 11,000 freed black slaves from the United States had been settled there; eventually a total of 15,000 made the transatlantic voyage to a secured freedom in Liberia. The country was established as an independent republic on July 26, 1847.


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