In the early winter of 1821, a ship called the Nautilus sailed from Richmond, Virginia, to West Africa. Aboard were thirty-three “free people of colour,” one of whom was a teenager, Hilary Teage. He was nineteen years old, described in the shipping list as able to read and write, and born “free” to a Baptist preacher who had purchased his freedom from slavery. Within thirty years, Teage had become one of the pre-eminent men of letters in the colony of Liberia: editor of its newspaper, author of its Declaration of Independence, drafter of the Constitution and composer of the independence hymn “All Hail, Liberia, Hail!” He was known as the “Jefferson of Liberia”; reading his works provides an insight into the processes through which the new nation of Liberia came into being. [1]

The title of this paper, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here,” is the motto of the Liberian nation. It encapsulated for some the culmination of a search that had first found expression in the debates and pamphlets of protest produced by black Americans in the early years of the nineteenth century. These deal overwhelmingly with questions of identity and the meaning of liberty and equality. They challenge the white hegemonic discourse by insisting that the American nation had failed to live up to its ideals and must be reformed and recreated to reflect truly republican values.

The interests of the elite were articulated in the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson described the Declaration as “an expression of the American mind” and one contemporary called it “the language of America” (Becker 24-26). In this language, liberty came to be understood in terms of the right to property, self-government, and equality before the law of all free men. The freedom of white men was understood, as was its negation in the case of slaves; but what did it mean for free people of colour or “quasi-free Negroes,” as one historian described them (Franklin 220)? Their marginal status, lying somewhere between liberty and enslavement, problematized the notion of freedom.

In the 1850s, the U.S. Supreme Court Dred Scott decision decreed that the Founding Fathers had never conceptualised members of the African race as “people” within the Constitution; thus Negroes, whether slave or free, were not citizens. They were “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” (“Scott v. Sandford, 1857” qtd. in Lyons 60). It was a view that Jefferson had expressed in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), described as “the most important American book published before 1800” (Bernstein 60). Anticipating the scientific racism of the mid-nineteenth century, Jefferson wrote of his “suspicion” that the Negro was “inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination,” a condition he felt was probably innate. In the adjudication of whether the black poet, Phillis Wheatley, could actually have written the poems she claimed as her own, Jefferson opined “never yet could I find a Black that had uttered a thought above the level of plain narrative” (Gates, Figures 6). He, and some of the most illustrious minds of the age, such as Hume, Kant, and Hegel, regarded the production of literature as “the signal measure of the potential innate humanity of a race” (Gates, Figures 25). The absence of written texts was taken as proof of the Negro’s inferiority: such a condition was incompatible with the rational, efficient, and enlightened social order of the republic. In a linking of emancipation and colonisation that was to become the dominant discourse of the opening decades of the nineteenth century, Jefferson advised “removal beyond the reach of mixture” (Jefferson 146, 150). The writer Ralph Ellison referred to this idea as “one of the oldest American fantasies…to banish [the Negro] from the nation’s bloodstream, from its social structures, from its conscience and from its historical consciousness” (Ellison, “What Would America Be?”).

The leaders of black America challenged Jefferson. In a series of pamphlets, they refuted his characterisation of them as innately inferior and insisted on their right to remain in what was now their mother country. Gates describes the production of such texts as “the central arena in which persons of African descent could establish and redefine their status within the human community” (Gates, Signifying Monkey 141). Rev. Daniel Coker, who became one of the first immigrants to Liberia, entered into the print culture of anti-slavery discourse with A Dialogue between a Virginian and an African Minister (1810) (Newman et al. 53–64). Taking the form of a Socratic dialogue, the minister, exhibiting his command of logic and his superior knowledge, refutes all the arguments of the slaveholder and finally convinces him to free his slaves. David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829) drew attention to the inherent contradictions of the Declaration of Independence, whose claims of liberty and equality were contradicted by the continuing existence of slavery. He attacked its authors for their hypocrisy: “See your declaration, Americans! Do you not understand your own language?” (Walker 75). Three decades later, Frederick Douglass re-iterated Walker’s central point in a famous Fourth of July address: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in the Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” Using Independence Day as a metaphor for inclusion and citizenship, Douglass says: “The Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn” (Chesebrough 114).

The majority of black Americans who agitated for the immediate abolition of slavery understood freedom to mean not only the end of bondage but also the opportunity to enjoy all the “blessings of the luxuriant soil of America” (“Philadelphia Memorial” qtd. in Bruce 140). But, for a small number of people, it was understood as the freedom to leave. They believed strongly in the guiding principles of American republicanism and felt that they could be replicated in a new location, free from the persistent racism that they had experienced in the United States. They left the land of their birth under the auspices of the American Colonization Society (ACS), which had been founded in 1816 to provide a Jeffersonian solution to the perceived problem of “free people of color.” The all-white society, consisting of Northern philanthropists and Southern slaveholders, proposed colonisation of free blacks in West Africa, a plan they argued would raise them from their degraded state—degraded being the most used adjective in the ACS discourse—while simultaneously aiding in the Christianising and civilising of Africa. The rhetoric of the ACS contained a fundamental contradiction: the same people who were deemed unfit for citizenship in America were expected to establish a mirror image of America in Africa. The ACS foresaw a United States of Africa, “a mighty nation that would emulate America’s achievements, assume her likeness, bask in the beams of her splendour, reflect back the glory of her greatness [and] attain and exercise all her moral, intellectual and physical energies” (Clay qtd. in Guyatt 999).

The people who immigrated in the first decade after the establishment of the colony were from the northern states and the Upper South. They were disproportionately “mulatto,” the embodiment of the mixture of races so feared by Jefferson, and more likely to be literate than the black population at large. They were not typical of the 15,000 who eventually immigrated, the majority of whom had been manumitted from slavery on condition that they go to Liberia. Apart from Hilary Teage, their most prominent spokesman was John Russwurm, who had been the editor of the first black journal in America, Freedom’s Journal, and became the first editor of Liberia Herald in 1829. These two men, with very different backgrounds, are largely responsible for the representation of the colony and nation, at least as it was understood by the colonisers themselves. They shared a view that the desire for liberty was innate in the hearts of all humanity and could not be permanently denied and that the formulations of liberty that governed the United States were probably the finest ever expressed by man (though Russwurm was also an admirer of the Haitian Revolution). [2] However, as these liberties were not available to black people in the United States, they linked the search for liberty with a return to Africa and self-government.

While both men held many public offices in Liberia, it is as writers that they made their greatest contributions. They served as editors of Liberia Herald (Russwurm from 1830–1834 and Teage from 1835–1849). Aware of a global audience, they used the newspaper as a forum to engage in a transatlantic debate on slavery and freedom, to justify colonisation, and to extol the virtues of Liberia. Russwurm was already adept at this role, having been editor of Freedom’s Journal, the newspaper whose launch in 1827 signalled the creation of “a new print medium designed to galvanise the black community by representing a more unified political voice based on black interests and opinions” (McCarthy and Stauffer 115). It announced its mission statement in the first issue: “we wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us,” and hoped that through it, “a single voice may be heard, in defence of five hundred thousand free people of colour.” It campaigned for the abolition of slavery and stressed the need for “training children…to the habits of industry…thus forming them for becoming useful members of society.” Russwurm’s transnational approach was evident in his determination to speak of the experience of black people everywhere: those still “in the iron fetters of bondage,” the history and condition of the Republic of Haiti and the “vast continent” of Africa (Freedom’s Journal, March 16 1827). His own background was unusual in the diversity of his experiences and the scope of his learning.

He was born in Jamaica in 1799, the son of a black or “mulatto” mother, whose name is unknown, and a white merchant, who was originally from Virginia but had spent a great deal of time in England (James, The Struggles). [3] The formative influences on Russwurm’s early life were his father and the education that he had chosen for his son. This began in Montreal, Canada, and culminated in Bowdoin College, Maine, from which he graduated in 1826, as one of the first black Americans to receive a college education. Apart from his liberal education, he was exposed quite early to free blacks in Boston and New York who were deeply impressed by the Haitian Revolution and who advocated for the immigration of free blacks there. They were also categorically opposed to the plans of the ACS to repatriate free blacks to Liberia.

Freedom’s Journal entered the debate about colonisation in 1828. Russwurm was a vociferous opponent of the ACS, arguing that the primary interest of free blacks was in their elevation in the land of their birth as well as the “emancipation of their brethren in bondage.” He castigated those who would “conjure false dreams of paradise across the sea” and “impos[e] upon the public the foolish idea that we are longing to emigrate to their land of milk and honey” (Freedom’s Journal, July 6 1827, qtd. in Miller 84).

Yet, despite these assertions and for reasons that are not clear, he changed his position on emigration and accepted an offer from the ACS to sponsor his voyage to Liberia. [4] He claimed to have read every article he could find, both for and against the ACS, and eventually concluded that it was a “mere waste of words to talk of ever enjoying citizenship in [the United States]. It is utterly impossible in the nature of things: all therefore who pant for this must cast their eyes elsewhere” (Freedom’s Journal, February 14 1829). While not dismissing the claims of Haiti, he felt that there was no place that the black American could look to “as naturally as Africa.” Only there could he “walk forth in all the majesty of his creation…a new born creature—a Free Man” (Russwurm qtd. in James, “The Wings” 132 [emphasis in original]).

His immediate impressions of the colony were highly favourable, remarking, “it is so pleasing to behold men who formerly groaned under oppression, walking in the dignity of human nature, feeling and acting like men who had some great interest at stake” (Russwurm qtd. in James, The Struggles 202). The great interest, according to Russwurm, was the foundation of a republic, modelled on the one he had just left but making real the virtues of liberty and equality. In his inaugural editorial of the Liberia Herald in 1830 he proclaimed, “we are pilgrims in search of liberty and it is our duty to profit from the wisdom of those who have gone before us” (Russwurm qtd. in James, The Struggles 218). The ensuing article makes it clear that “those who have gone before” are the American Pilgrim Fathers. He echoed the sentiments of the ACS who described Liberia as “a city on a hill,…a renewal on the African shore of the splendid drama enacted [in New England] two centuries before” (“Proceedings of the ACS, 1834” qtd. in Guyatt 999). He especially commended his fellow colonists for the dignity with which they carried out their public duties and wrote, “we have here a Republic in miniature” (Russwurm qtd. in James, The Struggles 216). In 1836 he moved to the newest settlement in Liberia, Maryland, established in Cape Palmas by Maryland State Colonization Society (MSCS), where he became the first black governor of a colony in Africa.

Russwurm was succeeded in 1835 as editor of the Liberia Herald by Hilary Teage, who, in the words of a contemporary, made the single greatest contribution to the “framing and establishment” of the Liberian nation (Maryland Colonization Journal, 1853 72). Through his writings in many genres, including public orations, poems and hymns, newspaper articles and editorials, as well as the Liberian Declaration of Independence, he set about defining the nature of Liberian identity and promulgated the founding myths of Liberia.

In 1846, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the colony, Teage delivered an oration which mythologised the events surrounding it: the safe arrival on land at Cape Mesurado, the ‘negotiation’ of a treaty with the local chiefs, and the quashing of resistance by the local indigenous peoples (“Oration”). He adopts the discourse of the ACS in positioning the settlers within the framework of the colonisation of America, which would have been familiar to his listeners. He elaborates on Russwurm’s categorisation of the settlers as ‘pilgrims’ which allows him to make a special claim for the difference between the Liberian colony and most other colonial ventures, a point he elucidated in the Declaration of Independence: “Liberia is not the offspring of ambition, nor the tool of avaricious speculation. No desire for territorial aggrandisement brought us to these shores” (“Declaration of Independence, 1847” qtd. in Huberich 1:145). They were, as Russwurm had explained “pilgrims in search of liberty.”

Said points out that all official imperial discourse says “that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilise, bring order and democracy and it uses force only as a last resort” (xvi). Despite Teage’s pleading that the settlers were mere “pilgrims,” his account of the foundation of the colony follows a pattern reminiscent of earlier colonial settlements, from the “purchase” of land from the local chief for rum, firearms, and trinkets, to the planting of the flag and the prayers of thanksgiving. Although the colony had not been formally sponsored by the American government, the planting of the American flag as the immigrants “took solemn possession of the land in the name of virtue, humanity and religion,” mark it as unmistakeably American (Teage, “Oration” 20). In the midst of the solemn act of implanting the flag of civilisation, the settlers faced “an ancient wilderness, rank and compacted by the growth of a thousand years, unthinned and unclaimed by a single stroke of a woodsman’s axe” (Teage, “Oration” 20). Teage employs the familiar image of the empty landscape awaiting the energising power of the newly arrived settlers. While this passage describes an empty wilderness, he goes on to describe the settlers’ first view of the indigenous villages where “the ignorant native [had] erected his rude habitation or, savage as his patrimonial wilderness, celebrated his votive gifts to Demons” (Teage, “Oration” 20). In a hymn written by Teage depicting the Manichean struggle between the virtue of the settlers and the vice of the indigenous people, he utilises the familiar trope of the African savage, highlighting paganism, nakedness, and cannibalism, the combination of “apparently disparate traits that [form] a ‘syndrome’ common in Western literature” (Hammond and Jablow 36).

Their Gods of wood and stone they trust
To give success in fight
the warrior and the stupid priest
To murder here unite.
We were beset by those around
Who craved to drink our blood
Whose malice, hatred knew no bound
whose hearts devoid of love. (Teage, “Hymn” 231)

Teage depicts the victory of the small band of settlers over the vastly superior numbers of “natives” as a sign of God’s favour. While he professes to regret the loss of life due to the “superiority of the cannon,” he believes that the day will be remembered for “higher and nobler virtues,” the triumph of civilization over savagery and of Christianity over paganism (Teage, “Oration” 22). He exhorts his audience to remember and replicate the virtues of the first settlers—their piety, heroism and self-sacrifice—in the construction of a Christian, republican nation, built according to the ideals of the American Founding Fathers.

Teage had campaigned actively for a separate nationality and independence for the colony, which became a commonwealth in the 1830s. In the midst of protracted efforts by the British to clarify the legal status of Liberia vis-à-vis the United States, the settlers asserted their right to speak for themselves. Teage issued a clarion call to his audience to assert their right to become a free, self-governing black nation:

Fellow citizens! We stand now on ground never occupied by a people before – However insignificant we may regard ourselves, the eyes of Europe and America are upon us, as a germ destined to burst from its enclosure in the earth … rise, fellow citizens! Rise to a clear and full perception of your tremendous responsibilities … you are to give the answer, whether the African race is doomed to interminable degradation. (Teage, “Oration” 37)

Teage’s positioning of Liberia as an exemplar of Negro capacity for self-government, the final and incontrovertible proof of their equality within the human family, echoes the discourse of pro-colonisationists in the United States. A few years previously, a speaker before the Maryland State Colonization Society stated:

The moment one city, one single city of free civilized Christian blacks, is placed near the equator, on the western coast of Africa, then the mighty prize is won! From that instant, the whole problem in all its complexity and vastness as to the black race is solved. The slave trade dies, the civilization and conversion of Africa is fixed; the destiny of the race of Ham is redeemed; the equatorial region of the earth reclaimed; and the human race itself launched into a new and glorious career. (Breckinbridge 141)

The achievement of Liberian independence (1847) occurred at a particular moment in history when monumental change was taking place throughout Europe. The rise of various nationalist movements prompted philosophical debates about nationhood. One influential idea emerged from European romanticism, specifically from the writings of Johann Herder and Johann Fichte. They argued for the need for a nation to embody politically the cultural distinctiveness of a race. Their work highlights the ‘naturalness’ of the nation and its rootedness in a particular land. Irish and Italian nationalists believed that the markers of nationhood were to be found in a shared language, literature, and philosophy (Hearn 13­-16). In Benedict Anderson’s formulation, nations are socially constructed, “imagined communities,” not the “determinate products of given sociological conditions such as language, or race or religion” (Chatterjee 214-225). The people of the community perceive themselves to be part of a specific group, holding an image of their affinity which, Anderson argues, is aided by the rise of “print capitalism” (Anderson 37).

How then can one characterise the nation of Liberia? In 1847 it comprised over 3,000 settlers from America and some 300 African ‘recaptives’ taken from slave ships whose origins lay mostly in the Congo-Angola regions or in Nigeria and who had experienced a different form of slavery from the Americans. In addition, the nation included 500 assimilated ‘natives’ and aspired to include up to 10,000 other ‘natives’ residing on lands claimed by the settlers, directly amenable to Liberian law. They did not share a common language, religion, culture or ethnicity.

In the opening lines of the Declaration, Teage’s “imagined community,” whom he calls the “people of Liberia,” are the “expatriates” of the United States, who for the reasons he enumerates were essentially driven into exile. In this sense, they constituted an American diaspora. They shared a history of dislocation, exclusion, and, in most cases, a recent experience of chattel slavery. They also shared a language, a religion, and an experience of living in a nineteenth-century liberal democracy. The “grand object” which at first brought them to Africa was the establishment of “a nation of colored people on the soil of Africa, adorned and dignified with the attributes of a civilized and Christian community,” the values they had brought with them from the United States (Fourteenth Annual Report 21).

Simultaneously and often paradoxically, Teage casts this American diaspora as an African one as well. Like many black colonisationists, he believed that American slaves had “not forfeited a right of inheritance of their fathers by being carried by force from their country” (Spring 157). He imagined the establishment of the Liberian Republic as the first step towards an Africa governed solely by blacks and urged European powers to “yield the direction of affairs” to “intelligent colored men” who would transform existing European colonies into “an African Government” (Mills 79). Despite his dismissal of local African tribes as “savages,” he insisted that Africa had a glorious past and, in a famous hymn that inspired later generations of black nationalists, called “Land of the Mighty Dead,” he urged his audience to “retake [their] fame.” He enshrined in the constitution the idea that race should be the essential arbiter of nationhood, by restricting the ownership of property, and therefore the possibility of obtaining citizenship, to members of the “colored race.”

At the same time as he seemed to promote a concept of racial unity by presenting Liberia as a black nation, the Constitution made it clear that only the “westernised” black person would be admitted into the new republic. Since the American settlers regarded themselves as pre-destined to redeem their African brethren from the deep degradation into which they had fallen, both “recaptives” and indigenous people were forced to relinquish their old way of life if they wished to become Liberian citizens. The Constitution required their sworn testimony, attested to “by three creditable and disinterested persons” that they had, over a three-year period, “abandoned all the forms, customs and superstitions of heathenism…and conformed to all the forms, customs and habits of a civilized life” (Huberich 2:866).

The many commentators on Liberian life remarked, often mockingly, on the various ways that the settlers clung to their American identity. From the outset, their clothes, their private and public buildings, their religious worship, and the name they chose for themselves, Americo-Liberians, provided “critical points of cultural orientation and differentiation from the other groups with whom they shared the territory” (Lubkemann 127). The exaggerated form of their mimicry seemed to point not just to a need to assert their distinctiveness, but also to a concern that, since they were surrounded by what they regarded as the atavistic forces of Africa, they could easily slip into primitivism: “the colony had America in its eyes while it turned its back on Africa; though it was necessarily in Africa, it was preferably not of it” (Sanneh 15).

The language of the founding documents of Liberia echoes the language of the American Founding Fathers. The text follows the structure of Jefferson’s Declaration and there are “clear similarities in motivation, language and form” (Armitage 4). The ideals and aspirations of the American document are replicated in Teage’s; yet, paradoxically, while flattering the American by imitating him closely, Teage also highlights the failures of Jefferson’s high-minded sentiments. If his words had been realised in practice there would, of course, have been no need for the colony of Liberia. The Liberian political elite hoped to create a Christian republic, modelled on the United States, but without its failings: in the words of the president of the Constitutional Convention, “a purer form of government than any now found, even in the United States” (Benedict 324).

Teage reiterates the rhetoric of the ACS, which stressed the domesticating nature of colonization, of which the reclamation of black manhood was a central theme. Only in Liberia could the black man be regenerated, by recovering his role as father to his children while planting the seeds of liberty and republicanism. The future, as imagined by Teage, lay in the creation of a rural idyll, an agrarian society conceived along Jeffersonian lines. His greatest intellectual debt in formulating his vision of the ideal society was to Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia: according to Marx “nowhere in [American] literature is there a more appealing, vivid or thorough statement of the case for the pastoral ideal” (118).

Teage’s evocation of the Liberian idyll follows closely on this tradition. It is constructed on the opposition between a commercial society and an agrarian one. Even-though the colony was less than thirty years in existence at the time of independence, the majority of the settlers, including Teage himself, had already opted for a life of trade and commerce in preference to a life on the farm. Many of the free people of colour were from urban backgrounds with no experience of farming and those settlers recently freed from plantations seemed to show no attachment to the land or to think of farm labour as anything other than backbreaking and humiliating.

In his “Oration,” Teage insists that “virtue and independence [are] to be measured by the pursuit of the wholesome and pleasing and primitive employment of agriculture and husbandry” and that “no nation can be independent which subsists wholly by commerce.” He follows a long-standing tradition that celebrates the countryside over the town or city. He sets forth an image of an industrial space (none such existed in Liberia, of course) as a hellish place, characterised by “bustle, confusion, vice, general dependency and poverty.” By contrast, he invests the countryside with positive values of “quiet, tranquillity, order, virtue and plenty” (Teage, “Oration” 32). He exhorts his listeners to take up “the sacred plough,” not just to redeem the land but to redeem themselves. He rhapsodises the life of the farmer:

Behold the farmer as he goes forth in the morning to his daily task; how firm and elastic his step; how cheerful his sun-burnt countenance; how active his athletic arm! Behold how cheerfully he labours; how the fat valleys around him leap with corn; how the spacious plains teem with grain and the ancient forests fall beneath the resounding axe. (Teage, “Oration” 32)

The landscape depicted here is an idealised and imaginary American one: a quiet, empty land of forests and prairies awaiting the cultivating arm and axe of the white man. This process was already well under way in the United States by the 1840s. In keeping with the American pastoral tradition, Teage completes the tableau of what looks like an American frontier family: “the affectionate frugal wife, unsophisticated by the vices and dissipations of the fashionable world and prattling progeny, blooming in health” (“Oration” 34).

The vision of a Liberian nation, promulgated by Teage, was a replica of the United States. While he was eulogised after his death as the outstanding Liberian of his generation, the “chiefest luminary in our political sky,” he remained at heart a Virginian, as is evidenced in a wistful piece he wrote in relation to one of the newer settlements in Liberia: “New Virginia is looking up. We trust we love all mankind…but somehow we do love Virginia and Virginians. How strange that we should love a place that despises us and casts us out. Well, let New Virginia copy all in the old that is good and reject the bad” (Teage, Liberia Herald, November 24 1848 8).

At the end of the nineteenth century, W.E.B. Du Bois described the existential condition of the black person in America who inevitably “finds himself at a crossroads” where he has to face the question: “What, after all, am I? Am I an American or am I a Negro? Can I be both?” (83). The freeborn immigrants to Liberia half a century earlier felt it was not possible to be both in the United States of America. However, they transported the rhetoric of the American Founding Fathers to Africa; in the process, the descendants of slaves who had become known simply as Africans in America became Americans in Africa, “an integral, if not yet well-understood dimension of the transnational scope of ‘American’ identity in the nineteenth century” (Powell 127).



[1] Given Teage’s prominence in the transition from ACS colony to Liberian nation, it is difficult to account for his neglect by historians and colonial/postcolonial scholars. Carl Patrick Burrowes has written on Teage’s Christian Republicanism in ‘“In Common with Colored Men I have Certain Sentiments’: Black Nationalism and Hilary Teage of the Liberia Herald.” Burrowes is also listed as the author of Black Christian Republicanism: The Writings of Hilary Teage, Founder of Liberia. However, this work is still forthcoming.

[2] An anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection took place in the French colony of Saint Domingue in 1791. It culminated in the declaration of the Republic of Haiti in 1804. Its leaders, especially Toussaint L’Ouverture, were a source of inspiration to many blacks in the United States.

[3] James (The Struggles 3) points out that Russwurm is “almost completely missing from the annals of the Pan-African movement,” unknown and unremembered in his native Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean and absent from the history of the region.

[4] His biographer believes that, while no “catalyst can be identified” to explain his change of heart, it is most likely that he, as a highly educated and cultivated man, “simply found the degradation unendurable” (James, The Struggles 45).


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Image credit: “Presidential Standard of Liberia”, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.