American Colonization Society

Drawing of [[Paul Cuffe The American Colonization Society (ACS), originally known as the Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America until 1837, was founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to encourage and support the migration of free people of color to the continent of Africa.

The American Colonization Society was founded in response to what was seen as a growing social problem: what to do with free Blacks. The number of free people of color grew steadily following the American Revolutionary War, from 60,000 in 1790 to 300,000 by 1830. Slaveowners feared that these free Blacks might help their slaves to escape or rebel. In addition, many white Americans believed that African Americans were an inferior race, and, therefore, should be relocated to a place where they could live in peace, a place where they would not encounter prejudice, a place where they could be citizens.

The African-American community and the abolitionist movement overwhelmingly opposed the project. In most cases, African Americans' families had lived in the United States for generations, and their prevailing sentiment was that they were no more African than white Americans were European. Contrary to claims which stated that their emigration was voluntary, many African Americans, both free and enslaved, were pressured into emigrating. Indeed, enslavers sometimes manumitted their slaves on condition that the freedmen leave the country immediately.

According to historian Marc Leepson, "Colonization proved to be a giant failure, doing nothing to stem the forces that brought the nation to Civil War." Between 1821 and 1847, only a few thousand African Americans, out of millions in the US, emigrated to what would become Liberia. By 1833 the Society had transported to the future Liberia 2,769 individuals, while the increase in Black population in the U.S. during those same years was about 500,000. Close to half of them died from tropical diseases. In addition, the transportation of the emigrants to the African continent, including the provisioning of requisite tools and supplies, proved very expensive.

Starting in the 1830s, the Society was met with great hostility from white abolitionists, led by Gerrit Smith, who had supported the Society financially, and William Lloyd Garrison, author of ''Thoughts on African Colonization'' (1832), in which he proclaimed the Society a fraud. According to Garrison and his many followers, the Society was not a solution to the problem of American slavery—it actually was helping, and was intended to help, to preserve it. Provided by Wikipedia
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    Published 1818
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    Published 1829
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    by Duncan, Mary Grey Lundie
    Published 1852
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