American Colonization Society Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is American Colonization Society?
The American Colonization Society (ACS) was an organization founded in 1816 in Washington, D.C. to promote and support the migration of free African Americans from the United States to the colony of Liberia in western Africa. The organization was formed out of a combination of humanitarian and religious motives, as well as political ideals centered on the idea that colonization away from America would improve the conditions for African Americans at home and abroad. Its members included prominent politicians such as James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay, but also included many abolitionists who saw it as a way to end slavery without disrupting Southern society or politics.At first, the ACS focused on helping free African Americans find passage to Liberia with money raised by donations from its members and other private donors; however, it soon expanded its mission to include lobbying for legislation that would encourage voluntary emigration by offering incentives like land grants or financial aid. To this end, Congress passed several acts over the course of three decades that provided support for colonization efforts through subsidies and loans. The most important of these acts was The Liberian Emigration Act of 1819 which authorized $100,000 to aid emigrants to Liberiathis amount was later increased to over $250k by Congress in 1824-1825. In addition to supporting emigration financially through these legislative acts, the ACS also sent representatives overseas who helped establish governance structures within Liberia based upon American principles like democracy and equality under lawalthough there were still strict racial divisions between settlers from Europe/America (who were considered citizens) and native Africans (who were denied citizenship). This two-tiered system led some critics to argue that colonization essentially amounted to re-instituting slavery under another name since African Americans settlers had very little power within this new government structure. Despite these criticisms thoughwhich began even before Liberia declared independence in 1847the ACS remains one of the most successful 19th century organizations devoted towards aiding people in need though voluntary immigration/emigration efforts.