President Arthur Barclay (1904-1912)
Americo-Liberian – tribal relations

The prevailing view of Americo-Liberians with respect to their tribal compatriots continued to be one of contempt and superiority. The latter were still referred to as “wild savages” and “uncivilized population”. The highest authority in the Republic, the President, formed no exception in this respect, as he demonstrated in his 1908 Annual Message. This may appear strange since only during the Administration of the same President Barclay the tribal people were granted citizenship, 60 years after the founding of the republic. However, this citizenship was granted for fear of (further) French encroachments upon the republic’s territory. By granting citizenship to the tribal people of the Hinterland the settler Government’s protection of the territory it claimed turned into a defense of its citizens. In reality, little changed. Only formal citizenship was granted. Active participation in the affairs of the country was not made possible or encouraged.

Concluding note

President Arthur Barclay



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