An organization founded late in 1816
by Robert Finley
as an attempt to improve the lot of freed black slave
s in America
by sending them to Africa
, the assumption being that they could not live among white people
in this country (an assumption shared by modern day white supremacist
s). Finley's organization fused the common interests of two nearly diametrically opposed
groups, moderate abolitionist
s and slaveowner
These two groups, while disagreeing vehemently on the matter of slavery, were agreed on the issue of free blacks: "You ain't gotta go home, but you got to get the hell out of here." Neither faction wanted free blacks in this country, for different reasons. The abolitionists generally thought that blacks would face intractable racism and would never be accepted by the vast majority of whites. The slaveowners generally thought free blacks were a menace to society, fearing a revolt, ala Nat Turner and John Brown, with some aid or inspiration from free blacks, or competition with white in the labor market by free blacks, a twist on the rationale behind the Missouri Compromise. In December of 1816, a group of powerful men, including James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay met to adopt a constitution. They eventually sold memberships and successfully lobbied Congress for $100,000 to colonize a section of Africa near Sierra Leone.
The Society encouraged its members to only free their slaves under the condition that they leave the country. They even provided free passage to Africa. There, they taught the new immigrants to duplicate portions of American government in the new settlement of Liberia, complete with a constitution and a flag of Stars and Stripes, well, one star anyway. The new "Africans" also wrote a form of Apartheid into the constitution and reserved many rights, including those to property, to Americo-Liberians. Naturally, the natives were none too pleased and the unjustly created and unjustly maintained nation has endured years of bloodshed.
The ACS is pretty good evidence that unholy alliances nearly always produce undesireable results.