What Was the American Colonization Society

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The goal of the American Colonization Society (ACS) was a two part program. The first goal was to help abolish slavery by offering that the United States pay the slaveholders if they allowed the slaves to go free. Their second goal was to see emancipated slaves and free African Americans to Africa. The ACS hoped that free and soon-to-be emancipated slaves would want to choose whether to stay in the United States or return back to Africa. Their second goal is the most discussed. The ACS figured that most slaveholders wouldn’t free their slaves because they thought doing so would increase the size of what they called a shiftless and dangerous free black class, also that free blacks could not be integrated into a White America. The ACS’s intent was focused mostly on purchasing and freeing slaves while paying for their passage back to the coast of West Africa. The ACS went to Monrovia, Liberia and negotiated with the local chiefs and acquired the area for colonization. The ACS’s plan of colonization was rejected, emphatically and early, by black leaders at the time. The black leaders believed that because they had been born in America considered themselves American as well because their fathers had fought and shed blood for American freedom and felt no connection to Africa. Henry Clay, a longtime supporter of colonization and a member of the ACS is quoted as saying; “There is a moral fitness in the idea of returning to Africa her children, whose ancestors have been torn from her by the ruthless hand of fraud and violence. Transplanted to a foreign land, they will carry back to their native soil the rich fruits of religion, civilization, law and liberty.” Hine, Darlene Clark, William C. Hine, and Stanley Harrold. The African-American Odyssey. 5th. Vol. 1. 2011. Pages 201-203 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/19587/American-Colonization-Society
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