Constitution and Government.—The Republic of Liberia had its origin in the efforts of several American philanthropic societies to make permanent provision for freed American slaves by establishing them in a colony on the West African coast. In 1822 a settlement was formed on the west coast of Africa near the spot where Monrovia now stands. On 26 July. 1847, the state was constituted as the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia. The new state was first recognized by Great Britain and France, and ultimately by other powers. The constitution of the Republic is modelled on that of the United States. The executive is vested in a President and Cabinet, and the legislative power in a legislature of 2 Houses, called the Senate (10 members) and the House of Representatives (31 members). The President is elected for 8, the House of Representatives for 4 and the Senate for 6 years. Under legislation enacted in 1949, the President may be re-elected for a period of 4 years The President must be a citizen of the Republic by birth or a naturalized citizen of over 25 years’ residence and have unencumbered real estate to the value of $2,500. Electors must be of negro blood and owners of land. The natives of the country are not excluded from the franchise, but, except in the centres of civilization, take little part in political life. By the end of 1945, legislation was passed granting manhood suffrage to the natives in the 3 hinterland provinces, which will be represented in the legislature by one member each. In 1947 the franchise was extended to women.
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Books of Reference
- Allen (V. N.), I Found Africa. London, 1940.Google Scholar
- Brown (G. W.), The Economic History of Liberia. Washington, 1941.Google Scholar
- Donner (Etta), Hinterland Liberia. London, 1939.Google Scholar
- Greenwall (H. J.) and Wild (R.), Unknown Liberia. London, 1936.Google Scholar
- Buberich (C. H.), The Political and Legislative History of Liberia. 2 vols. New York, 1947.Google Scholar
- Schwab (G.), Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland. Harvard, 1947.Google Scholar
- Wilson (C. M.), Liberia. New York, 1947.Google Scholar