Maryland State’s Civilizing Mission in Maryland in Liberia and John B. Russwurm

  • Amos J. Beyan


Russwurm’s involvement with the Maryland State Colonization Society (MSCS), that established the colony that became known as Maryland in Liberia in 18331 provides accounts of the ways in which he and the MSCS informed and determined each other activities. The accounts also shared light on why Russwurm responded to the MSCS initiative as he did.


Colonial Government Prominent Member Colonization Scheme West African Coast Free Black 
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  1. 1.
    For detailed analyses of Maryland State Colonization Society, especially how it established the settlement of Maryland in Liberia in 1833, see these studies: Penelope Campbell, Maryland in Africa: The Maryland State Colonization Society 1831–1857 (Chicago, 1971);Google Scholar
  2. Jane Martin, “The Dual Legacy: Government Authority Mission Influence Among the Glebo of Eastern Liberia, 1834–1910,” Ph. D. Dissertation, Boston University (1968) pp. 92–121;Google Scholar
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  7. 2.
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  8. 3.
    Meeting of Board of Managers of the Maryland State Colonization Society (MSCS), February 21, 1831, reel 1; Records of the Maryland State Colonization Society, hereafter cited as RMSCS, and the reel and reel’s number; and William Hoyt, “The Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society,” Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 22 (1937), pp. 247–271.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
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  13. 28.
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  14. 36.
    The Westernized and semi-Westernized and self-proclaimed Glebo leaders were not legitimate representatives of their people. Their new social and economic status mainly derived from their involvement with the Atlantic trade, and not from the traditional institutions of the region. Indeed, they, together with their Western allies, had modified such institutions to promote their narrowed material and social interests, and not the interests of their people. Their origin as a social class can be traced to the arrival of the Europeans on the coast of West Africa in the late fifteenth century. These Westernized and semi-Westernized Africans played a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade on the coast of West Africa, especially in the eighteenth century. For the details of the foregoing points, see the following works: Beyan, The American Colonization Society and the Creation of the Liberian State, 1822–1980, New York: Lanham, MD (1991) pp. 34–37; Beyan, “Transatlantic Trade and the Coastal Area of Pre-Liberia,” The Historian vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 767–568;Google Scholar
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  20. 38.
    Hall, from Cape Palmas, West Africa, February 9, 1834, to Latrobe, RMSCS, reel 2. Quoted in Samuel W. Laughon, “Administrative Problems in Maryland in Liberia, 1836–1851,” Journal of Negro History, vol. 26 (1941) p. 332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Amos J. Beyan 2005

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  • Amos J. Beyan

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