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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 136–150 | Cite as

British West Africa or ‘The United States of Africa’? Imperial pressures on the transatlantic anti-slavery movement, 1839–1842

  • Bronwen EverillEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper investigates the tensions between the American Colonization Society and Thomas Fowell Buxton’s African Civilisation Society. Despite their common purpose and the ostensibly humanitarian nature of their organisations, the two societies were never able to work together to pursue their common ends of promoting ‘Civilisation, Commerce, and Christianity’ through settlement in West Africa. The paper explores the nature of the public debate between American Colonization Society Secretary Ralph Gurley and African Civilisation Society founder Buxton, arguing that although anti-colonisation opinions in Britain and America did contribute to the division, the under-examined role of commercial and expansionist rivalries between the colonies of Sierra Leone and Liberia may have contributed substantially to a growth of imperial ambition in both organisations, thus limiting their willingness to cooperate in anti-slavery squadron activities along the coast or fundraising efforts in the metropoles.

Key words

American imperialism British imperialism anti-slavery Liberia Sierra Leone 

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St Cross and Nuffield CollegesOxford UniversityUK

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