- Mar 7, 2009
Lincoln wanted the slaves free, but thought they ought to leave the country and settle in Liberia. A lot of them objected to that because their ancestors had been in this country, sometimes longer than those of the whites.
Lincoln originally was a somewhat ardent supporter of voluntary colonization because he believed that blacks would never get a fair shake due to heavy discrimination by whites in this country. After the 1863 Ile-a-Vache fiasco his support began to waiver although Benjamin Butler claims that Lincoln spoke to him about colonizing the freedmen just days before the President's assassination.
The African Civilization Society (ACS) was an organization that promoted black colonization among some of its goals and it established the black colony in Liberia during the early 1820's. The ACS's founders and membership included prominent black abolitionists and religious leaders such as Henry Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delaney, Rufus L. Perry, Richard H. Cain, Amos N. Freeman, and John Sella Martin. Even though the ACS had blacks as founders and members, colonization was an issue that still divided the black community. For example, during 1861 Frederick Douglass supported the General Agent of Emigration to Haiti, James Redpath, and his colonization efforts that led to more than a thousand Blacks from the United States settling in that country during the year. Even Douglass's assistant editor from his newspaper, William J. Watkins, was one of Redpath's recruiters. Just like Lincoln and his reaction to the Administration's experiment-gone-wrong in the Carribean, it also was one of the reasons that Frederick Douglass's interests in colonization changed and turned him adamantly against it.