Today, July 26, 2013 is marked by Liberians as their country 166 years of independence and are celebrating in their country and every segment of the earth outside the circumference of their motherland where they reside or find as a home-away from-home. The rest of the world also joins this tiny West African nation in celebrating its Independence. As customary, the comity of nations will send congratulatory messages to the Liberian leader and people wishing Liberia and its people the best as they celebrate their 166 years of independence.
The country’s official Independence Day celebration is taking place in three political sub-divisions, with the nerve-center of activities being held at the city of Gbapolu, few miles away from Monrovia, the seat of government. But the questions to Liberians and the rest of the world are;
Does the Declaration of Independence of Liberia written in 1847 actually a serious and valid instrument consistent with the precepts of international law and international relations at the time and now befitting of the ‘Doctrine of Independence’?
Are Liberians originally from North America (United States) as the Declaration claims?
Was the land now call Liberia originally discovered and occupied by immigrants from the United States in 1822?
Were Liberians ever debarred of their rights in the United States as the Declaration asserts?
Did the people the immigrants meet never deserve ownership of their own land?
Did the people the immigrants meet on the land now call Liberia originally came from America too?
Did the people the immigrants meet never regarded as “mankind” ?
Did and does a philanthropic and benevolent organization, like the American Colonization Society (ACS), a non -state actor could and can establish a sovereign nation in coherence with international law and international relations?
Were there never an organized African government, system, culture, leadership, and society within the land now call Liberia before the coming of the immigrants to Liberia?
Were the coming of the immigrants to what is now Liberia the first encounter of the African people with the Western world and people?
Were the American Colonization Society and Americans the first people from the Western world to reach Liberia?
If there was never a country, government, leadership, culture, and organized society, how did the immigrants purchase the land they said they bought from the lords of the land as they claimed?
How can a Declaration be condescending to the very land and people it seeks to be a symbol and sovereignty of?
Which foreign sovereign country once occupied the land now call Liberia and ruled with that sovereign power’s representative administrator governing and taxes paid to?
Which foreign sovereign power relinquished the control of Liberia and gave back for self-governance again for which Independence was declared?
The fifteen cornerstones enunciated above constitute the anatomy of the Liberian nation and form the basis of the DNA of the statehood of the country, which disappointingly is the foundation of the century-old troubles of this oldest African nation which the Berlin Conference of 1888 to petition Africa never holistically co-opted for plunder like the rest of all other African states.
In the first place, for a country to declare Independence means that that country was under the control of a foreign sovereign power which administered control of the territory and controlled all economic activities and taxes paid to, and that foreign power was relinquishing control of the country for self -governance again. Under international law and international relations, a philanthropic and benevolent institutions or non-state actors can not form a sovereign nation neither can it occupy and administer and control a territorial domain as a sovereign nation. Only a sovereign people and country can form a sovereign nation and or occupy and administer governance of a country it seizes, and taken for the purpose of ruling.
From the glimpse of how a sovereign nation and Independence can be invoked, the American Colonization Society (ACS), a philanthropic, benevolent, and religious organization as well as a non-state actor could not form a sovereign state, neither could it had seized and administered another sovereign state and or labeled and collected taxes from commerce and economic activities transpiring within a territorial domain. The American Colonization therefore, could not had had the legal authority or met the requirements within jurisprudence, international law, and international relations now and then, to had granted Independence to Liberia and Liberia subsequently declaring that Independence or self- governance again.
The Liberian Declaration of Independence, a document which should be sacred and revered because it symbolizes and represents the embodiment of a nation, carrying the reflexes of all of its people is dishearteningly a shameful and deceptive exclusionary piece of worthless paper hidden in the dungeon of time which Liberians don’t even know exist and interestingly, do not know a single word of but can ironically, cite almost the entire American Declaration of Independence. Liberia Declaration of Independence is so embarrassing, so much so, that it has lost into oblivion and never thought of ever existing as it described Liberians as been originally from the United States of North America. The Declaration also absconds the land Liberia- it called it, the “barbarous” land- condescending.
The Declaration does not inculcate other Liberians the immigrants met upon arrival, the owners of the land, Liberians who paid them host and African gesture accorded. The Americans and the American Colonization Society were the last to arrive to the land now call Liberia; before their coming, the Dutch, Germans, British, and Spanish were in contact with Africans and traded and paid tariffs to the African government they met. These Europeans respected the authority the African government, kings, and chiefs who ruled the confederate kingdoms. Trading posts were established and running way in the 15 century before the late coming of the Americans. Liberians were living in upstairs buildings and gated communities as well as mining their own salt and selling, as the people of Rivercess were known to be the epic center of salt mining before the arrival of the immigrants.
The Independence of Liberia as shamefully woven in the Declaration of Independence which a typical Liberian does not know exist, after 166 years of myth, was the biggest lie ever told because Liberia’s Independence is a deception far from the dictates of the ‘Doctrine of Independence’ and ‘Sovereignty’. Liberia’s Independence does not have any legal basis of life but a scam that must be corrected and a national discussion must ensue rather than an entire country and people living by lie and unequivocally being a pivot for the country’s troubles and why it is yet to crawl since its inception in 1847.
Liberia has no need to lie to exist as a sovereign nation, there is no legal basis and doctrine that require that for a nation to exist as a sovereign nation it must have Independence either if not pragmatic as in the case of Liberia, it must be faked it by hook or crook.
Liberia is the only African nation that maintains its nationhood and a natural sovereign nation that was never colonized and sovereignty seized and controlled by foreign powers like the rest of all other African nations’ natural sovereignty were robbed by European greed partitioned by the 1888 Berlin Conference and later relinquished mostly in the 1960s after those African nations got fed up and demanded Independence. ‘July 26’ each year henceforth, should not be celebrated as ‘Independence Day’ but ‘National Day’, it should be celebrated as the beginning of the modern Liberian nation which evolved out of the coming together of several lose African Confederacies into a one a sovereign Republic- a natural evolution predicated on natural progression and not the fallacy of the immigrants’ imagination. This new route will be inclusive of the entire Liberian melting pot and consequently be the rally point of Liberian identity, a unique treasure no other African country possesses.
For all the reasons capitulated earlier, Liberia’s Declaration of Independence is the biggest lie ever told and the only country in the world whose sovereignty and existence is based on lies. IT MUST BE CORRECTED, GOING FORWARD.
J K K Peah
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF LIBERIA.
A Declaration of Independence by the Representatives of the People of the Commonwealth of Liberia in Convention Assembled. July 16, 1847 . We, the representatives of the people of the commonwealth of Liberia, in convention assembled, invested with the authority of forming a new government, relying upon the aid and protection of the Great Arbiter of human events, do hereby in the name and on behalf of the people of this commonwealth, publish and declare the said commonwealth a free, sovereign, and independent state, by the name and title of the Republic of Liberia.
While announcing to the nations of the world the new position which the people of this Republic have felt themselves called upon to assume, courtesy to their opinion seems to demand a brief accompanying statement of the causes which induced them, first to expatriate themselves from the land of their nativity and to form settlements on this barbarous coast, and now to organize their government by the assumption of a sovereign and independent character. Therefore, we respectfully ask their attention to the following facts:
We recognize in all men certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the right to acquire, possess, enjoy, and defend property. By the practice and consent of men in all ages, some system or form of government is proved to be necessary to exercise, enjoy, and secure their rights, and every people have a right to institute a government, and to choose and adopt that system, or form of it, which in their opinion will most effectively accomplish these objects, and secure their happiness, which does not interfere with the just rights of others. The right, therefore, to institute government and powers necessary to conduct it is an inalienable right and cannot be resisted without the grossest injustice.
We, the people of the Republic of Liberia , were originally inhabitants of the United States of North America.
In some parts of that country we were debarred by law from all rights and privileges of man – in other parts, public sentiment, more powerful than law, frowned us down.
We were excluded from all participation in the government.
We were taxed without our consent.
We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country which gave us no protection.
We were made a separate and distinct class, and against us every avenue of improvement was effectively closed. Strangers from other lands, of a color different from ours, were preferred before us.
We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or only met by alleging the peculiar institutions of the country.
All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished in our bosoms, and we looked with anxiety for some asylum from the deep degradation.
The western coast of Africa was the place selected by American benevolence and philanthropy for our future home. Removed beyond those influences which oppressed us in our native land, it was hoped we would be enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges and exercise and improve those faculties which the God of nature has given us in common with the rest of mankind.
Under the auspices of the American Colonization Society, we established ourselves here, on land, acquired by purchase from the lords of the soil.
In an original compact with this society, we, for important reasons, delegated to it certain political powers; while this institution stipulated that whenever the people should become capable of conducting the government, or whenever the people should desire it, this institution would resign the delegated power, peacefully withdraw its supervision, and leave the people to the government of themselves.
Under the auspices and guidance of this institution which has nobly and in perfect faith redeemed its pledge to the people, we have grown and prospered.
From time to time our number has been increased by immigration from America , and by accession from native tribes; and from time to time, as circumstances required it, we have extended our borders by the acquisition of land by honorable purchase from the natives of the country.
As our territory has extended and our population increased our commerce has also increased. The flags of most civilized nations of the earth float in our harbors, and their merchants are opening an honorable and profitable trade. Until recently, these visits have been of a uniformly harmonious character; but as they have become more frequent and to more numerous points of our extended coast, questions have arisen which, it is supposed, can be adjusted only by agreement between sovereign powers.
For years past, the American Colonization Society has virtually withdrawn from all direct and active part in the administration of the government, except in the appointment of the governor, who is also a colonist, for the apparent purpose of testing the ability of the people to conduct the affairs of government, and no complaint of crude legislation, nor of mismanagement, nor of mal-administration has yet been heard.
In view of these facts, this institution, the American Colonization Society, with that good faith which has uniformly marked all its dealings with us did by a set of resolutions in January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, dissolve all political connections with the people of this Republic, returned the power with which it was delegated, and left the people to the government of themselves.
The people of the Republic of Liberia , they, are of right, and in fact, a free, sovereign, and independent state, possessed of all the rights, powers, and functions of government.
In assuming the momentous responsibilities of the position they have taken, the people of this republic feel justified by the necessities of the case, and with this conviction they throw themselves with confidence upon the candid consideration of the civilization of the world.
Liberia is not the offspring of ambition, nor the tool of avaricious speculation.
No desire for territorial aggrandizement brought us to these shores; nor do we believe so sordid a motive entered into the high consideration of those who aided us in providing this asylum. Liberia is an asylum from the most grinding oppression.
In coming to the shores of Africa, we indulged the pleasing hope that we would be permitted to exercise and improve those faculties which impart to man his dignity; to nourish in our hearts the flame of honorable ambition; to cherish and indulge these aspirations which a beneficent Creator had implanted in every human heart, and to evince to all who despise, ridicule, and oppress our race that we possess with them a common nature; are with them susceptible of equal refinement, and capable to equal advancement in all that adorns and dignifies man. We were animated by the hope that here we should be at liberty to train up our children in the way that they should go; to inspire them with the love of an honorable fame; to kindle within them the flame of a lofty philanthropy, and to form strongly within them the principles of humanity, virtue, and religion.
Amongst the strongest motives to leave our native land – to abandon forever the scenes of our childhood and to sever the most endeared connections – was the desire for a retreat where, free from the agitation of fear and molestation, we could approach in worship the God of our fathers.
Thus far our highest hopes have been realized. Liberia is already the happy home of thousands who were once the doomed victims of oppressions; and, if left unmolested to go on with her natural and spontaneous growth, if her movements be left free from the paralyzing intrigues of jealous ambition and unscrupulous avarice, she will throw open wider and yet a wider door for thousands who are now looking with an anxious eye for some land of rest.
Our courts of justices are open equally to the stranger and the citizen for the redress of grievances, for the remedy of injuries, and for the punishment of crime.
Our numerous and well-attended schools attest our efforts and our desire for the improvement of our children. Our churches for the worship of our Creator, everywhere to be seen, bear testimony to our acknowledgment of His providence.
The native African bowing down with us before the altar of the living God, declares that from us, feeble as we are, the light of Christianity has gone forth, while upon that curse of curses, the slave trade, a deadly blight has fallen, as far as our influence extends.
Therefore, in the name of humanity, virtue, and religion, in the name of the great God, our common Creator, we appeal to the nations of Christendom, and earnestly and respectfully ask of them that they will regard us with the sympathy and friendly considerations to which the peculiarities of our condition entitles us, and to that comity which marks the friendly intercourse of civilized and independent communities.
Written by Hilary Teage,
The signers of the Declaration of Independence were twelve representatives to the Constitutional Convention which convened in Monrovia on July 5, 1847:
Samuel Benedict, Hilary Teage, Elijah Johnson, John Naustehlau Lewis, Beverly R. Wilson and J.B. Gripon (Montserrado County); John Day, Amos Herring, Anthony William Gardiner and Ephriam Titler (Grand Bassa County); and Jacob W. Prout and Richard E. Murray (Sinoe County).