Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God: A History of the True Whigs

Botoe
Thomas Nimene Botoe: 1953-56

The True Whigs often get painted as a North Western Islamic party vs the Patriotic Union's South Eastern Christian Base. This, obviously, is a simplification. The Vai newspaper 'The Commercial' often leaned PU thanks to their distrust of pan-africanism and there existed a decent True Whig base among the Chistian Kru, what began as the Twe wing of the party. Botoe was from that wing, a protégé of the grand old man of the Christian True Whigs, though he'd been too young to actually fight with Twe during the Occupation. And after nearly 20 years of domination by the Western Islamic Wing, the Kru felt it was their turn, and Botoe was elected unopposed.

The 1953 election had seen General Harper elected for the PU thanks to the pan African vote being split between Massaquoi and Ahmed Sékou Turé, the union leader from Northern Liberia running for the Socialists. Harper had made much of the supposed lack of patriotism of the True Whigs, a party who had invited in an American who'd never visited the country to become President, had been willing puppets during the French Occupation and now were hoping to have Liberia annexed into a West African super state that current Liberia would be less than a 20th off. With the emergence of men like Kwame Nkrumah in the Gold Coast and Modibo Keïta in the French Sudan, the unification of West Africa had suddenly become possible and a lot of Liberians began to seriously consider the realities of attaching themselves to the ex-colonies.

But, Pan-Africanism had, at this point, become a major part of the True Whig philosophy. They worried that if the nationalist PU party were in charge when independence of the European colonies happened, an opportunity of a generation could be missed. Botoe therefore reached out to Turé to discuss some kind of pact for the 1957 election. The exact reasons these talks collapsed is somewhat disputed, Botoe blamed Turé's unwillingness to compromise, Turé in return has said that the CIA talked to Botoe and convinced him not to ally himself with a communist. There is a general paranoia in left wing Liberian circles about the USA but certainly in the 1950s they were a powerful influence in the country and strongly anti-communist.

The USA had had soldiers based in Liberia since WWII and it was their most useful military base in West Africa. It was also a strong economic partner, with rubber and iron being bought in large qualities from Liberia, and oil to soon follow. In 1954, the USA began exporting their excess agriculture to Africa and Liberia, as the main recipient, received huge amounts of rice. This allowed for labour to be moved away from the rice fields and into more profitable export industries, which attracted increasing American private investment as private industries were set up to compete against the existing government owned mines and plantations.

The True Whigs, and the Socialists, were against widespread foreign investment and reliance on foreign food exports, a pan African state would be strong enough, Botoe argued, to be self reliant whereas an independent Liberia would always be much weaker than the USA. Botoe made other criticisms of Harper's economic policy too. Due to the 1947 constitution, it was the Kings who decided the economic policy of their districts and this often resulted in a fight to the bottom as Kings attempted to out bid each other for the prestige, and possibility for bribes, of foreign investment by offering lower taxes and wages. Foreign investment was therefore very unevenly spread and generally did not trickle down into wages.

This wasn't entirely Harper's fault, while the Government could control border tariffs and made trade deals with foreign powers on that basis, the 1947 constitution meant it didn't have the power to dictate economic conditions within the districts themselves and many True Whig districts simply refused to allow foreign investment. However because Citizenship was universal within Liberia, this didn't prevent neighbouring districts poaching their citizens, hence the large growth in Cities like Arthington, Bewerville and Harper City during this time period.

Harper also ran into controversy over those rice farmers who still remained. Traditional Liberian views on land ownership was that the land belonged collectively to the people of the polity who controlled it, rice farmers produced rice for that group in return for being allowed to use that land to produce rice. If someone did not produce rice to feed the people of that area, then they would need to pay rent to the group to compensate for the lost profits in terms of land use. In legal terms what this meant was the Chief would charge rent to foreigners who wished to use land for their own purposes but not to farmers who fed his own villages. This was one of the reasons why the provision of free food in soup kitchens was so ubiquitous, as part of that social contract that prevented them paying rent. By the 1930s, the majority of the rice was being sold to Monrovia and the other cities, with a small amount kept back to feed the locals as part of the feudal contract that allowed them to live there. But because most Liberian societies didn't have a system of private land ownership the land itself still belonged to the group, which in practice meant the chief and after the 1947 constitution, the King.

In 1955, with Rice becoming less valuable, there was an effort among certain Kings of Southern Districts to remove the farmers by in some cases asking for rent comparable to the value of the land and in other cases directly seizing the land. The farmers viewed this as a breech of the cooperative effort which had long being held up as the core of African culture and resisted both rent payment and evictions, leading to the Rice Riots. Harper, by all accounts, privately sympathised with the farmers but politically he had to be seen to help PU Kings against civil disorder and asked for neighbouring security forces to be sent in to restore order.

Reports of the bloodshed that followed permanently damaged Harper's standing. Botoe would have almost certainly won the 1957 election had he not died in 1956 of a heart attack. He is a tragic figure, an almost forgotten footnote in the story of the world's first democratically elected Female leader.
 
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Due to the 1947 constitution, it was the Kings who decided the economic policy of their districts and this often resulted in a fight to the bottom as Kings attempted to out bid each other for the prestige, and possibility for brides, of foreign investment by offering lower taxes and wages. Foreign investment was therefore very unevenly spread and generally did not trickle down into wages.
I think that you mean bribes here, because I recall something about polygamy being abolished earlier. But I could be wrong of course. My memory sometimes is a bit of a sieve. And we do get to see the first issues with the power of the kings. There is the race to the bottom that won't help labour conditions at all, but also the rice riots and the like that will be having a huge impact. Another issue of these independent economic policies is that some areas will become much wealthier than others, and that won't go well when they're basically asked to pay for the rest of the country (who they will see as backwards and lazy, just like everywhere else in the world).

In a way, it looks like the True Whigs will be lucky to avoid some of the issues that will inevitably arise if newly independent states want to join Liberia and suddenly have a huge influence on the country, if only because of their population. I don't think that they'll entirely avoid it, but they might at least miss some of the first steps there.

And the bit about the first democratically female leader also is very interesting. I don't know if she will follow immediately, but there is quite some time to go until the eighties when it happened OTL (I think that it was Iceland).
 
And the bit about the first democratically female leader also is very interesting. I don't know if she will follow immediately, but there is quite some time to go until the eighties when it happened OTL (I think that it was Iceland).
Indira Gandhi was democratically elected...at first. Well, more or less anyway. There was also Margaret Thatcher, though she came into power after Indira did.
 
Indira Gandhi was democratically elected...at first. Well, more or less anyway. There was also Margaret Thatcher, though she came into power after Indira did.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike won the 1960 election in Ceylon, which is the world's first in otl.

I think that you mean bribes here, because I recall something about polygamy being abolished earlier. But I could be wrong of course. My memory sometimes is a bit of a sieve. And we do get to see the first issues with the power of the kings. There is the race to the bottom that won't help labour conditions at all, but also the rice riots and the like that will be having a huge impact. Another issue of these independent economic policies is that some areas will become much wealthier than others, and that won't go well when they're basically asked to pay for the rest of the country (who they will see as backwards and lazy, just like everywhere else in the world).

In a way, it looks like the True Whigs will be lucky to avoid some of the issues that will inevitably arise if newly independent states want to join Liberia and suddenly have a huge influence on the country, if only because of their population. I don't think that they'll entirely avoid it, but they might at least miss some of the first steps there.

And the bit about the first democratically female leader also is very interesting. I don't know if she will follow immediately, but there is quite some time to go until the eighties when it happened OTL (I think that it was Iceland).
Ha, yes I did mean bribes. Thanks for proofreading, have edited. Polygamy however is very much not abolished. Blyden thought it was great and several of the presidents so far have been polygamists both otl and ttl.

But yes, first issues with the Kings showing. The True Whigs of course would say that the problem is with Harper's reckless wooing of foreign investment rather than the prefect constitution but yeah, it was very much a constitution written by a man whose family were Kings

Whether the True Whigs avoid the problems with pan-africanism in practice is going to be largely down to the results of the 1957 election. Those 4 years from 1958-62 was when african unity and federalism lived and died as an idea, in otl, when the casablanca bloc of increasing unity lost out to the monrovia bloc of nationalist independence. Which is why whether or not Monrovia is going to be one side or the other when those conversations happen is a big deal in terms of which wins. If you're a swing voter in 1957, you're going to have a good time.
 
One advantage Liberia has here is that it's relatively bigger, so a limited form of regional unity could still leave it as an influential voice inside of that bigger bloc. For example, from what I recall you've mentioned Guinea has about half of the area and population that it does IOTL because those areas were annexed from Liberian claims which the French didn't contest as strenuously ITTL. Thus, if Liberia federated with Guinea Liberia would be the dominant element of the federation, as opposed to the junior (of course, this might lead to Guinea opposing it).

Liberia also seems to have a more democratic and inclusive political system than IOTL, particularly when it comes to effectively including indigenous populations in politics. This makes inclusion of other African populations a bit more feasible and less likely to totally upset the apple cart than IOTL. So it seems like federalism might pay a bit more than it would have in reality.
 
One advantage Liberia has here is that it's relatively bigger, so a limited form of regional unity could still leave it as an influential voice inside of that bigger bloc. For example, from what I recall you've mentioned Guinea has about half of the area and population that it does IOTL because those areas were annexed from Liberian claims which the French didn't contest as strenuously ITTL. Thus, if Liberia federated with Guinea Liberia would be the dominant element of the federation, as opposed to the junior (of course, this might lead to Guinea opposing it).

Liberia also seems to have a more democratic and inclusive political system than IOTL, particularly when it comes to effectively including indigenous populations in politics. This makes inclusion of other African populations a bit more feasible and less likely to totally upset the apple cart than IOTL. So it seems like federalism might pay a bit more than it would have in reality.
All True and pertinent.

In terms of Democracy, by 1957 in OTL the true whigs had held the presidency for 79 years, opposition parties that did try and run against them were routinely harassed, locked up and killed and a lot of the elections were fixed. This Liberia has seen its fair share of vote fixing but has been running genuine contested elections for the vast majority of its history. Which means the next President is genuinely decided at the ballot box rather than in the masonic lodge.

In terms of being more inclusive, yes but more in practice than on paper. The whole point of this timeline is to get to majority rule earlier, the franchise was only extended to the interior residents in 1946 otl and only then to property owners. In TTL that happened in the 19th century. But by 1957, the laws aren't that different.

It's just there that this liberia has much more of a history of participation and actual presidents from the interior and so on. The Kings system complicates that, of course, which is part of the reason it exists so that future additions can be included but still kind of sealed off.
 
While it’s inevitable foe the evangelical Abrahamic religions to take over, any chance for traditional African religions to retain any sort of power in Liberia?
 
While it’s inevitable foe the evangelical Abrahamic religions to take over, any chance for traditional African religions to retain any sort of power in Liberia?
Not really. There are doubtless still lots of pagans and still lots of church/mosque visitors with household shrines. But in terms of power, converting to islam or christianity would be the first move of any ambitious person because of the doors it opens.

A district with a pagan elite could I suppose change that calculation locally but I'm not sure where one could be formed.
 
Is General Harper a real person? I can't find him
Alexander Harper, first chief of staff of the Liberian armed forces. OTL a figure mentioned in accounts of the conquest of the interior.

Mind if you have been googling every person I've mentioned so far, you must have gone some rabbit holes. Some are astoundingly obscure.
 
Mind if you have been googling every person I've mentioned so far, you must have gone some rabbit holes. Some are astoundingly obscure.
Not googling them too much, but have been making a list of all the presidents in this TL and when they served, including the ones before the start of the TL.
So far I have:
1. Joseph Jenkins Roberts 1848-1856
2. Stephen Allen Benson 1856-1864

3. Daniel Bashiel Warner 1864-1868
4. James Spriggs Payne 1869-1870

5. Edward James Roye 1870-1871

6. James Skivring Smith 1871
7. Hilary Richard Wright Johnson 1871-1872

8. Edward Wilmot Blyden 1872-1882
9. Benjamin Joseph Knight Anderson 1882-1890

10. Joseph James Cheeseman 1890-1894
11. Doblee Zeppey 1894-1898
12. Momulu Massaquoi 1898-1914

13. Henry Too Wesley 1914-1922
14. Gabriel Moore Johnson 1922

15. Marcus Garvey 1922-1926
16. Allen Yancy 1926-1930
17. Thomas Jefferson Richelieu Faulkner 1930-1936
18. Clarence Gray 1936-1938

19. Abdourahmane Sinkoun Kaba 1938-1946
20. Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi 1946-1954

21. Alexander Harper 1954-1958

Independent
Republican
True Whig
Christian
Patriotic Union
 
Sie
Hortense Sie: 1956-64 - The Trailblazer
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Liberians often make much of the history of women leaders within the Liberian interior. This is true but shouldn't be exaggerated. There undoubtedly was a history of important female leaders within the Liberian interior, there are many testified about during the pre republic era and Suah Koko was dominant politically during the era after the forming of Republic but solo female leaders such as these, while they existed, were still rare among the many many rulers of pre unification Libera. What was much more common was dual power structures, something that was common throughout the West African Coast, from Igboland to Dahomey and Ashanti. Even Suah Koko ruled alongside her grandson in her last years. What this normally meant was power shared between a male ruler and a female title holder, who was normally related to him in some ways, whether the wives who made up the government of Dahomey or the queen mother who held importance in Ashanti. Female lineage heads and titles existed and wielded real political power throughout Liberia and West African generally but normally within the same polities as male lineage heads and titles and of lesser importance. In particular, while female armed bodyguards were common further East, within Liberia male rulers tended to have a monopoly over the military and as military warfare increased during the 19th century, these male leaders became more dominant. This was not total, female war leaders did exist in the area, Nenge and Nyarroh of Sierra Leone are famous examples, but women were much more commonly land chiefs who were replaced by war chiefs during time of turmoil.

This 'separate structure' status of female leaders is perhaps best illustrated by the secret societies. The Poro and Sande, which men and women were initiated into as teenagers. Female Leaders of the Sande secret societies had huge power but only over the other women. The Poro societies for men were run by men. And while the clan based societies did see some loyalty from young men to their female elders, on an individual level, women were undoubtedly cast in an inferior position to men, with wives being submissive to their husbands and genital mutilation was common throughout the country, and almost universal in areas outside the influence of the Liberian Episcopal Church, until the 1970s.

The Liberian Presidency was seen, by the majority of the natives, as a male thing, helped by the fact that the Monrovian secret society, the free masons, was male only and where a lot of the politicking happened. This was clearly a Poro thing not a Sande thing. Even when the vote was extended to women in 1930, this mattered mostly to the women of Monrovia with the women of the interior largely not voting, either because their male counterparts would not allow them or because they viewed it as men's business, one of the reasons why the feared PU eternal domination thanks to women voters never happened. The Liberian elite was different, the Blyden schools had been teaching women since the 1870s and the daughters of chiefs were increasingly politically active, Fatima Massaquoi, most famously, would become the first 'King' of Galinas. The influence of the Garveyists also helped as while they were undoubtedly misogynistic in theory, they viewed that the job of women was to be mothers, in practice they recognised talent and had numerous women high up among their organisation. Women such as Amy Ashwood, Amy Jacques, Henrietta Davis and Mittie Gordon did much in Liberia to encourage other women into engaging with male politics. By 1956 there was a strong women's element within all three Political parties.

Thorgues Sie, Hortenses' father, had been a guerilla who had fought with Didwho Welleh Twe during the occupation. His wife and three year old daughter fled to Sierra Leone to avoid retaliation and were only reunited after Faulkner's victory and general pardon. Those years of hardship and the poverty that followed them played a big role in Hortense's, or Tee as she was known by her friends, development. She was determined to end such injustice and as soon as she was old enough joined the True Whig party of her father and his friends. She also remained in contact with the people in Sierra Leone who had taken in her mother and other refugees and was very much a Pan-Africanist at heart, believing that there was no reason for the people of Sierra Leone to be separated from their kin in Liberia by artificial borders. Elected to the Senate in 1949, at the age of only 26, Hortense would replace the dead Botoe in 1956, yet another young True Whig leader picked as a figurehead by the party elders whose machinations were largely bound up in preventing each other from gaining power. But she was also a way to hopefully bring out the female vote.

The 1957 Election was bitterly fought, because there was an awareness that the stakes were incredibly high. In 1956, a general election was held in the Gold Coast that saw Kwame Nkrumah's True Whigs, one of many new Anglophonic pan African parties which took the name of their ideological mentors, win the majority of the seats and pave the way for imminent independence. It was generally felt that is a West African union was going to be formed, it would be now.

Harper ran on the economy, on the booming export trade, on the foreign investment and on the resurgence of the Liberian dollar as the US government was accepting the Liberia currency for their rice sales and reusing that to pay labourers to build infrastructure within the country, thus restoring some confidence in the long discarded currency. Harper had even managed to get a new universal law past the Kings' Council which saw rights to print new currency reserved to the Monrovian bank to prevent a second inflationary crisis as each district printed more dollars. As more rice was coming in, the existing rice plantations could be replaced by private rubber plantations instead thus increasing the orders the government could meet. His government had hired the great African American advertising specialist, Moss H. Kendrix, to get Americans to invest in Liberia and it was paying off, this foreign investment provided the start up cash for local chiefs who would build a plantation and be able to sell that to the Liberian government who would then be able to up their commitments abroad. With the Voice of America propaganda station set up in Liberia reporting on this prosperous economic partnership every day, Harper's message sunk in.

But this economic prosperity was very unevenly spread, thanks in part to the district system, and was not something that had yet trickled down to wages. It had also come with the consequences of the rice riots and the evictions of rice farmers. Though Harper was privately sympathetic and wanted as many rice farmers maintained for the rubber plantations as possible, the bloodshed was blamed on him. Sie and the True Whigs ran on a 'buy African' counter campaign, with her making a point of eating locally grown rice on her visits to local towns looking for votes and driving there in her Liberian made motor car. The Blyden range of cars, produced in the True Whigs Vai stronghold were something of a gimmick. While it was true that Liberia had rubber, iron and oil to spare, they didn't have the experience or tools for a conveyer belt factory system and only a handful of cars were produced. Moreover the roads mostly weren't good enough, Sie's car kept breaking down while moving around the interior, and she had to have people in carts and on bicycles bringing her oil thanks to no system of filling stations. But it was an impressive gimmick and one that gathered her crowds wherever she drove. Liberians had seen cars before of course, the US army used them all the time, but not a Liberian built car.

This was the True Whig's sale pitch, the Americans would buy natural resources from Liberia sure but they wouldn't buy their industry, however the new country of Ghana would. Liberian cars and Liberian rice would find a captive market in their new union. African products, made by Africans and sold to Africans. It paid off and in 1957, Hortense Sie became the first democratically elected female leader in the world, three years ahead of Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon. Kwame Nkrumah was one of the first people to congratulate her, in a joint speech the two made to Accra in 1957, he said that the independence of Ghana was meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of the African continent. Sie and Nkrumah promised that the countries would move towards an economic and currency union, as precursors to an African common market, they also announced that the next Pan-African congress would be held in Accra, the first to be held inside Africa and yet outside Liberia and that they'd formed an alliance of mutual security.

No dates however were given for when this currency union would happen, though tariff free trade was established straight away, and political union wasn't mentioned at all in that speech because the two countries were structured very differently. Liberia was decentralised, with economic decisions made by the districts and had hoped for other countries to join in the same way, but Nkrumah wished to centralise Ghana and crush the power of regional groups and had no desire to give up central power. He viewed the Liberian system as one that encouraged tribalism and disunity with loyalty towards the district supplanting loyalty towards the state and preventing economic growth. Nkrumah could for instance increase taxes on the southern cocoa farmers when cocoa prices were high in order to fund projects in the North of the country but Sie could not.

Nkrumah and Sie had a great deal in common in terms of ideology and governance, both saw increases of government welfare in terms of education and healthcare during their reigns and both saw expansion of the nationalised industries to fund this but Sie's country had emerged naturally through an organic union of treaties, whereas Nkrumah had inherited a country stitched together by British conquest. Nkrumah was by nature far more authoritarian, he banned private media and, due to his distrust of the British educated juridical system, authorised detention without trial meaning that 'The Liberia Star' argued loudly that the True Whigs had bound them to an African Dictator in the model of the old Kings of Ashanti or Dahomey. He was also far more inclined to support the Communist bloc than the Liberians, tied largely to the USA, were and part of the reason for his authoritarianism was the knowledge that the CIA were plotting against him. Distrust thus went both ways, it was strongly rumoured that Nkrumah had privately hoped that Turé's socialists would win the 1957 election as the True Whigs were too closely allied to the USA for his liking.

But Ghana was also, in 1957, the only other independent country in West Africa. Nigeria would emerge in 1960, but their True Whigs party, led by Jaja Wachuku, would be affiliated with and subservient to the NCNC which emphasised Nigerian nationalism over pan-Africanism, Bankole Bright's True Whigs in Sierra Leone had done well in the 1957 legislative elections but had come second to the much more pro-British People's Party and independence would be delayed to 1961 anyway, Cham Jouf, of the Gambian True Whigs, would be much less successful and Gambia would not become independent until 1964. Elsewhere in West Africa, France had attempted to keep its Empire as part of the French Union and so French West Africa would not be independent until 1960, while Portugal was determined to keep Portuguese Guinea with a war of independence breaking out as a result in 1961. The two were stuck together and in 1959, as a symbolic offer of friendship, Ghana offered full citizenship to any Liberian living in the country, (Liberia of course already offered full citizenship to any black or coloured person who moved there) and the two countries made a joint deceleration of their desire to help all African territories to no longer be subject to foreign domination.

The true Whigs remained publicly committed to a single unitary African state but in private they'd shifted towards a two layer system. Full union was still hoped for with French Guinea and Sierra Leone, who shared a number of languages and similarly powerful regions but it was felt that for countries with different political systems who didn't share a land border, a more loose economic and political alliance would suffice.

1960 would be a year of huge change for Africa. French West Africa finally became independent, but the Pan-Africanist Modibo Keïta of Mali's attempt to form those countries into a federation largely collapsed with only Senegal and French Guinea agreeing and Senegal withdrawing almost immediately. Ghana and Liberia would reach out to this Mali Federation and agreements of mutual security, financial assistance and mutual citizenship were signed in 1960. But Senegal was the richest part of the Federation, Guinea and Mali were poor regions who Liberia and Ghana mostly had to support, in terms of loans and aid. Keïta was also far closer to Nkrumah than he was to Sie, sharing a desire for a centralised state economy and socialism. Sie in return attempted to reach out to Saifoulaye Diallo of Guinea-Conakry, but Liberia's standing offer of full union led to increasing distrust towards them on the basis that Liberia wished to annex Guinea's Eastern districts and thus deprive the federation of its tax money. Nonetheless trade between Liberia and its Northern neighbours increased hugely after independence, with the True Whig's prediction on being able to sell into a captive market proving true.

The other French colonies, Dahomey, Togo, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Niger were much more sceptical of pan-Africanism and unwilling to join any federation. Yaméogo of Upper Volta was much wooed in the hope of creating a land border between Ghana and Mali but he was as he said not willing to swap dominance from Paris with that of Monrovia. The three nation 'League of Independent African states' was distrusted by a lot of the new states as being a threat to their sovereignty, with fears that secessionists such as the Sanwi would attempt to leave their existing states and join Liberia and thus gain both virtual independence and the protection of the USA. In reaction they formed a Council of Accord between them, which promised cooperation rather than unity, but nonetheless was a blow to Liberia's ambitions by forming it's own pact. Togo, under Sylvanus Olympio joined neither, but it primarily wished to regain the part of it that had been joined to Ghana during the partition of German Togoland. Nkrumah refused but offered instead a complete union between Togo and Ghana leading Olympio to denounce him as a black imperialist and the two countries were on the verge of outright war for much of 1960.

1960 would also see the independence of the Belgian Congo. Patrice Lumumbu reached out immediately to Ghana and Liberia for alliances and joined the League of Independent African states. Lumumbu however was quick to face a crisis in his own country, as various secessionist states, backed by Belgian mining companies and mercenaries began to tear the country apart. He called in the United Nations peacekeepers to resolve the situation with independent African states such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria and Liberia (its army a combined one of security forces from its districts) contributing a lot of the troops. However Lumumbu had also begun to worry the United States and the CIA, worried that he would hand over the country to the Soviets. In early 1961, he was arrested, tortured and killed at the order of the Belgians and Americans and his successor would renounce any agreements with the league. This led to increasingly disenchantment with the UN and the USA among pan-African radicals. But the presence of Liberian troops in a country collapsing into anarchy, would also have a damaging effect on the sense of African unity among the Liberian people, who wondered how much they had in common with the savage Congolese and to what extent unity was possible.

Disenchantment with the UN, led to the League considering a pan-african army, independent of the UN. To achieve this they turned to the North Africans of Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Algeria in exile. In 1961, an agreement was formed between the North Africans and the League to form an African army and the countries publicly denounced continuing European rule in Africa. Shortly after this, independence activists in Portuguese Guinea, with league support, began a campaign of active sabotage. With hope of Pan-African Unity finally being realised, and new President John F. Kennedy promising to send aid and peace corps workers to the Liberia and the League to win it over from the Soviets, the True Whigs won the 1961 election. Sie's second term would however see a lot of that hope fall apart.

Algeria gained independence in 1962 and in 1963 it was invaded by Morocco, leading to war between the North African allies of the League and their withdrawal from the plans about a joint Army. Egypt would find itself mostly fighting in Yemen and Palestine instead. Mali, Liberia and Ghana did go ahead with a joint army but in practice this largely involved Ghanaian Army Officers taking control of their less professional counterparts. And attempts to extend the league beyond those three countries were unsuccessful, with Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tunisia and the remaining 12 ex French colonies refusing to participate at all, leading Diallo to denounce what he called western puppet states who were governed by independent rulers but still maintained the old colonial economic and foreign policy. Felix Houphouët-Boigny, Diallo, argued was little more than a modern day Allen Yancy.

Diallo was arguing against the tide of history. The Lagos block of Nnamdi Azikiwe and his western focused nationalist allies dominated West Africa. Pan Africanism did not die, in East Africa a federation emerged between the old British colonies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, but it was never the force its proponents had hoped for. In 1963, Haile Selassie invited all the African Countries to Addis Ababa to form an intergovernmental organisation where cooperation between the independent countries of Africa could happen but one of the cornerstones of that organisation was national sovereignty and while the league nations joined, they privately viewed it as useless.

1963 had also seen Sylvanus Olympio of Togo overthrown and killed by a military coup, with Nkrumah's Ghana seen as responsible given the existing hostility and his quickness to recognise the new regime. By this time the disagreement between Sie and the other members of the League had become public, with the promised currency union long since abandoned. And increasingly there were worries that the Liberian Socialists under Turé would be similarly supported in a coup. In 1964, a number of socialist activists were arrested by local Kings on various grounds and in response Turé called for a general strike. Sie attempted to negotiate directly with Turé, but the federal constitution meant she had little power to dictate how districts responded or what laws they enforced. Much like the Rice Riots, the situation quickly span out of control and into armed warfare. Sie's government did not know how much they could trust their army, unified as it was with that of Ghana and Mali and asked for the Americans based within their country to restore order, bolstered by those Liberians recently returned from the Congo. The Socialist militias were crushed, and while they were never banned as a political party, it began a period of repression of the left and was seen as the government bowing to neo-colonialism. This was a betrayal that the League couldn't survive. Liberia was kicked out of their own organisation by Ghana and Mali.

Sie resigned with a year left of her term to go. She had bought Liberia into closer alliance with other African leaders than ever before, but had ultimately failed to deliver on it.
 
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This led to increasingly disenfranchisement with the UN and the USA among pan-African radicals. But the presence of Liberian troops in a country collapsing into anarchy, would also have a damaging effect on the sense of African unity among the Liberian people, who wondered how much they had in common with the savage Congolese and to what extent unity was possible.​

Disenfranchisement with the UN, led to the League considering a pan-african army, independent of the UN.
I think you mean disenchantment here?

Ah, the failure of unity...predictable, I guess, but nevertheless sad. At least Liberia seems to be doing overall better than OTL, although having the U.S. crush a general strike sets a worrying precedent. Hopefully this doesn't degenerate into a Latin American situation.
 
I think you mean disenchantment here?

Ah, the failure of unity...predictable, I guess, but nevertheless sad. At least Liberia seems to be doing overall better than OTL, although having the U.S. crush a general strike sets a worrying precedent. Hopefully this doesn't degenerate into a Latin American situation.
Thank you, yes. Corrected.

And yeah, I think it's inevitable at this point for the plans to fail unless you throw massive butterflies among the newly independent countries, which I don't think I've earned narratively. Does Liberia's support have enough weight in Nigeria for that to mean that western support still isn't more important? Not really. But it is sad, the Pan Africans aren't wrong that without unity, their continent isn't going to be able to stand up for itself economically.

Mind we haven't heard what the Serra Leone True Whig Party did after independence or how satisfied Guinea is with being federated to Mali. The dream isn't over entirely, it's just been maybe shrunk a little.
Not googling them too much, but have been making a list of all the presidents in this TL and when they served, including the ones before the start of the TL.
So far I have:
1. Joseph Jenkins Roberts 1848-1856
2. Stephen Allen Benson 1856-1864

3. Daniel Bashiel Warner 1864-1868
4. James Spriggs Payne 1869-1870

5. Edward James Roye 1870-1871

6. James Skivring Smith 1871
7. Hilary Richard Wright Johnson 1871-1872

8. Edward Wilmot Blyden 1872-1882
9. Benjamin Joseph Knight Anderson 1882-1890

10. Joseph James Cheeseman 1890-1894
11. Doblee Zeppey 1894-1898
12. Momulu Massaquoi 1898-1914

13. Henry Too Wesley 1914-1922
14. Gabriel Moore Johnson 1922

15. Marcus Garvey 1922-1926
16. Allen Yancy 1926-1930
17. Thomas Jefferson Richelieu Faulkner 1930-1936
18. Clarence Gray 1936-1938

19. Abdourahmane Sinkoun Kaba 1938-1946
20. Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi 1946-1954

21. Alexander Harper 1954-1958

Independent
Republican
True Whig
Christian
Patriotic Union
Excellent stuff. The dates aren't quite right, it was noted in Blyden's entry that he removed the lame duck period so Presidents leave office straight after the election rather than the following year from his reign onwards but very useful and I appreciate the effort.
how big is this liberia ?
ATLrKeD.jpg

Quick ugly map. But basically blue border rather than red border. Essentially all the areas of Liberia which their rule was basically 'we talked to the guys who lived there and they said they wanted to join us' is taken a lot more seriously when you also give those guys votes and go back every four years to collect them.
Just got through this timeline this morning, really enjoy it so far!
Thanks glad, to have you on board.
 
Porte
Albert Porte: 1964-69 - The Muckraker
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Porte was the grandson of Barbadian immigrants, one of the many Monrovian residents who still held an unrepresentatively strong role in national politics, due to the district system often channelling the energy of the interior dwellers into local politics instead. 59 when he became leader, he had a long career as a journalist and activist, having earned his reputation by publishing leaflets criticizing the Yancy regime during the occupation. Porte believed that politicians were civil servants who should be held accountable by the public and he earned a reputation as both incorruptible and dogged in his pursuit of political malpractice. Standing for many years in the Senate as an independent, where he could criticise corruption from all sides, Porte joined the True Whigs in support of Massaquoi's constitution and the way it dragged the interior chiefs, previously unaccountable, into the democratic system. He was still something of a maverick though, often criticizing the leadership and he was one of the first to call for Sie's resignation. Knowing that the crisis caused by the violent dispersal of a general strike could get out of control, Porte, long dubbed 'the last honest man in Monrovia,' was appointed leader to get ahead of criticism and immediately announced a government investigation into the violence.

The report that followed took four months to complete and laid blame on all sides though some figures were particularly targeted for criticism. Sie and Turé, who had fled to Ghana, were both thrown under the bus and several Kings, from both parties, were so badly painted as overreacting that petitions of no confidence were organised within their districts. The American troops were barely mentioned at all, something Porte defended as because the report was about his government's failures but which was widely seen as part of a deal with Washington. The report further recommended the implementation of a national security force to remove responsibility from the King's private militias, which was duly forced through the Kings' Council. With the Army having to cope with being newly made independent rather than a part of a joint force with Mali and Ghana, US officers were, as had been traditional with Liberia, given advisory positions as new national police and army forces, could be trained, something difficult in a country with 30 different legal systems. In late 1966, the US Army announced that the Liberian Army was now in a position to keep order by itself and withdrew their forces entirely, sending them to South Vietnam and allowing the Liberians to take over their base and airport at Kakata. This was almost certainly agreed to in advance as neither side felt US troops in Liberia were particularly helpful after the violence of the General Strike.

True Whig Hagiography contrasts this with the Patriotic Union's lack of accountability over the Rice Riots and credits it for Porte's victory in 1965. But that is far from the whole story. For a start the True Whigs were in a much stronger position than the Patriotic Union. Liberia was not quite a one party state but the True Whigs had won 6 out of the 7 elections prior to 1965 because they had a strong base of voters it could reliably rely on and correspondingly deep organisational strength. Moreover, the only election it had lost had been because of the Socialist Party drawing away True Whigs votes and in 1965 the Socialist Party was still recovering from the failure of the general strike and the disruption of most of its organisation. It would take special circumstances for the Liberian True Whigs to lose whereas for the PU any mistake would be enough.

Porte's investigation was not enough to build bridges with the remaining countries of the League of Independent African states but that organisation was on its last legs, anyway. Nkrumah had done away with the last remnants of Ghanaian democracy in 1964 after the collapse of his relationship with Liberia, declaring himself President for Life and banning opposition to his newly renamed 'People's Party'. Two years later, a CIA backed coup overthrew him and the new Military ruled Ghana reoriented towards the West. Nkrumah took refuge in Mali but things were not going well for Keïta either. He had likewise suspended democracy and the loss of food supplies from first Liberia and then Ghana meant the existing famine in Mali quickly became devastating. In 1968, he was overthrown by his military and both him and Nkrumah would be imprisoned by the tyrannical military regime that followed.

Guinea-Conakry, having been in a federation with Mali since independence, quickly declared its independence, reinstated a border and kicked out the Malian security forces. Diallo worried that Traore of Mali would launch a war of reconquest against him to rally the country around his new regime and so visited Monrovia to restart the alliance with Liberia, with mutual security agreed and both economies being once again boosted by open and free trade between them. In 1969, Guinea-Conakry was invaded but not by Mali but by Portugal, which faced with an ongoing and brutal war in Guinea-Bissau had grown frustrated by the way the Diallo regime gave the guerrillas aid and support and sought to remove them. Diallo was killed in a targeted raid but the invasion was otherwise a failure. Troops from Liberia and Sierra Leone quickly arrived to defend both the Capital and the border with Mali and with Traore quiet and the UN outraged, Portugal withdrew.

Sierra Leone, of course, had troubles of its own. The Sierra Leonean True Whigs had, despite government attempts at rigging it, won the 1967 general election based on widespread discontent with the rule of the People's Party. This was announced, because Sierra Leone was still under the British Crown, by the Governor General who, given the True Whigs openly wanted his position to be removed, could hardly said to be biased in their favour. However the Army quickly ruled this was unacceptable and stepped in to prevent the True Whigs from taking control and selling out their country to Monrovia or Conakry, declaring martial law and dissolving all political activity. But the Army itself was not united in this opinion and the following year, the lower ranks rose up against the military rulers and reinstated civilian rule. The leader of the True Whigs was finally installed as Prime Minister in April 1968. He had spent the previous year in exile in Liberia and when he returned he did so with several brigades of the Liberian army to keep the peace until the Sierra Leonean Army could be purged. In June 1968, the two countries signed the Mano River agreement of mutual alliance, citizenship and economic union with the aim of working towards full political union. In 1969, in the aftermath of the Portuguese Invasion, Guinea-Conakry also joined that agreement. Hopes of a Pan African Union were dead but hopes of a local union very much were not.

Porte had only ever intended to serve one term and so he stood down prior to the 1969 election to return to muckraking from the Senate. Few Presidents are thought of as fondly.
 
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Wow. A lot happening. It's a shame that Sie doesn't have more achievements to her name, but as you say, there wasn't really any opportunity for much more than what she got. There just wasn't any realistic way for the leadership of different countries to give up their newly won power that easily. In a way, it reminds me of the United Arab Republic which also had a lot of pressure to break apart. I also really like the mention of Liberian cars. That's quite something to show off.

Porte also is a fascinating figure and someone who clearly was what was needed at the time and probably saved his party from short-term problems. The succession struggle however will be real even if he can stay a force on the background.

The Sierra Leone situation also has a lot going on, and with Liberian military support, they can really grow closer together by integrating their economies and perhaps even parts of their armies.
 
Wow. A lot happening. It's a shame that Sie doesn't have more achievements to her name, but as you say, there wasn't really any opportunity for much more than what she got. There just wasn't any realistic way for the leadership of different countries to give up their newly won power that easily. In a way, it reminds me of the United Arab Republic which also had a lot of pressure to break apart.
It's a shame, yes, Sie isn't going to top anyone's favourite Presidents list but she really did the best she could with a bad hand. OTL Liberia was the main leader against pan-africanism and I was originally sketching this out so that them flipping sides was significant but it just isn't. You've just gone from three countries to four, the numbers are still against it.
I also really like the mention of Liberian cars. That's quite something to show off.
Liberian Industry is in its very early stages, it was both in otl and ttl the second fastest growing economy in the world during the 1960s but that's largely because it was so poor before that it had a long way to go. But, yes that's the first sign of something that might become much more significant.
Porte also is a fascinating figure and someone who clearly was what was needed at the time and probably saved his party from short-term problems. The succession struggle however will be real even if he can stay a force on the background.
OTL Porte was an absolute hero, a man who was repeatedly jailed for speaking truth to power and just kept on doing it, so I had to give him a nice cameo. This Liberia is so much more democratic that it's sometimes worth remembering that OTL Liberia was a brutal authoritarian apartheid state for 100 years. A lot of the real-life alternatives of these people were a part of that state, which you can't really blame them for as it was the only game in town, but those who were dissidents against it, Porte, Twe, Wolo, Faulkner etc all deserve to be remembered for their bravery.
The Sierra Leone situation also has a lot going on, and with Liberian military support, they can really grow closer together by integrating their economies and perhaps even parts of their armies.
SIerra Leone OTL was a complete mess, for reasons I will explain more in the narrative soon. TTL it's going to be far better off because Liberia can support them and look after them a bit. An OTL economic alliance between the two of them was started in 1971 but was much less effective because Liberia was a bit poorer and both countries were ran by dictators who were jealousy guarding their power a bit more, this time the alliance is built on decades of closer relationships and is a lot deeper.

On the other hand, I imagine Liberian exceptionalism is like a huge thing. Like objectively, they're doing way better than the rest of Africa. When there's only two working democracies in Africa and one of them is only working because Liberian troops are there to prevent a coup against the elected leader, that's going to lead to a complex.

I imagine from the point of a view of a cynical resident of Conakry or Freetown the divide in Liberian politics is between those who think they're better than you and thus should shun you and those who think they're better than you and want to rule you.
 
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