Liberia: Dual Citizenship Debate: A Moral and Ethical Dilemma

Published: 6/Aug/2018
Source: Liberian Observer

By Rev. Dr. Samuel E. Vansiea

Liberia was founded as a Dual Citizenship nation. In the early 1800s almost all of Africa was colonized except the land now called Liberia. The natives traded with Europeans but did not allow them to own land. They however agreed to share land with Negro settlers from the United States of America in the spirit of Negro solidarity. It was through the political genius of the settlers that Liberia became a sovereign state in 1847.

According to The American Journal of International Law (Vol. 4), former U.S. Secretary of State Williams Evarts affirmed in a February 2, 1880 communication that the settlers sent to Liberia were actual United States citizens.

Several former presidents and government officials were foreign born. For example, President Joseph J. Roberts was born in the United States and President Arthur Barclay was of West Indian origin.

Considering all that and, including the natives, it can be argued that Liberia was founded as a republic of Dual Citizenry. Therefore, the creation of the anti-dual citizenship law in 1956 (amended in 1973) raises some fundamental questions such as:

  1. What prompted the government of President William V. S. Tubman to make that law in 1956?
  2. Why would the Americo-Liberian ruling class for the first 133 (1847-1980) years reject Dual Citizenship when being called Americo-Liberians signifies dual nationality and their own children were going to school, getting married, and having children abroad?

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Themes: Dual Nationality
Regions: Liberia
Year: 2018