The Instigator
Jifpop09
Pro (for)
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The Contender
djakarta97
Con (against)
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0 Points

The US colonialism and interventions in Liberia were just

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 716 times Debate No: 51200
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Jifpop09

Pro

Alright, I will be arguing that the US colonialism and interventions in Liberia were all just. I know that colonialism is a bad word to use, but I don't know how else to define it. I feel this one may be hard to argue, so don't be afaid to play devils advocate. By acceepting, you agree to these definitions.

co·lo·ni·al·ism
kəG2;l!3;nēəG6;lizəm,kəG2;l!3;nyəG6;lizəm/
noun
  1. 1.
    the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

in·ter·ven·tion
G6;intərG2;venCHən/
noun
  1. 1.
    the action or process of intervening.
djakarta97

Con

No justification can ever exist for imperialist gestures, especially the adventure in Liberia.

The American Colonization Society originally came up with the idea of sending Africans back to Africa. [1] It seemed like a good idea to them -- the origins of these former slaves were largely unknown, and the variety and complexity of African culture was still an enigma. The assumption that all Africans were the same led to the colonization effort in Liberia.

However, we have to look at the results of the experiment to see why it was such a failure. The Americo-Liberians, as the former slaves were called, immediately established a power structure in which they stood to gain. Liberia, which was a fledgling country when it finally declared itself a Republic, soon found itself borrowing heavily from Western Powers such as Great Britain and France, and its economic growth was hampered by debt. Unlike Ethiopia, which managed to remain independent, Liberia quickly fell under the imperial sphere of the United States and became a protectorate.

The new Americo-Liberians soon established a power structure in which they subjugated the natives. Citizenship for the local tribes was banned until 1904 [1], when they finally got their suffrage. In the 1980s, a coup d'etat led to violent uprisings, government repression and the execution of various members of certain tribes [1].

These are only a few of the reasons behind the U.S. experiment in Liberia being flawed.

[1] = http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Jifpop09

Pro

No justification can ever exist for imperialist gestures, especially the adventure in Liberia.

This is a common mistake made by many. Imperialism and Colonialism are not classified the same. Colonialism ussually involves sending citizens from ones country to anothers in an attempt to establish a colonial hiearchy. Imperialism goes by this definition.....

im·pe·ri·al·ism
imG2;pi(ə)rēəG6;lizəm/
noun
  1. 1.
    a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.
    "the struggle against imperialism"

For example, imperialism can sometimes be just, when the influence and power being spread is also just. For example, the Hawaii Republic asked the US to annex them them, as the queen had been overthrown, and Western influence would of actually benefitted them. As for imperialism, none of that took place in Liberia, as we did not take economic or political control.

djakarta97

Con

"As we did not take economic or political control"-Pro

That statement does not ring true. The United States wielded enormous economic control over Liberia, which depended on U.S. trade, along with British and French loans. The country existed as a protectorate of the United States for much of its history, dependent on the U.S. for economic growth of any sort.

As for the Hawaiian anecdote, it should be noted that the island was heavily colonized by American citizens before it was annexed by the United States, making it an example of colonialism as well as imperialism.

I will extend the arguments made in Round 1, specifically regarding the Americo-Liberians and their oppression of the local tribes whom they viewed as inferior. These have not been addressed by my opponent in his Round 2 speech.
Debate Round No. 2
Jifpop09

Pro

The American Colonization Society originally came up with the idea of sending Africans back to Africa. [1] It seemed like a good idea to them -- the origins of these former slaves were largely unknown, and the variety and complexity of African culture was still an enigma. The assumption that all Africans were the same led to the colonization effort in Liberia.

I'm sorry, but this is terrible reasoning. Unfortunately, the ACS was underfunded, so it would of been virtually impossible to take Africans all back to their original homelands. Or did they have any right to build establishments in other kingdoms lands. It was quite noble that they were willing to take slaves across the ocean on a long expensive journey in the first place. Not to mention all the homes and ports that were built for no cost to anyone. The ACS was providing a free and complimentary service, which allowed many Africans to escape the abuse in America. To call their attempts anything but noble is questionable. Also, most of the former slaves were born in America, which means that they had little connection with African culture besides parental roots.

http://personal.denison.edu...

However, we have t
o look at the results of the experiment to see why it was such a failure. The Americo-Liberians, as the former slaves were called, immediately established a power structure in which they stood to gain. Liberia, which was a fledgling country when it finally declared itself a Republic, soon found itself borrowing heavily from Western Powers such as Great Britain and France, and its economic growth was hampered by debt. Unlike Ethiopia, which managed to remain independent, Liberia quickly fell under the imperial sphere of the United States and became a protectorate.


I have a extreme amount of complaints to almost everything you said in this. I will go over them one by one.


R1: You say right in the second sentence, that a structure was established where Americo-Liberians stood to gain. How is that a refutation? Is it not a good thing that freed slaves served to gain?

R2: You also claim that Liberia borrowed heavily from the west, and was hurt by this. This is the fault of the goverhment, and not the US. We had little responcibilty for any mistakes made by their own government. By 1947, power had been almost completly put in the hands of Americo-Liberians. Then you go on to talk about debts.

Do you want to know the reason why Liberia was never colonized by Europe? Because the American government forced them to back off. Many European powers used debt as a excuse to invade and occupy the country, but the president put intense pressure on them, that Liberia would be independent and sovereign of all European powers. The Monroe Doctrine had personally been extended to the fledgling republic.


R3: I have the most problems with your last line. The US government had hardly exercised any demands or control over Liberia. We did help them on multiple occasions, but it was on request from the Liberian governent. We even gave them millions of dollars to pay off debts.

http://www.sjsu.edu...

http://www.globalsecurity.org...


The new Americo-Liberians soon established a power structure in which they subjugated the natives. Citizenship for the local tribes was banned until 1904 [1], when they finally got their suffrage. In the 1980s, a coup d'etat led to violent uprisings, government repression and the execution of various members of certain tribes [1].

R1: Once again, by 1847, the power had 100% been put back into Americo-Liberian hands. The US had no responcibility for further conflicts. As for the tribal uprisings, many natives were extremely violent to the Americo-Liberians. They would raid their towns and viciously kill them. This was strange, as the AL settlements were on the coast, where as the natives were inland. Liberia appealed to the US for aid, and we sent plenty of marines to protect settlements, which saved 100's of peoples lives.

http://books.google.com...

As for the Liberian civil wars, they were another example of just US aid. The first one saw no intervention from the US, and Charles Taylor overthrew the government. Charles Taylor commited war crimes, and crimes of humanity. A rebel government composed of former government officials before Charles Taylor took power, asked the US to overthrow the warlord. Together, the US, UK, and rebels overthrew Charles Taylor, and reinstalled the democratic republic back in power. The US then pushed for UN support, which led to peace troops and agreements that led the nation to stability.

https://www.hrw.org...

http://www.peacebuildingdata.org...

That statement does not ring true. The United States wielded enormous economic control over Liberia, which depended on U.S. trade, along with British and French loans. The country existed as a protectorate of the United States for much of its history, dependent on the U.S. for economic growth of any sort.

R1: My opponents first claim is false. The US government had no illegal control over Liberias finances, or economic future. America sent millions of recovery money and loans. Liberia benefitted greatly from trade with US companies, and capitalism prospered. A good example is the company Firestone, which people now know as a famous tire company. From mergers and land payments in Liberia, Firestone opened many plantations in Liberia. These plantations brought many jobs and much prosperity to the natives, and still does. The source below is made specifically for Liberians.

http://www.firestonenaturalrubber.com...

I will extend the arguments made in Round 1, specifically regarding the Americo-Liberians and their oppression of the local tribes whom they viewed as inferior. These have not been addressed by my opponent in his Round 2 speech.

Sorry, but I explained my error in the comments. Apparently a glitch exists where the speaker button submitted my argument. I reported it to the site moderator.

Conclusion
--------------

- The US sent millions of aid loans to Liberia.

- The ACS built homes, schools, and roads for freed slaves.

- The US pushed away european debt collectors, protecting them from the Scramble for Africa.

- The US sent marines to protect settlements in times of upheaval.

- The ACS established a democratic republic, and gave control to Americo-Liberians.

- The ACS did this with almost no help from congress or any charge from freed slaves.

- The US government gained absolutely nothing for helping Liberia, instead costing money and resources.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- My opponent only pointed out times when the Liberian government made mistakes, and somehow tried to pin this on the US, despite the fact that the US had no control in Liberian politics.

- My opponent claimed that the US had illegal economic control, but sourced not one thing to prove this.

Anyways, good debate con, and I wish you a good future on this site. I hope the audience can now see that America only took burden in helping liberia out, and the work of the American Colonization Society was quite noble (Which is why they adopted our flag :)

File:Flag of Liberia.svg
djakarta97

Con

Ok, let's go down the flow: (Sorry about the Policy Debate style, but that's the debate style that I learned)

1) The Americo-Liberian power structure was an inherent problem. The new elite suppressed the rights of the natives for the first half of Liberian history, and their repression was an indicator of a failed attempt by the ACS to create a more utopian world for former slaves. Sure, exercising power is always nice, but that's hardly acceptable when it comes at the expense of the vast majority of the natives (who lived inland but were still presided over by the AL).

2) Black nationalism and African pride were subjugated in this era. The AL who came to Liberia came with a notion of inherent superiority [1]. Their goal was not to establish a utopia or return to their roots. In their time, they were colonialists who sought to impose their Western culture on their fellow African kin. The United States allowed this event to pass in an era where colonialism was the paragon of foreign policy. The U.S., by allowing this to go past, gave tacit approval to the repression that took place in Liberia.

3) You mention that Liberia was never colonized. The U.S. forced off European powers because it had exclusive economic control of the region and did not want other nations meddling in its experiment. The U.S. had no noble thought in mind when it defended Liberia against imperialist aggression, for it had the same motives as those aggressors. The U.S. extended not the Monroe Doctrine but the Roosevelt Corollary when it defended Liberia.

4) The traditional institutions of Liberia were sacrificed and ignored in place of Western ones [1]. The Americo-Liberians failed to learn the local culture, for they were foreigners in their new home (something that the ACS never understood). This flagrant neglect to learn the local custom led to the antagonization of the locals, one that the United States was partly responsible for because it supported this initiative in the same spirit as the ACS.

5) The ACS was run by the Southern white elite [1], which saw the freed slaves as a threat to the current system. The ACS was a front for them to get rid of their biggest fear under the pretext of "civilizing Africa".

I thank my opponent for a very good debate. I leave the rest to the voters.

[1] = http://www.compareafrique.com...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Jifpop09 3 years ago
Jifpop09
HOLY $hit. I pressed the microphone button on the definition and It submitted my debate.
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