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The American Colonization Society was established in 1816 by Robert Finley as an attempt to satisfy two groups in America. Ironically, these groups were on opposite ends of the spectrum involving slavery in the early 1800's. One group consisted of philanthropists, clergy and abolitionist who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants and provide them with the opportunity to return to Africa.
?newspaper editorial, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1854. Ever since pre-Revolutionary times, white Americans had discussed sending freed slaves back to Africa. The notion became a formal movement in December 1816, when delegates from several states met in Washington, D. C. , and organized the American Colonization Society. They voted to immediately begin seeking voluntary removal of U. S. blacks to Africa or whatever place Congress thought fit.
American Colonization Society members were overwhelmingly white and initially included abolitionists as well as slave owners, all of whom generally agreed with the prevailing view of the time that free blacks could not be integrated into white America. Other black and white abolitionists, however, began to question the intent of the ACS, claiming its true intent was to drain off the most educated of the free black population which often challenged slavery and thus preserve the institution.
He advocated settling freed American slaves in Africa and gained support from the British government, free black leaders in the United States, and members of Congress to take emigrants to the British colony of Sierra Leone. He had an economic interest, as he intended to bring back valuable cargoes. In 1815 he financed a trip and the following year, in 1816, Cuffee took 38 American blacks to Freetown, Sierra Leone; other voyages were precluded by his death in 1817. By reaching a large audience with his pro-colonization arguments and practical example, Cuffee laid the groundwork for the American Colonization Society.
Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "American Colonization Society", accessed November 16, 2015, http://www. britannica. com/topic/American-Colonization-Society.