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The Struggles of John Brown RusswurmThe Life and Writings of a Pan-Africanist Pioneer, 1799-1851$
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Winston James

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814742891

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814742891.001.0001

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Governor Russwurm

Governor Russwurm

The Cape Palmas Years

(p.85) 5 Governor Russwurm
The Struggles of John Brown Russwurm

Winston James

NYU Press

This chapter describes the Maryland State Colonization Society's (MSCS) establishment of a colony known as Maryland in Liberia at Cape Palmas in 1834. The MSCS put into place a democratic constitution based largely upon the U.S. Constitution, and the rights of both colonists and native Africans were expanded over time. In the same year the colony was established, the MSCS also saw to it that each emigrant was vaccinated and received a general health certificate by a qualified physician before departure. In June 1836, John Brown Russwurm became governor—the first black person to be appointed governor to such a colony. Russwurm shifted the colony from barter to modern currency (including paper money); expanded the democratic institutions of the colony and increased their transparency; and overhauled the justice system, making it also more transparent and evenhanded.

Keywords:   John Brown Russwurm, black colony, Maryland in Liberia, Cape Palmas, Maryland State Colonization Society, black governor

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