ABSTRACT

What would have happened if a sizeable group of African Americans had actually managed to acquire a country of their own? Suppose, for example, that in the early nineteenth century a number of them-rather more than half former slaves, the remainder free-born - had emigrated to a distant land and there resettled themselves with the assistance of the US Navy and grants from the US Treasury and assorted well-wishers. And let us assume further that after they had become established this assistance had been withdrawn and they had been recognized as a sovereign state, an independent, black republic responsible for running its own internal and external affairs. What sort of a society do we suppose they would have created? We know that blacks were oppressed in America. What would they have learned from that experience? How would they act towards others less powerful than themselves? And, what, if anything, would their actions tell us about the character and aspirations of blacks in America?