The Annual Messages of the Presidents of Liberia 1848–2010
State of the Nation Addresses to the National Legislature
Ed. by Dunn, D.Elwood
Rev. by Dunn, D.Elwood
- Top source for the history and politics of Africa during the last 160 years
- Important contribution to the ethno-cultural history of Liberia, the first (and for more than a century the only) independent state of Sub-Saharan Africa
- The documents have been compiled from numerous American and African archives and are now available in one edition for the first time
- Biographies of the presidents
Aims and Scope
Every year since 1848 Liberian presidents have delivered a state of the nation address to the Liberian National Legislature reflecting the various facets of the political, social, economic and ethno-cultural situation of the country. Liberia, the first and – for more than a century – the only independent state in Sub-Saharan Africa, was founded in 1822 by an assortment of American non-governmental organizations as an asylum for black Americans.
Similar to a comprehensive longitudinal study, this collection of speeches describes the social and economic development of an African country over a time span of more than a century and a half, from 1848 until 2010. As such, it represents the first major research contribution to the history of the political system of one of the first countries of the continent to attain independence. The speeches illuminate the area of conflict between the autochthonous and the black emigrant populations and also documents the relations with the U.S. as "founding nation" and constitutional role model, especially in the 19th century. The presidents' speeches are a rich source of information for gaining a better understanding of Liberia's past and the country's current challenges and future prospects. With The Annual Messages of the Presidents of Liberia 1848–2010, the speeches scattered in various Liberian and American archives and libraries have now for the first time been collected and reconstructed in one single edition. Biographies of the presidents and a scholarly introduction by the editor supplement the 146 speeches. The edition is a valuable source of information on the history and political situation of Africa during the past 163 years.
The editor and publisher D. Elwood Dunn teaches political science at Sewanee: The University of the South. From 1974 until 1980 he served in the government of Liberia, becoming a member of the cabinet in 1979. He was editor of the Liberian Studies Journal from 1985 until 1995.