True Whig Party

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True Whig Party
Liberian Whig Party
AbbreviationTWP
Historic leadersEdward James Roye
Anthony W. Gardiner
William Tubman
William Tolbert
Founded1869 (1869)
Preceded byOpposition Party
HeadquartersMonrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia
IdeologyBlack conservatism[1]
Centralization
Protectionism
Political positionRight-wing
International affiliationNone
Colors     Blue
Historical ethnic affiliationAmerico-Liberians

The True Whig Party (TWP), also known as the Liberian Whig Party (LWP), is the oldest political party in Liberia. Founded in 1869 by primarily Americo-Liberians, the party dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980. The nation was virtually a one-party state, although opposition parties were never outlawed.[2] Initially, its ideology was strongly influenced by that of the United States Whig Party (which was later succeeded by the Republican Party).

History[edit]

The political party was founded in the township of Clay-Ashland in 1869 as a reorganised version of the Opposition Party.[3][4][5] It presided over a society where Black American settlers and their descendants, known as Americo-Liberians, constituted nearly 100% of the citizens able to vote. It primarily represented them, often working in tandem with the Masonic Order of Liberia.[6]

The party endorsed systems of forced labour. In 1930 they sent "contract migrant laborers", under conditions tantamount to slavery, to Spanish colonists on Fernando Pó in Spanish Guinea (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea),[7] leading to a five-year U.S. and British boycott of Liberia. Despite this dispute, the West considered the True Whig Party as a stabilizing, unthreatening force. The US and Britain invested extensively in the nation under William Tubman's long period of rule (1944–1971).

The party lost power after Tubman's successor, William Tolbert, was killed in a military coup on 12 April 1980 by a group of AFL soldiers, who formed the People's Redemption Council (PRC). They opposed his clampdown on the political opposition and his tolerance of corruption. The opposition restricted activities of the True Whig Party; the vast majority of its members and supporters left the party, but it struggled on as a minor party. Members of indigenous groups began to exert more political power, in keeping with their dominance in number of the national population.

Legacy[edit]

In 1991, the party faced a challenge from a new group, which identified as the "National True Whig Party of Liberia." TWP chairman Momo Fahnbulleh Jones threatened legal action to induce the newly founded party to change its name.[8]

The party participated in the 2005 general election as part of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL), which dissolved the next year. It registered to compete as an individual party in the 2011 general election, while endorsing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's bid for a second term.[9] However, the party had strife over its leadership five months before the election,[10] and it failed to nominate any candidate for any legislative seat.

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election date Party candidate Number of votes Percentage of votes Results
1869 Edward James Roye Not released Not released Elected
1877 Anthony W. Gardiner Not released Not released Elected
1879 Anthony W. Gardiner Not released Not released Elected
1881 Anthony W. Gardiner Not released Not released Elected
1883 None, endorsed Hilary R. W. Johnson Not released Not released Elected
1885 Hilary R. W. Johnson 1,438 62.25% Elected
1887 Hilary R. W. Johnson Not released Not released Elected
1889 Hilary R. W. Johnson Not released Not released Elected
1891 Joseph James Cheeseman Not released Not released Elected
1893 Joseph James Cheeseman Not released Not released Elected
1895 Joseph James Cheeseman Not released Not released Elected
1897 William D. Coleman Not released Not released Elected
1899 William D. Coleman Not released Not released Elected
1901 Garreston W. Gibson Not released Not released Elected
1903 Arthur Barclay Not released Not released Elected
1905 Arthur Barclay Not released Not released Elected
1907 Arthur Barclay Not released Not released Elected
1911 Daniel Edward Howard Not released Not released Elected
1915 Daniel Edward Howard Not released Not released Elected
1919 Charles D. B. King Not released Not released Elected
1923 Charles D. B. King Not released Not released Elected
1927 Charles D. B. King 243,000 96.43% Elected
1931 Edwin Barclay Not released Not released Elected
1939 Edwin Barclay Not released Not released Elected
1943 William Tubman Not released Not released Elected
1951 William Tubman Not released Not released Elected
1955 William Tubman 244,873 99.5% Elected
1959 William Tubman 530,566 100% Elected
1963 William Tubman 565,044 100% Elected
1967 William Tubman Not released Not released Elected
1971 William Tubman 714,005 100% Elected
1975 William Tolbert 750,000 100% Elected
2005 None, endorsed Varney Sherman 76,403 7.8% Lost
2011 None, endorsed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 607,618 90.7% Elected

House of Representatives elections[edit]

Election date Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of seats
1955 244,873 99.5%
29 / 29
1975 750,000 100%
71 / 71
2005 137,897 13.97%
8 / 64

(as part of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia)

2017 14,723 0.96
0 / 73

Senate elections[edit]

Election date Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of seats
1955 244,873 99.5%
10 / 10
1975 750,000 100%
18 / 18
2005 252,677 15.97%
3 / 30

(as part of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carl Patrick Burrowes (2004). Power and Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970. Africa World Press. p. 312.
  2. ^ "Liberia Country Study: The True Whig Ascendancy" Global Security
  3. ^ Shillington, Kevin (2005). Encyclopedia of African History. 1. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 978-1-57958-245-6.
  4. ^ Donald A. Ranard, "Liberians: An Introduction to their History and Culture" Archived 2015-04-09 at the Wayback Machine., Center for Applied Linguistics, April 2005
  5. ^ Carl Patrick Burrowes (2004) Power and Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970: The Impact of Globalization and Civil Society on Media-government Relations, Africa World Press, p85
  6. ^ Monrovia - Masonic Grand Lodge
  7. ^ Report of the International Commission of Inquiry into The Existence of Slavery and Forced Labor in the Republic of Liberia. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1931.
  8. ^ "True Whig Party To Sue If...", The Eye, 23 July 1991: pp. 7/8
  9. ^ Kwanue, C.Y. (June 17, 2011). "TWP Endorses Ellen's 2nd Term". Daily Observer. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011.
  10. ^ "Power Struggle in TWP: Partisans Demand Leadership Out But...", Liberian Observer 2011-05-23: 1/10.