The 1927 Presidential Elections

Charles D.B. King

In the 1920s, one of Liberia’s oldest disputes, whether or not to make use of foreign capital in the development of the country, was re-vived as a result of the negotiations with Harvey Firestone and the approval of the Firestone Concession Agreement in 1926. The controversial issue was partly responsible for the unconstitutional deposition of President Roye in 1871. Also during the 1927 Presidential Elections the ‘Open Door’ issue played an important role. The presidential candidate of the People’s Party, opposed to President King’s True Whig Party, Thomas J.R.Faulkner, favoured the establishment of an ‘Open Door Policy’. President King commented that the country already had an Open Door Policy. His ideas were not uncontested. Notably the exclusive character of the 1926 Concession Agreement with Firestone was mentioned by King’s opponents to be incompatible with the classical idea of an Open Door Policy. 

President Charles King won the 1927 presidential elections with a landslide victory that earned him a place in history – but different from what he might have imagined. The Guiness Book of Records (1982) qualified the elections as the most fraudulent ever reported in world history. Suffrage was constitutionally limited to some 15,000 citizens, all Americo-Liberians, but according to the official election results some 240,000 votes were cast in favour of Charles D.B.King.

The following year, the defeated Presidential candidate, Faulkner, accused the King Administration of permitting slavery, slave trade and forced labour within the borders of the Republic. Eventually this lead to President King’s resignation in 1930.



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