Some of the late nineteenth century success of Liberia coffee, sugar, and other commodities can be attributed to the leasing of plantations to enterprising foreigners, although a few leading politicians did own successful farms … For most Americo-Liberians, the role of dirt farmer was decidedly beneath their station.
Yet the reasons for this apathy among most Americo-Liberians for agriculture, which prevailed up to the early 1870s, were not far to seek. The majority of them being newly emancipated slaves, who had in servitude in America been used to being forced to work, erroneously equated their newly won freedom with abstinence from labour.
Both arguments are inaccurate, yet the authors made essential contributions to the writing of Liberian history. J. Gus Liebenow became renowned within Liberian academic circles for his earlier book, Liberia: the Evolution of Privilege. In that book he analyzed the policy that enabled the minority Americo-Liberians (descendants of free blacks from the United States who founded Liberia in 1822), to monopolize political and economic power to the exclusion of the majority indigenous Africans for more than a century. M. B. Akpan dissected Liberia's dubious political history and concluded that Americo-Liberian authority over the indigenous population, was identical to the discriminatory and oppressive policy practiced by European colonizers in Africa.