Excerpt: ...street cars, no public schools, and no genuine newspapers; nor are there any manufacturing or other enterprises for the employment of young men on a large scale. The most promising youth accordingly look too largely to an outlet in politics; some come to America to be educated and not always do they return. A few become clerks in the ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...street cars, no public schools, and no genuine newspapers; nor are there any manufacturing or other enterprises for the employment of young men on a large scale. The most promising youth accordingly look too largely to an outlet in politics; some come to America to be educated and not always do they return. A few become clerks in the stores, and a very few assistants in the customs offices. There is some excellent agriculture in the interior, but as yet no means of getting produce to market on a large scale. In 1919 the total customs revenue at Monrovia, the largest port, amounted to $196,913.21. For the whole country the figure has recently been just about half a million dollars a year. Much of this amount goes to the maintenance of the frontier force. Within the last few years also the annual income for the city of Monrovia-for the payment of the mayor, the police, and all other city officers-has averaged $6000. In any consideration of social conditions the first question of all of course is that of the character of the people themselves. Unfortunately Liberia was begun with faulty ideals of life and work. The early settlers, frequently only recently out of bondage, too often felt that in a state of freedom they did not have to work, and accordingly they imitated the habits of the old master class of the South. The real burden of life then fell upon the native. There is still considerable feeling between the native and the Americo-Liberian; but more and more the wisest men of the country realize that the good of one is the good of all, and they are endeavoring to make the native chiefs work for the common welfare. From time to time the people of Liberia have given to visitors an impression of arrogance, and perhaps no one thing had led to more unfriendly criticism of this country than this. The fact is that the Liberians, knowing that their country has various shortcomings according to Western standards, are quick to assume the defensive, and...Read Less
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