By Christopher Clapham

Very related in many ways, yet strikingly assorted in others, Sierra Leone and Liberia have an seen charm for comparative research. They percentage the legacy of origin via immigrants of African descent and the juxtaposition of those with indigenous peoples, yet in the contrasting institutional frameworks of settler independence and British colonialism. they've got related social and monetary buildings yet sharply assorted political files: Liberia has lengthy been considered as the vintage case of balance on the cost of oligarchy, while Sierra Leone, after a interval as West Africa's such a lot winning two-party democracy, suffered a succession of army coups and through 1973 was once successfully a single-party nation. This examine seeks to examine and account for either similarities and transformations, taking a look at the 2 international locations' adventure within the Sixties and early Seventies, not just in imperative politics but in addition on the neighborhood point and in monetary coverage.

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Extra resources for Liberia and Sierra Leone: An Essay in Comparative Politics (African Studies)

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The main diamond district, Kono, had grievances of its own which were naturally associated with the ethnic identity of the Kono people, and together these resources provided the base for a succession of Kono political movements. Hence opposition politicians had an interest in mobilising tribal identities as resources for electoral support; even the SLPP did so once it went into opposition, appealing to Mende cultural symbols like the Poro Society in order to maintain a hold on its base in Mendeland.

The sense in which rules explain behaviour is not so much legal as ecological. Since rules indicate constraints, they equally provide a means of understanding the behaviour of those who act within these constraints. Actors who fail to abide by the rules are unlikely to survive, though occasionally these may throw up a mutant — to carry the analogy further — who proves better adapted to a changing world than his fellows who continue in the conventional way, and in this case the rule structure will change to accommodate him.

Education has also helped to sustain the position of both Creoles and AmericoIiberians. Both communities have a long educational tradition. Fourah Bay College in Freetown was founded in 1827, and Liberia College, now the University of Liberia, in 1862. 16 In Liberia, this has strengthened the political structure; in Sierra Leone, as already noted, it has helped to compensate the Creoles for the loss of political supremacy. The rapid expansion of education in both countries during the last two decades, and especially its extension to the hinterland, is bound to have a more disruptive effect by placing an important resource - and one strongly linked to political and economic expectations - in the hands of groups hitherto largely excluded from power.

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