Liberian legislative election, 1840

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Legislative elections were held in Liberia on 1 December 1840.[1]


A new constitution was adopted by the American Colonization Society on 5 January 1839.[2] It provided for a Council with six elected members representing Caldwell, Millsburg, Monrovia and New Georgia and four to represent Bassa Cova, Bexley, Edina and Marshall.[3] All men over the age of 20 were given the right to vote.[4]

Prior to the elections, supporters of John Seys, a missionary who was being sued by the colonial administration over failure to pay import duty, formed an Anti-Administration movement to field candidates against the ruling group.[5] This was the first instance of organised politics in the territory, as previously candidates had run as individuals.[5]


The Anti-Administration group won three of the 11 seats in the Commonwealth Council, with Administration group candidates won six seats and post of Lieutenant-Governor.[1] However, there were accusations of electoral fraud against Seys' group, with claims by the American Colonization Society that workers at his saw mill and sugar plantation had all voted for candidates supporting him confirmed by others including Francis Burns.[5]

Elected members

Member Group
Joseph Jenkins Roberts (Lieutenant Governor) Administration
James Brown Administration
L. Ciples Administration
John B. Gripon Anti-Administration
John Hanson Administration
Nathaniel Harris Administration
Daniel Johnston Anti-Administration
Louis Sheridan Administration
H. Teage Administration
Beverly R. Wilson Anti-Administration
John Woodland Administration
Source: Huberich[6]


  1. ^ a b Charles Henry Huberich (1947) The political and legislative history of Liberia, Central Book Co., p721
  2. ^ Huberich, p649
  3. ^ Huberich, p650
  4. ^ Huberich, p653
  5. ^ a b c 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, p46
  6. ^ Huberich, p722
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