american colonization society
American organization dedicated to transporting freeborn blacks and emancipated slaves to Africa. It was founded in 1816 by Robert Finley, a Presbyterian minister, and some of the country's most influential men, including Francis Scott Key, Henry Clay, and Bushrod Washington (nephew of George Washington and the society's first president). Support for it came from local and state branches and from churches, and the federal government provided some initial funding. The membership was overwhelmingly white-with some clergymen and abolitionists but also a large number of slave owners-and all generally agreed with the prevailing view of the time that free blacks could not be integrated into white America
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