True Whig Party

True Whig Party
Historic leaders Edward James Roye,
Anthony W. Gardiner,
William Tubman,
William R. Tolbert Jr.
Founded 1869 (1869)
Headquarters Monrovia
Ideology Black conservatism[1]
Political position Right-wing
International affiliation None

The True Whig Party, also known as Liberian Whig Party, is the oldest political party in Liberia. Founded in 1869, the party dominated Liberian politics from 1878 until 1980 to the extent that the country was virtually a one-party state, although opposition parties were never outlawed.[2] Initially, its ideology was heavily influenced by that of the United States Whig Party.

The political party was founded in the township of Clay-Ashland in 1869.[3][4] It presided over a society where Black American settlers and their descendants were almost 100% of the citizens able to vote, and so represented them, often working in tandem with the Masonic Order. The party endorsed systems of forced labour. In 1930 they sold slaves to Spanish colonialists on Fernando Po (now Bioko in Equatorial Guinea), leading to a five-year U.S. and British boycott of Liberia. Despite this dispute, the West saw them as a stabilizing, unthreatening force and so invested heavily in the nation under William Tubman's leadership (19441971).

The party lost power after Tubman's successor, William Tolbert, was killed in an April 1980 military coup by a group of soldiers opposed to his clampdown on the political opposition and his tolerance of corruption. It was then the opposition's turn to clamp down on the True Whig Party; the vast majority of its members and supporters left the party, but it struggled on as a minor party.

In 1991, the party faced a challenge from a new group calling itself the "National True Whig Party of Liberia," and TWP chairman Momo Fahnbulleh Jones threatened legal action to induce the newly founded party to change its name.[5]

The party participated in the 2005 general election as part of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia, which dissolved the next year. It registered to compete as an individual party in the 2011 general election, while endorsing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's bid for a second term.[6] However, the party experienced strife over leadership five months before the election,[7] and it failed to nominate any candidate for any legislative seat.


  1. Carl Patrick Burrowes (2004). Power and Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970. Africa World Press. p. p. 312.
  2. "Liberia Country Study: The True Whig Ascendancy" Global Security
  3. Shillington, Kevin (2005). Encyclopedia of African History. 1. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 978-1-57958-245-6.
  4. Donald A. Ranard, "Liberians: An Introduction to their History and Culture" Center for Applied Linguistics, April 2005
  5. "True Whig Party To Sue If..." The Eye 1991-07-23: 7/8.
  6. Kwanue, C.Y. (June 17, 2011). "TWP Endorses Ellen's 2nd Term". Daily Observer.
  7. "Power Struggle in TWP: Partisans Demand Leadership Out But...". Liberian Observer 2011-05-23: 1/10.
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