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Constitution of the African Civilization Society, 1796


It has pleased Almighty God to permit the interior of Africa to be made known to us during the last few years, by the efforts of missionaries and explorers, to an extent hitherto deemed almost impossible. The facts which have become public concerning its climate, soil, productions, minerals, and vast capabilities for improvements, are such, that we can no longer mistake the intention of the Divine Mind towards Africa. It is evident that the prophecy that “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God”, is on the point of fulfillment, and that the work, when commenced, shall be “soon” accomplished, when compared with the apparently slow progress of the Gospel in the other grand divisions of the globe. In order, therefore, to aid in this great work, and promote the civilization and Christianization of Africa, as well as the welfare of her children in all lands, we have formed ourselves into an Association, to be known as the African Civilization Society, and we severally agree to be governed by the following:


Article I

The Society shall be called the “African Civilization Society”, and shall act in harmony with all other societies, whose objects are similar to those of this Association.

Article II

The object of this Society shall be the civilization and Christianization of Africa, and of the descendants of African ancestors in any portion of the earth, wherever dispersed. Also, the destruction of the African Slave-trade, by the introduction of lawful commerce and trade into Africa: the promotion of the growth of cotton and other products there, whereby the natives may become industrious producers as well as consumers of articles of commerce: and generally, the elevation of the condition of the colored population of our own country, and of other lands.

Article III

No one shall be sent out under the auspices of this Society, either as a religious teacher, agent, or settler, who shall uphold doctrines which shall justify or aid in perpetuating any system of slavery or involuntary

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