Tubman was elected President in 1943
on a platform of economic growth and increased civil and
political rights for all Liberians. One of the first official
acts of Tubman's administration was the declaration of war
against Nazi Germany and Japan. Liberia became an important country
in the supply line of the Allied troops. The U.S. constructed
the Free Port of Monrovia and built a temporary landing strip
on the beaches of Robertsport.
native Liberians and women for the 1951 election. However, this
fact, although pleasing to those groups and the international
community, did not change the electoral outcome as Tubman
used the True Whig-controlled electoral machinery to produce fraudulent
results. This, however, did not significantly harm his popularity
in Liberia throughout his lifetime. Regarded as a pro-Western,
stabilizing influence in West Africa, Tubman was courted
by many Western politicians, notably U.S. President
Lyndon B. Johnson. Meanwhile, Tubman courted Amy Ashwood Garvey,
and had a long-term relationship with her.
gunman attempted to assassinate Tubman in 1955 at the behest of
his political opponents, after which he cracked down brutally
on any known opposition politicians.
Tubman's term is best
known for the policies of National Unification and the economic
Open Door. He tried to reconcile the interests of the native tribes
with those of the Americo-Liberian elite, and increased foreign
investment in Liberia to stimulate economic growth. These policies
led to the crowning achievement of the Liberian economy during
the 1950s, when it had the second largest rate of economic growth
in the world. At his death in 1971 in a London clinic, Liberia
had the largest mercantile fleet in the world, the world's largest
rubber industry, the third largest exporter of iron ore in the
world and had attracted more than US$1 billion in foreign investment.
He was succeeded as President by his long-time vice president
William Tolbert. The economic prosperity of Liberia at this time
would unleash political dissent with the autocratic rule of Tubman
and the True Whig Party, leading to the overthrow of the True
Whig oligarchy in 1980 by Samuel Doe. This would also destroy
the economic prosperity of Liberia's golden age.