Liberia Politics and Governance, Democratic Process. A Book on Liberia History Although founded not as an independent nation, but as quasi-colony of the American Colonization Society (ACS,) Americo-Liberians fairly immediately chose to declare sovereignty to protect themselves from British or French intrusion, although with no guarantee of protection or any colonial relationship with the US. The new nation was now composed of Americo-Liberian settlers and seventeen ethnic groups. For most of its history since, Liberia has been dominated politically and exploited economically by an Americo-Liberian elite. This oligarchic rule created resentment in and division among indigenous Liberians; stratification separated ethnic groups and economic classes. According to Jeremy Levitt, the autocratic and oligarchic political system established by the ACS in 1822 “permanently shaped the sociopolitical order responsible for the institutionalization of ethno-political conflict.