Daniel B. Warner

Daniel B. Warner
Credit: Wikipedia

Daniel Bashiel Warner

Term 3rd President: 1864 – 1868
Born April 19, 1815, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Died November 30, 1880, Monrovia, Liberia
Race/Ethnicity Mulatto, Americo-Liberian
County of Origin Montserrado
Profession Businessman/Merchant, Minister, Farmer
Political Party Republican Party


Daniel B. Warner was born on April 19, 1815 in Maryland, USA. His father was a slave who gained his freedom a year before Warner’s birth. In 1823, the family arrived in Monrovia via the brig Oswego through the American Colonization Society.He was raised and educated in Liberia.

As an industrious teen, he worked the land, making his own farm and later setting up a successful store. He also worked as a military and navy officer and owned a shipyard with many vessels on the Liberian waters. He also wrote the national anthem “All Hail, Liberia Hail” circa 1850’s. The current music was composed in the early 1860s by Liberian composer, Olmstead Luca.


Warner was educated in Liberia.

While his advantages for securing an education were very limited owing to the circumstances of the colony and his family, yet he applied his mind to study, and laid the foundation for an extensive knowledge of literature which prepared him for the duties of an active and useful life.

-The African Repository, 1883


Licensed Preacher
Trader on the Western Seaboard of Africa
Served in the Militia and Navy of Liberia
Became captain of the government schooner Euphrates
1831 Ordained Elder in the Presbyterian Church
1848 Representative (first Speaker of the House of Representatives)
1855 – 1858 Secretary of State
1859 – 1864 Vice President under Stephen Allen Benson
1864 – 1868 President of Liberia

Vice President
James M. Priest

1878 – 1880 Vice President (until his death in 1880) under President Gardner


Warner encouraged immigration of freed slaves to the new republic. His solicitation of migrants extended to the West Indies where several Liberian settlers would originate. In early 1865, the nation welcomed the first batch of 346 freed slaves from Barbados. During Warner’s reign, the True Whig party, claiming to be “the true black sons of Africa” reemerged to gain control of the land and displace the mixed race leaders. Warner did win reelection, speaking on behalf of his nation, and advocating that Liberia could be better than just “a petty imitator” of the United States.

President Warner promoted commerce with the British Isles and Western Europe. The Port of Entry Law was passed to ensure Liberia benefited from customs and revenues from foreign traders. Customs collection posts were built at the ports; this along with increased trade with Europe brought boom to the Liberian economy. He sought to create a bond with the indigenous tribes and noted in his inaugural address on January 4, 1864:

… I think the time has come when greater effort be put forth by the Government to teach them (aborigines) our fraternal connection with them, and the nature of the feeling, which should subsist between us. …We cannot do without them. In the bosom of these mighty forests lie the elements of the great African Nationality.

President Warner, The African Repository, 1867

During this time, the ACS sent 1254 more freed slaves to Liberia, and by March of 1866, Liberia had a total of 13,136 American settlers. Another 5000 plus recaptured slaves and other blacks joined the nation under Warner’s reign. Concerning the settlers and Liberia’s future, the President said:

…while the United States immigrant “floods” had overwhelmed the Indian aborigines on that continent, the role of the Liberian pioneer would doubtless be that of a durable and benefiting minority, and the destiny of Liberia would be to remain black”.

-Wilson, 1971

The “Ports of Entry” law passed in 1864. This legislation limited foreign traders to the Ports of Entry, namely: Robertsport, Monrovia, Buchanan, Edina, Greenville and Harper. Other ports could be established in the future. This law is described in a complaint by J. Milton Turner to Liberian Secretary of State J. E. Moore on February 29, 1876.

… from and after the first day of January ensuing to 1865, no foreigner or foreigners, whether white or colored, shall reside for trade on or at any place on the Liberian coast except the legally appointed and established “Ports of Entry,” …Roberts Port, Monrovia; Marshall Port of Buchanan and Edina, Greenville, Harper and such other ports as may hereafter be established…” “… to actually and absolutely confine the business of foreign merchants in that country to the aforesaid “Ports of Entry” into the Republic.

-J. Milton Turner, Rosser, 2002

Post Presidency

Warner lost the Republican nomination to Virginia born James Spriggs Payne who was elected in 1867 and began his term in 1868. However Warner later served as Gardner’s Vice President having won the election in 1877 and 1879. VP Warner died on November 30, 1880 (some accounts state December 1, 1880) in Monrovia.


Cassell, Abayomi. Liberia: History of the First African Republic. New York. Fountainhead Publishers, 1970. Print.

Congressional Series of United States Public Documents. House of Representatives. Third Session of the 45th Congress. Washington. Government Printing Office. 1879. Print.

Death of a Liberian Ex-President. The Baltimore Sun. 11 Mar. 1881. Web.

Guannu, Joseph S. Liberian Civics. Monrovia: Herald Publishing, 2004. Print.

Johnston, Harry Hamilton. Liberia,. Hutchinson & Co., 1906. Print.

Liberia. The World Factbook. US Central Intelligence Agency. Web.

Richardson, Nathaniel R. Liberia’s Past and Present. Diplomatic Press and Pub. Co., 1959. Print.

Rosser, James Bernard, Robert L Stevenson, and Hanes Walton. Liberian Politics : The Portrait by African American Diplomat J. Milton Turner. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2002. Print.

Starr, Frederick. Liberia : Description, History, Problems. Chicago: s.n., 1913. Print.

The African Repository and Colonial Journal. V39. The American Colonization Society. Washington. 1863. Print.

The African Repository and Colonial Journal. V43. The American Colonization Society. Washington. 1867. Print.

The African Repository and Colonial Journal. V57-62. The American Colonization Society. Washington. 1883. Print.

Wilson, Charles Morrow. Liberia: Black Africa in Microcosm. [1st ed.]. Harper & Row, 1971. Print.

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