This article considers Augustus Washington’s mid-nineteenth-century Liberian daguerreotypes as propositions about a new nation. It suggests that Washington understood the power of his images as propaganda for viewers in the United States and also as documents that registered the promise of a black nation for Americo-Liberians. Even as Washington created an idealized image of Liberian leaders, he also remained critical of them, knowing that his daguerreotype portraits established a mark not yet realized by the new nation.

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