In 1820, the American Colonization Society (ACS) began sending African Americans volunteers to the Pepper Coast to establish a colony for freed African Americans. The American Colonisation Society is now widely regarded as being a failure in this effort - only an estimated 528 free African Americans were convinced to move to Liberia. These free African Americans came to identify themselves as Americo-Liberian, developing a cultural tradition infused with American notions of racial supremacy, and political republicanism. The ACS, a private organization supported by prominent American politicians such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, and James Monroe, believed repatriation was preferable to emancipation of slaves. Similar organizations established colonies in Mississippi-in-Africa and the Republic of Maryland, which were later annexed by Liberia. On July 26, 1847, the settlers issued a Declaration of Independence and promulgated a constitution, which, based on the political principles denoted in the United States Constitution, created the independent Republic of Liberia.