Tolbert, William Richard, Jr. (tŏlˈbərt) [key], 1913–80, president of Liberia (1971–80). In government since 1935, he was vice president (1951–71), succeeding to the Presidency upon Tubman's death in 1971. Instituting reforms to close the disparity between Americo-Liberians and indigens, he raised expectations while the economy failed, stimulating opposition, a national strike, and a military coup (1980) in which he was killed.
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