IN this pessimistic spirit, in spite of his great victories and the knowledge that the final liberation of his country was at last accomplished, Bolívar set out for Cúcuta to face the Congress and to begin his heroic project in the south.
He had hoped to secure the adoption by the Colombian Congress of that idealistic and perhaps too complicated Constitution of his which the Congress of Angostura had turned down. But here again he was disappointed. The code which the Congress finally adopted was even more inclined to federalism than that of Venezuela. All Bolívar's pet ideas--censors, hereditary senate and president for life--were thrown out and the senate, president and representatives were to be removed, by half their numbers, every four years, thus staggering the renewals among the legislators.
Bolívar was elected Constitutional President. Once more he demurred, sought to resign his dictatorial powers, was overridden by the acclaiming Congress, and yielded. He said to them, "History will say, ' Bolívar took command in order to liberate his countrymen and, when they were free, he left them to govern themselves by their own laws and not by his will.'" But apparently by liberation of his countrymen he meant liberation of all of northern South America--for he accepted the dictatorship for the duration of the project he had conceived for liberating the southern colonies. The Congress also voted him the au