Bolivar and the Independence of Spanish America

By J. B. Trend | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
The First Venezuelan Republic

BOLÍVAR returned to Caracas in February 1807. The contrast between his ideals, acquired in Europe and from European books, with the actual conditions in South America which he found on his return, came with something of a shock. Humboldt's glib and superficial view of the readiness of the South American peoples for political liberty--so different from the careful observation and profundity of thought which he devoted to natural phenomena--proved to have no foundation in fact. Bolívar knew that the dominant part in the movement for emancipation was played by pure ideas, and that liberation (if it were ever to be achieved) would have to be the work of the educated Creoles. This is a fundamental fact in Bolívar's conception of how liberation could be achieved, and it was perhaps one of the causes of his ultimate failure. He himself was able enough and practical enough to recognize the contrast, and therefore to feel his failure all the more sharply. His mental background was romantic; he was to be the typical example--perhaps the greatest example--of the romantic man of action. But the romantic man

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Bolivar and the Independence of Spanish America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • A General Introduction to The Series v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter One In the Spanish Colonies 1
  • Chapter Three The First Venezuelan Republic 52
  • Chapter Four The Reconquest of Venezuela 87
  • Chapter Five From Jamaica to Angostura: Political Thought 111
  • Chapter Six Crossing the Andes 143
  • Chapter Seven Bolívar and San Martín 160
  • Chapter Eight "Emperor of the Andes" 186
  • Chapter Nine The Panamá Congress 206
  • Chapter Ten Disillusion 224
  • Chapter Eleven Rejection 247
  • Appendix Notes on Books 269
  • Index 279
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