Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 22:06

Simón Bolívar

A state too expensive in itself, or by virtue of its dependencies, ultimately falls into decay.

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios y Blanco (24 July 178317 December 1830) was a South American revolutionary leader.

QuotesEdit

If my death contributes to the end of partisanship and the consolidation of the Union, I shall be lowered in peace into my grave.
The three biggest fools in the world have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, and... me.
All who have served the Revolution have plowed the sea.
  • A state too expensive in itself, or by virtue of its dependencies, ultimately falls into decay; its free government is transformed into a tyranny; it disregards the principles which it should preserve, and finally degenerates into despotism. The distinguishing characteristic of small republics is stability: the character of large republics is mutability.
    • Letter from Jamaica (Summer 1815)
  • Among the popular and representative systems of government I do not approve of the federal system: it is too perfect; and it requires virtues and political talents much superior to our own.
    • Letter from Jamaica (Summer 1815)
  • The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.
    • Statement of 1829, as quoted in The Great Fear : The Reconquest of Latin America by Latin Americans (1963) by John Gerassi
    • Variant translations:
    • [The United States] appears destined by Providence to plague America with miseries in the name of Freedom.
      • As quoted in Simón Bolívar : Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator (2008) by David Bushnell and Lester D. Langley, p. 135
    • The United States seems destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.
      • As quoted in Latin American Evangelical Theology in the 1970's : The Golden Decade (2009) by J. D. S. Salinas and Daniel Salinas, p. 38
  • Colombians! My last wish is for the happiness of the patria. If my death contributes to the end of partisanship and the consolidation of the union, I shall be lowered in peace into my grave.
    • Final proclamation to the people of Colombia (8 December 1830), as quoted in Man of Glory : Simón Bolívar (1939) by Thomas Rourke
    • Variant translations: If my death contributes to the end of the parties and the consolidation of the Union, I shall go quietly to my grave.
    • Colombians! my last wishes are for the welfare of the fatherland. If my death contributes to the cessation of party strife, and to the consolidation of the Union, I shall descend in peace to the grave.
    • For my enemies I have only forgiveness. If my death shall contribute to the cessation of factions and the consolidation of the Union, I can go tranquilly to my grave.
  • The three greatest fools of History have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote . . . and me!
    • Words reportedly said to his physician in his final days, but not his last words, as quoted in Our Lord Don Quixote : The Life of Don Quixote and Sancho, with Related Essays (1967) by Miguel de Unamuno, as translated by Anthony Kerrigan, p. 386
    • Variant translations or versions:
    • The three greatest fools (majaderos) of history have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote — and I!
      • As quoted in Simón Bolívar and Spanish American Independence, 1783-1830 (1968) by John J. Johnson and Doris M. Ladd, p. 115
    • The three greatest idiots in history, have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, and myself.
      • As quoted in Nineteenth-century Gallery : Portraits of Power and Rebellion (1970) by Stanley Edward Ayling, p. 122
    • In the course of history, there have been three radicals: Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, and... me.
    • The three biggest fools in the world have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, and... me.
    • Jesus Christ, Don Quixote and I: three greatest fools of history.
    • We have sewn the sea — Jesus Christ, Don Quixote and me: the three great fools of history...
    • I’ve been plowing in the sea. Jesus Christ, Don Quixote and I — the three great mavericks of history.
  • Do not compare your material forces with those of the enemy. Spirit cannot be compared with matter. You are human beings, they are beasts. You are free, they are slaves. Fight, and you shall win. For God grants victory to perseverance.
    • As quoted in Simón Bolívar (1969) by Gerhard Masur
  • Damn it, how will I ever get out of this labyrinth?
    • A statement made in the last months of his life, occasionally said to be his last words, and portrayed as such in The General in His Labyrinth (1990) by Gabriel García Márquez, as translated by Edith Grossman, p. 267.
  • All who have served the Revolution have plowed the sea.
    • Statement written in his final days, as quoted in Simón Bolívar : A Story of Courage (1941) by Elizabeth Dey Jenkinson Waugh, p. 320; These are sometimes said to have been repeated many times while he was dying, and to be his last words.
    • Variant translations or reports:
    • America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea.
      • As quoted in Man, State, and Society in Latin American History (1972) by Sheldon B. Liss and Peggy K. Liss, p. 133
    • Those who have served the cause of the revolution have plowed the sea.
    • We have plowed the sea.
    • I plowed furrows in the ocean.
    • I have plowed the sea. Our America will fall into the hands of vulgar tyrants.

The Angostura Address (1819)Edit

To practice justice is to practice liberty.
Speech to the Congress of Angostura (15 February 1819) - Online text
  • We have been ruled more by deceit than by force, and we have been degraded more by vice than by superstition. Slavery is the daughter of darkness: an ignorant people is a blind instrument of its own destruction. Ambition and intrigue abuses the credulity and experience of men lacking all political, economic, and civic knowledge; they adopt pure illusion as reality; they take license for liberty, treachery for patriotism, and vengeance for justice. If a people, perverted by their training, succeed in achieving their liberty, they will soon lose it, for it would be of no avail to endeavor to explain to them that happiness consists in the practice of virtue; that the rule of law is more powerful than the rule of tyrants, because, as the laws are more inflexible, every one should submit to their beneficent austerity; that proper morals, and not force, are the bases of law; and that to practice justice is to practice liberty.
    • Variant translation: Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice.
      • As translated by Frederick H. Fornoff in El Libertador : Writings Of Simon Bolivar (2003) edited by David Bushnell
  • Let the entire system of government be strengthened, and let the balance of power be drawn up in such a manner that it will be permanent and incapable of decay because of its own tenuity. Precisely because no form of government is so weak as the democratic, its framework must be firmer, and its institutions must be studied to determine their degree of stability … unless this is done, we will have to reckon with an ungovernable, tumultuous, and anarchic society, not with a social order where happiness, peace, and justice prevail.
  • Let us give to our republic a fourth power with authority over the youth, the hearts of men, public spirit, habits, and republican morality. Let us establish this Areopagus to watch over the education of the children, to supervise national education, to purify whatever may be corrupt in the republic, to denounce ingratitude, coldness in the country's service, egotism, sloth, idleness, and to pass judgment upon the first signs of corruption and pernicious example.
    • As quoted in Rise of the Spanish-American Republics as Told in the Lives of their Liberators (1918) by William Spence Robertson, p. 239
  • When I contemplate this immense reunited country, my soul mounts to that height demanded by the colossal perspective of a picture so wonderful. My imagination takes flight toward future ages and admiringly observes from them the prosperity, the splendor, and the life which will exist within this vast territory. I am carried away; and I seem to behold it in the heart of the universe, stretching along its extensive coasts between two oceans which nature has separated; but which our fatherland has united by long and wide canals. I see it serve as the bond, as the center, as the emporium of the human race. I see it sending to the ends of the earth the treasures of gold and silver which its mountains contain. I see it, through the healing virtue of its plants, dispensing health and life to afflicted men of the Old World. I see it disclosing its precious secrets to the sages who know that the store of knowledge is more valuable than the store of riches which nature has so prodigally bestowed upon us. I see it seated upon the throne of liberty, the scepter of justice in its hand, crowned by glory, showing to the Old World the majesty of the New World.
    • Close of the address, as quoted in Rise of the Spanish-American Republics as Told in the Lives of their Liberators (1918) by William Spence Robertson, p. 239


DisputedEdit

  • Flee the country where a lone man holds all power: It is a nation of slaves.
    • Though there might be some published translation of such a statement, there is as yet no published source located for this, and it resembles the remark of Maximilien Robespierre, as quoted in Robespierre‎ (1935) by James Matthew Thompson, p. 135: "There is one thing more despicable than a tyrant — it is a nation of slaves."

Quotes about BolívarEdit

  • Both San Martín‬ and Bolívar have been accused by their enemies of plotting to make themselves kings, but most scholars agree today that there is no basis for either accusation. Bolívar, with his sense of drama, felt that to make himself monarch would mean a refutation of his entire past career. Such an attempt would render him ridiculous at the bar of history, and although he intended to keep political control in his hands, it was the control exercised by the power of a political chief, a kind of super-boss.
    • Margaret Hayne Harrison, in ‪Captain of the Andes : The Life of José de San Martín, Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru (1943)‬, p. 199

External linksEdit

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