“Bolivar believed that monarchic regimes would be the most appropriate form of government for the emancipated Spanish American nations”. Discuss. Simon Bolivar, known as ‘El Liberator’ was born in 1783 and in his adult years proceeded to try to revolutionize the political allegiance that South America had to Spain. While Bolivar’s’ pursuit of political sovereignty from Spain seemed well thought out, the reality of it was unattainable. Spanish Americans were still viewed by the Spanish government as being simply an expansion of Spain.The irony was that while Bolivar wanted independence from Spain, he wanted to unite the Spanish American colonies as one country. Therefore Bolivar’s belief in a united system collided.
Bolivar’s main belief, however, was that monarchic regimes were not the best solution Spanish America. He cited this in the ‘Angostura Speech’ and the ‘Carta de Jamaica’. In the ‘Carta de Jamaica’ he said that he ‘[did] not favour the federal system. It [was] overperfect’. He also discarded the concept of a monarchy with part aristocracy and part democracy.He extolled the virtues of the monarchy in England but believed that if the same governmental system was imposed on Spanish America that the country would face the threat of falling into ‘demagogic anarchy or monocratic tyranny’.
Bolivar anticipated and calculated the political product of these newly emancipated colonies. He supposed that the Mexicans intended to establish a representative republic where the executive had enormous powers. He further believed that if a military or aristocratic party were set up they would demand a limited and constitutional monarchy. This same party could potentially turn this monarchy into an absolute one.
Bolivar believed that it would be extremely difficult for such a politically unstable nation to sustain and organize the authority of a king. During the course of his ‘Carta de Jamaica’, Bolivar pointed out the reasons thy monarchy is unsuitable for these small countries, saying that a ‘monarchy would be a misshapen colossus that would collapse of its own weight at the slightest disturbance’. He goes on to be of the same opinion with a Mr. De Pradt in that while the division of states can be beneficial, the suggestion that each state is presided over by a monarch is not a good one.Bolivar goes on to give his reasons for not supporting monarchies. He declares that while republicans are concerned in the conservation of property and glory of its people, a monarchy’s policy is the absolute opposite. A king’s desire will always be to increase his possessions, wealth and authority.
The reason he does this is to increase his power. Bolivar personally believed that Americans were desperate for peace and that a republic would be preferable to a kingdom. According to G. E. Fitzgerald in his article ‘he would laud the advantages of a republican system…
and reject completely the idea of imposing a monarchy on the pretext of establishing public order’. However, simultaneously he maintained federalism to be a model form of government, yet he recognized that federalism could well lead to disintegration of the nation, and, in his later works, he pointed out that this was indeed happening. Perhaps what Bolivar needed was to strike a balance between federalism and monarchy. He supported an open aristocracy of merit; perhaps a ‘meritocracy’ would be best suited to describe his proposed leadership of the state.Simon Bolivar was a declared republican. He combined both ancient roman republic and Anglo French political thought and combined with his own original ideas. Bolivar rejected monarchic or imperial government as both unsuited for Spanish America and inconsistent with the principles of liberty and equality. Republics, as opposed to monarchies, ‘do not desire power which represent a directly contrary viewpoint, have no reason for expanding the boundaries of this nation to the detriment of their own resources’ (Carta de Jamaica).
Bolivar believed that American monarchies would fall into the trap of European style was over territory, succession and power. Bolivar had specific attributes to his model state and the basic principles of Bolivarist republicanism are tricameral legislature; a life-term executive; a judicial system; a representative electoral system and military autonomy. In 1812 in his Cartagena Manifesto, Bolivar asserted that the revolutionary governments primary role was to restore order ‘without regards for laws or constitutions until happiness and peace had been destroyed’.Bolivar realised that without order and stability the ensuing chaos would destroy what the heroes of the revolution had fought to establish – political sovereignty for the people of Spanish America. Bolivar said in his Angostura Discourse that ‘the most perfect system of government is that which results in the greatest possible measure of happiness and the maximum social security and political stability..
. we must hope that security and stability will perpetuate this happiness’. Bolivar was looking out for the welfare of the Spanish American people and he believed that the best way to do that was by implementing a republican regime.Therefore one can clearly say that Bolivar was completely opposed to the notion of a monarchic regime being implemented in Spanish America. Bolivar’s hope was to sever all ties with Spain and to follow the way of the American states.
Only through this method did Spanish America stand a chance of becoming a truly emancipated nation.Bibliography http://www. college.
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