Bonjour, I'm back!
Now, just a warning: this article may be a tad longer than Haiti.
The reason is that I have a very special parody surprise for you my wonderful readers at the end.
Now for the context of this article "Americans" refers to everybody in the Western Hemisphere.
Also as a disclaimer, in my historical opinion pieces, I take the perspective of various figures from the era to read in a more believable fashion. However, the principles of liberty and equality are very alive today and through stories like this we learn more about human rights but from an entertaining perspective told in the format of the story.
Without further ado, we are now in the 19th century and I must get into character- give me that cape!
Ahh, citizens, it is so humid here. Obviously, air conditioning hasn't been invented yet, not that I mind since I don't like air con anyway. We are in Venezuela sometime in the early 19th century.
What are you thinking holding that book??? Here, let me have that book "The Social Contract."
Government By Consent of the Governed
Ahhh, alas this book, one of my many favorites involving political philosophy and rights that we are being denied.
So citizen, we have all this education- especially in the philosophies of Locke, Rousseau and the American/French Revolutions. It would be great if we could use this education by being in politics- right?
Oops, alas from the depths of despair we can't!! Why this injustice?? Whyyy??
Well, we were born in the New World and are creoles. By Spanish law, we are not entitled the right to work in Spain.
No matter how educated we are, we can't use our education or be on equal terms with Spanish citizens born in Spain.
Other Colonies Have Revolutions
"Huzzah!! No taxation without representation!" The colonists in the British Colonies cried as they dumped tea into the harbor (Author Note: My ancestor was the youngest participant in the Boston Tea Party- he snuck out of his window to the join the protest).
People of the United States influenced by Calvinist resistance ideas, Locke, Rousseau and various other sources were not to tolerate being treated as second class British citizens. They called for rights- they did not want to leave the empire (well.. most of them) but unfortionately King George wasn't going to hand them equal rights as British citizens born in the United Kingdom.
Citizen, look at me- are we not equal? are we not all born with rights that no government should take away?
In indignation, I raise my fist to the sky and promise before the world, that I shall not be silent until the chains of oppression are smashed beneath our feet.
(This is a paraphrase of a Simon Bolivar quote).
Actually, here is the real quote that I must say while wrapped in a dark blue cape on the top of the Andes Mountains with my hair blowing in the wind- here goes:
"I swear in front of you; I swear by the God of my parents; I swear by them; I swear on my honor, and I swear by my Homeland, that I will not give rest to my arm, nor rest to my soul, until I have broken the chains that oppress us by will of the Spanish power!" - Simon Bolivar
Alright, here goes, that quote I believe sums up these revolutions perfectly. The determination to be free and liberated from oppression, especially being inspired by the other revolutions as Bolivar was.
Simon Bolivar, one of the main liberators was very interested in both the American and French Revolutions. He was very well versed in their philosophies, and loved traveling to those countries and learning a lot about their cultures and history.
What else was Bolivar up to?
Well, he was very wealthy, much like our characters in this sketch.
He was the picture of privilege and educated bourgeoisie. But he also had a determined indignation within him to end injustices. He was a complex and interesting character, and with Jose San-Martin and Sucre they fought together to free South America. For simplicity's sake, this article is written from Bolivar's perspective, but I strongly encourage you to read about the others as well.
Oh really?? Is it? "A people who love liberty will themselves, in the end, be free!" (also, Bolivar quote)
Poor Lima, under so much oppression and needs our help but there is a little problem in the way.
The Andes Mountains
So here is our problem, how do we get an army to cross the Andes Mountains? Are we crazy? We are in Venezuela!! There are many dense rainforests through here and Colombia and it's really hot.. and the Andes cut through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia and nobody can cross them with a whole army!
Yes actually we are crazy, but let's save Lima. They are people with rights just as we are.
They are crazy in a good way my citizen! Why do you think my character is wearing a winter cape in Venezuela? Got to cross those mountains.
Should we give up on liberty? Should we give up on the future of a nation? My heart shivers at the thought we shall not, when the rights of humanity are violated we must act upon liberating them. Follow me
To the Andes!
no llamas were harmed in this crossing
Long Story Short
Got to remember to thank Napoleon Buonaparte (a future article will be about him! Stay turned!!) In keeping Spain preoccupied with invading them, they aren't paying too much attention to us so we can pursue this ambitious task.
Woah, never thought I'd take Buonaparte for anything- that's a first.
So now the struggle is uniting Gran Colombia (modern day Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru) into one nation. Alas, so much infighting and slander against each other it will not work. Also, this terrain is hard to govern- thick jungles and ridged mountains.
Oh, it breaks my heart to say this, for I love liberty more than anything and don't want to be slandered as a dictator so I must leave to France.
And I, the "actress" must return us to the 21st century. So indeed, the Liberators tried to united South America into a union like the USA but due to various factors (geography, polarization, etc), it couldn't work.
It is interesting to see the ties between this revolution and the American, and French Revolutions.
This goes to show that liberty and human rights transcend cultures and aren't just "The United States" principles, or "French Principles" they are at the core heart of human nature the desire to be free and equal in rights and liberties and will fight for them.
As for Bolivar, he admitted his determination and his impulsivity (pulling stunts like crossing the Andes) were both his greatest strengths and flaws at the same time.
But before we return, I have a little parody for you to the tune of Don't Cry for Me Argentina.
It won't be easy, you'll think it strange
When I try to explain what I've done
That I still need the people after all that we've been through
You won't believe me
All you will see is a Liberator you knew
Although I have freed 4 countries
At five more and six more with you
I had to let it happen, I had to change
Couldn't stay all my life Bourgeous
Looking out of the window, staying out of the sun
So I chose freedom
Running around, crossing the Andes
But nothing impressed me at all
Except that the people would do
Don't cry for me Venezuela
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance
And as for fortune, and as for fame
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired
I'm not Napoleon
His promises were not solutions they promised to be
The answer was here all the time
I love people and hope they love me
Don't cry for me Venezuela
Have I said too much? I want to say so much more to you But all you have to do is look at me to know That every word is true
*Dramatic fading music*
Alright, we are back in the 21st century.
I hope you enjoyed this series of revolutions influenced by the Enlightenment and found some principles that apply today as well.
Stay tuned for my opinions on other historical events. Perhaps the barricades of 1848 shall be soon? Alas citizen, for now, feel free to take off your cape. Until next time!