How Simon Bolivar balanced his goal of liberty and equality.
The book, “A Life” by John Lynch was the first to be written in English language. It contains the biography of Simon Bolivar, a Latin American who was born in 1783. Orphaned at very young age, he was educated by a private tutor who inspired on the principles of the enlightenment and republicanism. After the tragic death of his newly found wife, Simon went to Europe to study in order to enlighten his philosophies. He returned to his native land and vowed to dedicate his life to liberate his land from the colonial government. He later died in 1830. In order to balance his goal of liberty and equality, Bolivar had several policies that made sure that this was achieved.
First, Bolivar fought against the rule of the mob, that is, mobocracy. This is where he would use the people in order to gain favor so that he could retain power (Lynch 44). Since he was a republican, he maintained that power and expansion of their territories was not of major concern but the liberation of the Latin Americans was the most important. Therefore, in his mission to achieve this, he did not allow to be ruled by the majority so that he could gain favor from them.
In his mission, Bolivar committed himself to racial equity and gender equality. He never oppressed the minority. He observed that many of the small groups like the blacks who were there and the women who stayed there were being oppressed and he took this as his duty to try to minimize this oppression. This meant that due to lack of equity, liberating his people from the rule of the Spanish Americans would be very difficult. Therefore, he made sure that there was equality and there was no oppression. Due to this, he was able to keep his main philosophy of liberty and equality at check.
He opposed a dictatorial type of a government, which used to oppress the people of Latin America and he needed to liberate them from this type of government. He believed that dictatorship was bringing down the Latin American governments down and therefore they needed to remove this type of government (Lynch 122). Dictatorship also made it very difficult for him to balance his philosophy of liberty and equality. This meant that if the people were being oppressed in any way then there would be no liberty and equality therefore, he had to make sure that his people were not being oppressed.
His native land was doing very well with tobacco as compared to today where oil is the main economic backbone of their country. In order to balance his philosophies of liberation and equality, he had to make sure that the economy of his country was good and that there was no any form of corruption or people using the revenues from the tobacco to enrich themselves. Instead, he made sure that the revenues, which were collected from the tobacco, were put back to the production process to increase productivity, which in return would improve the country’s economy. This meant that there was a reduction in income inequalities, which were there. Therefore, he would say a country with a good economy is a country with a good and strong government and this will eventually lead to the balance of the philosophy of liberation and equality.
Bolivar also believed in the separation of the state and the church. He said that, “the state cannot rule the conscience of the subjects neither give an award or a punishment because God is the only higher power” (Lynch 98). Moreover, he continued to say, “Religion is the law of Conscience” (Lynch 98). In these words, he meant that the use of religion by the Spanish Americans was creating the wrong impression of religion and they, the Spaniards, were using this to oppress the people of Latin America. Therefore, this created a lot of inequality and oppression meaning there was no liberation. In addition, he had to ensure that this was not happening leading to the balance of liberation and equality hence a strong government.
He also believed in the division of powers as a means of balancing the philosophy of liberation and equality. This meant that not one person would govern the whole country, that is, there should be no greed or hunger for power. He said that this would lead to inequality and oppression, which will later lead to luck of liberation and a weak government. He thought that when powers are being delegated, they would make a government to be strong since it needs a group to finish oppression and bring back liberation to its people from the Spanish Americans who were oppressing them at that time.
Prohibition of slavery was another thing that he thought had to be abolished in order to balance liberation and equality. Many of the Latin Americans were being used as slaves to work in the lands of the Spanish and it was not because they liked to work their but because they were being forced. This meant that this people were not yet liberated from this oppression. He said that the use of slavery was itself oppression and that it was bringing a lot of inequality (Lynch 22). In order for him to balance liberation and equality, he abolished slavery and said that this will lead to even a stronger government, which liberate its people.
He also said that there should be abolition of monarchies and privileges. These monarchies brought about the rule of one person, which also led to dictatorship. This meant that there was division of power and there was a lot of slavery that was going on. Additionally, these monarchies also led to some people having more privileges than others had. This meant that there was no equality among people. Therefore, in order for him to balance the philosophy of liberation and equality, he had to abolish the monarchy and privileges leading to a very strong Latin American government.
Lynch, John. Simón Bolívar: a life. Bellevue, WA: YaleUniversity Press, 2006. Print