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Simon Bolivar, the Liberator   By:

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Patriot, Warrior, Statesman Father of Five Nations

[Illustration: STATUE OF THE LIBERATOR at the head of the Avenue of the Americas, New York City.]



Patriot, Warrior, Statesman Father of Five Nations



Guillermo A. Sherwell (1878 1926) was the recipient of Doctorate Degrees from the National University of Mexico and from the University of Georgetown. Among the posts which he filled was that of Rector of the National University of Mexico, Legal Counsellor of the Inter American Committee in Washington and Professor of History and of Hispano American literature. Sincerely interested in the heroes of Spanish American independence, he dedicated himself to the study of their lives and especially to that of the Liberator. He also wrote a biography of Sucre.

This biography of Bolívar was first published in Washington in 1921. It was again published in Baltimore in 1930. There have been two translations into Spanish, that of Roberto Cortázar and that of R. Cansinos Assens, published respectively in Bogotá (1922 and 1930) and in Madrid (1922).

The Bolivarian Society of Venezuela has decided that in homage to the memory of the Liberator on the occasion of the transfer of the statue in New York to its new site at the head of the Avenue of the Americas, the publication of another edition of this excellent work of Mr. Sherwell's which gives in an excellent condensed form the historical significations of Bolívar. The children of Mr. Sherwell have kindly given their consent to the publication of this edition which is made under the auspices of the Junta de Gobierno of the United States of Venezuela.


In the history of peoples, the veneration of national heroes has been one of the most powerful forces behind great deeds. National consciousness, rather than a matter of frontiers, racial strain or community of customs, is a feeling of attachment to one of those men who symbolize best the higher thoughts and aspirations of the country and most deeply impress the hearts of their fellow citizens. Despite efforts to write the history of peoples exclusively from the social point of view, history has been, and will continue to be, mainly a record of great names and great deeds of national heroes.

The Greeks, for us and for themselves, are not so much the people who lived in the various city states of Hellas, nor the people dominated and more or less influenced by the Romans and later the Mohammedan conquerors, nor even the present population in which the old pure Hellenic element is in a proportion much smaller than is generally thought. Greece is what she is, lives in the life of men and shapes the minds and souls of peoples, through her great heroes, through her various gods, which were nothing but divinized heroes. Greece is for us Apollo, as a symbol of whatever is filled with light, high, beautiful and noble; Heracles for what is strength, energy, organization, life as it should be lived by human beings. Leonidas stands for us as a symbol of heroic deeds; Demosthenes as a symbol of the convincing powers of oratory and Pericles as the crystallization of Grecian life in its totality of beauty, learning and social and civic life. Greece is a type, is an attitude, is a protest against oppression, is an aspiration towards beauty, is an inspiration and a guide for men who live in the higher planes of feeling and thought. But Greece is not all that as a people; Greece is all that through men converted into symbols.

So it is with other peoples.

Rome still signifies for us the defense of the bridge against the powerful enemy; a man taking absolute power over the State and then surrendering it to the people from whom it came. Rome is Repúblican virtue, and imperial power, and also, alas! imperial degradation... Continue reading book >>

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