On a recent sleepless night (with only reruns of The X-Files on basic cable) I came across the following quotes from Martí’s essay, “Our America,” published in January 1891.
“In America, the good ruler does not need to know how the German or Frenchman is governed, but what elements his own country is composed of and how he can marshal them so as to reach, by means and institutions born from the country itself, the desirable state in which every man knows himself and is active, and all men enjoy the abundance that Nature, for the good of all, has bestowed on the country they make fruitful by their labor and defend with their lives. The government must be born from the country. The spirit of the government must be the spirit of the country. The form of the government must be in harmony with the country’s natural constitution. The government is no more than an equilibrium among the country’s natural elements.”
“To know the country and govern it in accordance with that knowledge is the only way of freeing it from tyranny.”
“Our own Greece is preferable to the Greece that is not ours; we need it more. Statesmen who arise from the nation must replace statesmen who are alien to it.”
“It is now understood that a country’s form of government must adapt to its natural elements, that absolute ideas, in order not to collapse over an error of form, must be expressed in relative forms; that liberty, in order to be viable, must be sincere and full, that if the republic does not open its arms to all and include all in its progress, it dies.”
“But our America may also face another danger, which comes not from within but from the differing origins, methods, and interests of the continent’s two factions. The hour is near when she will demand intimate relations with her, though it does not know her and disdains her. And virile nations self-made by the rifle and the law love other virile nations, and love only them.”
“One must have faith n the best in man an distrust the worst. One must give the best every opportunity, so that the worst will be laid bare and overcome.”