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A Comparison of Central American Leaders

            General Antonio López de Santa Anna and Simón Bolívar were great leaders in Central America during the 19th century. Both helped shape Central America as we know it, albeit in differing ways. Comparing "Memoirs of General Antonio López de Santa Anna" with "The Jamaica Letters" reveals a sharp contrast between the beliefs and ultimate goals of de Santa Anna and Bolívar, respectively. These differences are demonstrated through the perception of their individual roles in current events, their political outlooks, and their aspirations. .
             The first major distinction lies in how they perceived their personal roles in current events. De Santa Anna viewed his involvement as crucial to the workings of the government. This is evidenced through his recollections of briefly resigning office. He describes both the public and his friends begging him to reconsider. De Santa Anna ends the paragraph by stating, "Their pleas led me to sacrifice myself to the public good. I withdrew my resignation." This instance demonstrates the extent to which he believes himself to be a vital part of the government. Furthermore, de Santa Anna speaks immodestly, crediting only himself with various successes. Claims such as "The tasks involved completely overwhelmed me, but I pulled through" assume total credit, with no mention of those working with him. Such pride is again found in the contrast between the first and last paragraph of the excerpt. The first includes, "How well the people know me! They knew I would never desert my principles and would always be on hand when my country needed me!" However, the last sentence of the reading states that de Santa Anna is leaving his country for good. In this way, he creates a dissonance between how he views himself and what his actions demonstrate: a national hero versus someone lacking true conviction. In opposition, Simón Bolívar sees himself as completely in service of his country.

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