On November 22, 2011, from noon to 1:30 pm, the Law Library of Congress will host the renowned Venezuelan academic, intellectual, and constitutional scholar Allan Brewer-Carías, who will present a lecture titled:
The Connection between the U.S. Independence and the Hispanic American Independence Movement in the Context of Several Key Constitutional Law Books Published in the United States at the beginning of the 19th century.
This event relates to the bicentenary of the 1812 publication in London of a book titled “Interesting Official Documents Relating to the United Provinces of Caracas.” In addition, 2012 will be the 200th anniversary of the Constitution of Cádiz.
The event will be held in the Mumford Room, located in the 6th floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue SE. Professor Brewer-Carías’s presentation will be accompanied by a small rare book exhibit featuring important books and materials related to the founding documents of the Latin American independence movement.
The influence of French revolutionary ideas over the Latin American independence movement has been well-documented. However, the strong impact that the founding documents of the United States of America had on the Latin American independence cause has received slightly less attention from scholars, and remains less known to the general American public.
Professor Brewer-Carías will seek to re-discover and highlight how the main documents related to United States independence influenced the thinking, design, and implementation of the principal constitutional structures conceived by the fathers of the Hispanic American independence movement. I am greatly interested in the laws and constitutions of Latin American countries and it will be intriguing to learn more about the shared constitutional history between the United States and these nations.
Professor Brewer-Carías will discuss a number of publications that appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century in Philadelphia and London. Several of these very interesting publications contain a page-to-page translation of the original English texts into Spanish. The books upon which Professor Brewer-Carías will base his presentation include:
- William Burke, Additional Reasons for our Immediately Emancipating Spanish America: deducted from the New and Extraordinary Circumstances of the Present Crisis: and containing valuable information respecting the Important Events, both at Buenos Ayres and Caraccas: as well as with respect to the Present Disposition and Views of the Spanish Americans: being intended to Supplement to “South American Independence” (F. Ridgway, London 1807). A Second Enlarged Edition contains the “Letter to the Spanish Americans” (Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán, Eds., Ridgway, London 1808), originally published by Miranda in French, London 1799, and in Spanish, London 1810.
- The history of Don Francisco de Miranda’s attempt to effect a revolution in South America, in a series of letters. By a gentleman who was an officer under that general … To which are annexed, sketches of the life of Miranda, and geographical notices of Caraccas (Boston 1808, London 1809).
- Joseph Manuel Villavicencio, Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América, según se propuso por la Convención tenida en Filadelfia el 17 de septiembre de 1787 y ratificada después por los diferentes Estados con las últimas adiciones. Precedida de las Actas de Independencia y federación (Smith & M’Kennie, Ed., Philadelphia, 1810).
- Manuel García de Sena, La Independencia de Costa Firme Justificada por Tomás Paine Treinta años ha (T. & J. Palmer, Ed., Philadelphia, 1811).
- Interesting Official Documents Relating to the United Provinces of Venezuela (W. Glidon, Rupert-Street, Haymarket, para Longman and Co. Paternoster-Row; Durlau, Soho-Square; Hartding, St. James’ Street; & W. Mason, No. 6, Holywell Street, Strand, &c. &c, London 1812).
- John M’Culloch, Historia Concisa de los Estados Unidos desde el descubrimiento de la America hasta el año 1807 (Traslation into Spanish by Manuel García de Sena) (Philadelphia, Impr. de T. Y. J. Palmer, 1812).
Professor Brewer-Carías’s achievements are numerous and impressive. He obtained his J.D. (1962) and his Doctor of Laws Degree (1994), both Summa Cum Laude, from the Central University of Venezuela. He became a tenured professor in administrative law at the same University in 1965. There, he also served as Director of the Public Law Institute from 1978 to 1989, as Head of the Administrative Law Department, and as a Head of the Public Law Department.
Professor Brewer-Carías has also taught postgraduate courses at the law schools of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (1985), the Université de Paris II (1990), and at the Columbia Law School, in New York (2006-2007). In 1981 he received the National Sciences Prize of Venezuela for his achievements in law and institutional studies. He was Vice President of the International Academy of Comparative Law (The Hague, 1982-2010) and is a Member of the Venezuelan National Academy of Political and Social Sciences, where he served as President between 1997 and 1999.
In Venezuela, Professor Brewer-Carías served as Head of the Presidential Commission on Administrative Reform (1969-1972); was elected Senator for the Federal District in 1989; served as Minister for Decentralization between 1993 and 1994; and in 1999 he was elected as an independent Member of the National Constituent Assembly. Since 1980, he has been the Director of the Public Law Journal (Revista de Derecho Público) of Venezuela.
He has published more that 140 books and more that 650 articles in journals and reviews on matters of constitutional and administrative law, political sciences, public administration, constitutional history, and urban history. The Library of Congress has cataloged 176 of his publications in our collection.
Since 1974, Professor BrewerCarías has been a Partner at Baumeister & Brewer in Caracas, Venezuela and is currently working and residing in New York.
At the Law Library we have a number of resources as well as experts who conduct research regarding the laws of Latin American countries. Please join us for this fascinating lecture that will bring together history and the law and demonstrate some of the connections between different countries and their constitutional foundations.
Update: The event video was added below.