The Federal System of the Argentine Republic

The Federal System of the Argentine Republic

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The Federal System of the Argentine Republic

The Federal System of the Argentine Republic

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Excerpt

"When will it be possible to eliminate party prejudice from the writing of Argentine history?"--Sarmiento, Civilización y Barbarie.

Every commentator on the Argentine constitution has emphasized and in many cases exaggerated the influence of the constitution of the United States upon the form and content of the Argentine federal system. In an opinion delivered on August 21, 1887, the supreme court of the Argentine Republic said:

"The system of government under which we are living was not of our creation. We found it in operation, tested by the experience of many years, and adopted it for our system. As has been well said, one of the great ad- vantages of this plan has been that we were thus able to avail ourselves of well-established rules of interpretation which serve as a guide in the applica- tion of the fundamental principles of the constitution in all those cases in which we have not altered the wording of the instrument."

Although the constitution of the United States had exerted a far-reaching influence on Alberdi, whose work on the "Bases of the Argentine Constitution" was used as a constitutional guide by the convention of 1853, the direct influence of the constitution of the United States on the Argentine system is more clearly seen in the constitutional convention of the Province of Buenos Aires, con- vened in 1860 to propose amendments to the federal constitution. It was but natural that in this convention the spirit of states' rights should be more pronounced than in the national convention of 1853, and to support this position constant reference was made to the provisions of the constitution of the United States.

The chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments of the Buenos Aires convention, in the report submitted to the conven- tion, said:

"The federal form of government once accepted, the committee has been guided in its recommendations by the provisions of a similar constitu- tion, recognized as the most perfect, viz., that of the United States.

"The provisions of this constitution are most readily applicable to Argentine conditions, having served as the basis for the formation of the Argentine Confederation. . . . The democratic government of the United States represents the last word of human logic, for the constitution of the United States is the only one that has been made for and by the people. . . . It would, therefore, be both presumptuous and a proof of ignorance were we to attempt any innovations in constitutional organization, thus ignoring the lessons of experience and the manifest truths accepted by the human conscience. . . ."

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