The Argentine Republic

The Argentine Republic

The Argentine Republic

The Argentine Republic

Excerpt

As a history of Argentina this book has deficiencies which must be at once apparent to the critical reader. Why, for instance, no colonial history? What of the story of Argentine foreign relations, of Argentina and the other American Republics? And what of constitutional history?

I can only plead guilty to all these omissions. A book has to begin somewhere, and the colonial period is a volume by itself. More important, Argentine colonial history has been raked over with a fine-tooth comb, and there are numberless volumes on the Wars of Independence. This is the story of the Argentine Republic, which was founded in 1853; I have carried the story back to Rosas because there is no understanding the Republic without knowing the system it was rebelling against. Above all, there is no understanding the nationalist revolution without knowing how deep and native its roots are.

A book has physical limitations. I early decided to hew to the line where Argentina's development was concerned. I have tried to tell, not everything there is to know, not even all that is interesting and worth while, but what is essential. The book was written backwards. I spent more than a year hunting the issues, looking for the questions to ask, before I even began my research. They were all on the surface, like open boils: it was a wonderful, if tragic, moment.

Those problems, as the most unlettered Argentine could tell you, were the disastrous economic unbalance of the country, between Buenos Aires and the interior, between agriculture and nascent industry; they were the slow economic decline of the landed oligarchy, and the death struggle by which the landed class was trying to exclude other classes from effective participation in national life; they were the anger and frustration of the immigrant millions in the face of fraud and political exclusion; they were the dying hold of those foreign enterprises that had first brought . . .

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