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Volume 50 / Humanities


19th and 20th Centuries: Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay

JOSEPH T. CRISCENTI, Professor of History, Boston College

HISTORICAL WRITINGS IN THIS BIENNIUM show no significant deviations from the pattern first noted six years ago. The 20th century continues to attract more scholarly attention than does the 19th. Nearly two-thirds of the publications annotated below deal with the 20th century, and over half of them with the post-1930 years. There are fewer contributions from foreign authors. Several works have appeared containing selections from workers' newspapers that are rarely found in library collections. More Argentine scholarly journals have become available, and their articles, as well as those in other publications, reflect a wide range of interests and the increasing use of primary source materials located outside the city of Buenos Aires.

The pre-1880 era is benefiting both from a reexamination of the evidence presented in older works, the application of new methodologies, and the greater utilization of provincial archives and collections. Halperin Donghi's valuable introduction to his Proyecto y construcción de una nación: Argentina, 1846-1880 (see HLAS 44:3340) has been reprinted as a separate volume (item bi 89002617). Rubinstein (item bi 89002557) demonstrates in a well-documented work that an aim of Bernardino Rivadavia was to create a rural middle class, and that the idea was discussed in the pre-1810 period. Aguirre Ramírez (item bi 89003374), a lawyer, conducts a meticulous examination of the existing literature to determine what statements about the Rosas period can be supported by documentary evidence. Castellano Sáenz Cavia (item bi 89002705) analyzes the legal status of the black slave in the province of Buenos Aires until slavery was abolished in 1853. His work suggests the need for similar studies in the other provinces. Sábato (item bi 89002587) focuses her attention on the formation after 1850 of a free labor force in the city of Buenos Aires. Szuchman (item bi 89002550) deduces from his study of households in Buenos Aires (city, 1810-1855) that there is a connection between the popularity of a caudillo and his ability to provide political stability. How his theory applies elsewhere in the Río de la Plata or Latin America deserves investigation. Ferreira Soaje (item bi 89002637) failed to find in the provincial archives of Córdoba any conclusive evidence of the culpability of Rosas in the assassination of Facundo Quiroga. Other aspects of the Rosas period which call for more research are touched upon by Ocón (item bi 89002586) and Comadrán Ruiz (item bi 89002648).

Progress in writing the political and economic histories of the up-river and interior provinces continues and is providing new insights into Argentine national history. Videla (item bi 89002536) summarizes his own monumental research and that of others on the province of San Juan. New editions of two classics have appeared: Cambas (item bi 89002656) on Misiones, and Martínez Paz (item bi 89002602) on Córdoba. Levaggi (item bi 89002609) demonstrates that the authors of the federal and provincial constitutions were inspired by several constitutional models, not only that of the US. Cuesta Figueroa (item bi 89003251) explains the organization of the Ministerio de Hacienda and the fiscal and trade laws of the province of Salta to 1855. Bistué (items bi 89002661 and bi 89002662) makes two notable contributions to the institutional history of the province of Mendoza. Seghesso de López Aragón (item bi 89002692) dissects the intricate provincial politics that led to requests for federal interventions in the province of Mendoza. Ensinck (item bi 89002640) presents a solid introduction to the economic history of the province of Santa Fe. In an earlier article (item bi 89002639) he is more detailed on the monetary situation in the province.

In several of the provinces a vigorous effort is being made to write local history. Urquiza Almadoz (item bi 89003373) has completed vol. 3 of his impressive history of Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Ríos (1778-1890). Barrionuevo Imposti (item bi 89002665) consulted provincial archives and parish records for his history of Río Cuarto, Córdoba. Colonia Caroya, Córdoba, celebrated its centennial year with an impressive volume (item bi 89002649) describing its history. The research progress reports presented at two conferences (items bi 89002646 and bi 89001570) make clear that the writing of local histories will be impeded, if not prevented, by the absence of adequate records. Tagle Frías de Cuenca (item bi 89002549) fortunately had access to the Frías archives in writing a respectable history of the Estancia Pozo de Correa. García Costa (item bi 89002589) calls attention to a militant Marxist newspaper editor living in San Luis (city) before 1880. Whigman (item bi 89003318) discusses the tobacco trade on the Upper Plata to 1865. Sonzogni (item bi 89002553) continues the story to 1940.

Publications on the 20th century dominate titles canvassed for annotation in this Handbook. The most impressive are those based on extensive use of Argentine and non-Argentine diplomatic archives. Newton (item bi 89002593) exposes the campaign of the US State Dept. against the German-Argentines during World War II. Vannucci (item bi 89002542) makes evident that a united Latin America can influence the US State Dept. Rapoport (item bi 89002716) briefly outlines Soviet-Argentine relations.

In labor history San Martino de Dromi (item bi 89002555) has written an easy guide to the labor movement and government labor policies. Ceballos (item bi 89002652) studies the organization and juridical status of labor unions. Campo (item bi 89002655) satisfactorily shows that the peronist labor movement owes much to its predecessor. Calello and Parcero (item bi 89002657) chronicle changes that took place within the labor movement (1960s-70s). The views and activities of militant communist provincial labor leaders are described in Vélez (item bi 89002540), Burgas (item bi 89002658), and Lozza (item bi 89002605). Reinoso (item bi 89002574) has edited a collection of articles that appeared in Bandera Proletaria (1922-30). Fiorito (item bi 89002636) has assembled documents relative to a strike in Río Gallegos in 1921-22. Both Santamaría (item bi 89002696) and Greenberg (item bi 89002619) focus their attention on the strike of the sugar workers in Tucumán in 1927. Golluscio de Montoya (item bi 89002621) presents a useful list of anarchist groups and their locations in Argentina.

In political history several important publications have appeared. Walter (item bi 89002533) concludes from a close examination of election campaigns that it is important for the national government to control the province of Buenos Aires. Solberg (item bi 89002693) explains why Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales or YPF failed to become a monopoly. The published archives of Gen. Uriburu (item bi 89002543) seem to confirm the conclusion of García Molina and Mayo (item bi 89002626) that the international oil companies were not involved in the Revolution of 1930. Luna (item bi 89002604) completed another volume in his excellent study of the Perón era. Crassweller's account of the Perón years (item bi 89002645) is less comprehensive, but it is worthwhile reading. Mangone and Warley (item bi 89002603) discuss Perón's relations with university students. Pavón Pereyra (item bi 89002580) describes Perón's interest in cooperating with Balbín in 1966, and with him and the UCR in 1972. Hurst has assembled the speeches of Eva Perón (item bi 89002719). Scholars will find the footnotes in Chávez's laudatory biography of Eva Perón of more interest than the text itself. Godio (item bi 89002622) seeks to account for the failure of the peronists to prevent the fall of Perón. Two peronist exiles (item bi 89002641) reflect on the errors of their militant generation. Nunca más (item bi 89002670) contains selective evidence on those who allegedly were tortured by the military during the "dirty war" years. Rodríguez Molas (item bi 89002572) properly calls attention to the European background of the practice of torture in Argentina. His study of women's rights and the divorce question (item bi 89002571) deserves a wide reading audience. Castello (item bi 89002653) has written a useful chronological account of the Guido and Illia administrations, and Troncoso (item bi 89002544) of the Videla administration.

In intellectual history the most impressive work is that of Coggiola (item bi 89002650). Coggiola had access to a fairly complete collection of Trotskyite publications, and he quotes extensively from them. Moreau de Justo (item bi 89002598) explains her husband's socialist ideas. Rock (item bi 89002712) analyzes the views of prominent traditionalists. Several studies are devoted to groups and individuals who influenced Perón and his era. Norberto Galasso concentrates on members and friends of the Fuerza de Orientación Radical de la Joven Argentina (items bi 89002629, bi 89002630, and bi 89002631). Hernández Arregui was the "intellectual Marxist" among the peronists. Golder (item bi 89002647) examines the ideas of another peronist Marxist, John William Cooke. Palacio (item bi 89002583) stresses the role of Catholicism, nationalism, and liberal positivism in the Perón years. His conclusions are substantiated in part by Warley's finding that the "liberal," "leftist" and other university publications debated primarily with the nationalist Catholic press.

In immigration history Caltagirone (item bi 88002510) discusses the Italian communities in the province of Mendoza. His conclusion that the lack of sufficient data and accurate statistics will hinder a thorough study of Italian immigration to Argentina may apply to some of the provinces. Ruggiero's study (item bi 89002556) of an Italian community in Entre Ríos, not to mention the scholarly works of Samuel L. Baily and others, indicates that an examination of the role and adjustment of the Italian immigrant in Argentina is possible and can be very rewarding. The same can be said for the history of the Jewish immigrant. Itzigsohn (item bi 89002613) interviewed Jews of diverse origins who had arrived in Argentina after 1906 and found that there were significant differences between urban and rural immigrants in their ability to adapt. Divdonsky (item bi 89001494) even shows that Jewish immigrants, like Italian immigrants, have developed and are developing their special vocabulary. He also identifies several varieties of anti-Semitism that exist among the Jews. Deutsch (item bi 89003213) discusses another form of anti-Semitism. López de Borche (item bi 89002606) essentially wrote the history of the first settlers in Colonia San Gregorio, Entre Ríos.

There is a healthy tendency to question previous explanations of pre-1880 developments in Argentina and to devote more attention to the up-river and interior provinces. Some of the provinces, for natural and other reasons, lack the historical records for a completely satisfying account of their past, but as the numerous well-documented local histories prove, the situation is not hopeless. Here and there, there are suggestions that each province had an economic and political life of its own, and that its dependence on the city and province of Buenos Aires originally was far from complete. With respect to the post-1880 period, the 1930s and later years still need closer examination. The use of Argentine and non-Argentine diplomatic archives is shedding light on both international relations and domestic politics during the Perón period. Labor union leaders and Marxists outside the province of Buenos Aires are receiving more attention. Those who were driven underground during the military governments finally are beginning to tell their stories. With the return of civilian government, there is every reason to believe that historical studies in Argentina will regain their former vigor.

Among the works annotated here, five are outstanding. Four are based on the greater use of Paraguayan and non-Paraguayan archives. Seiferheld (item bi 89003284) consulted German diplomatic files for his analysis of German policy toward Paraguay on the eve of World War II, and papers of the US State Dept. (item bi 89003238) for his description of events leading to the fall of President Federico Chaves. With the help of British diplomatic papers, Herken Krauer (item bi 89003297) discusses the power struggles that existed in Paraguay (1910-14). Livieres Guggiari (item bi 89003294) based his study of the Paraguayan economy before and after the Chaco War on documents found in Argentine and Paraguayan archives. Cardozo (item bi 89003307) wrote a superb one-volume cultural history of his country. Prieto Yegros (item bi 89003305) and Freire Esteves (item bi 89003299) provide useful data and new insights into the Revolution of Feb. 17, 1936, Duré Franco (item bi 89003303) into the Revolution of 1947, and Caballero Ferreira (item bi 89003310) into the Revolution of Dec. 12, 1959. Two works, those of Mazacotte (item bi 89003292) and Santos (item bi 89003285), examine the personal rivalries that existed among army officers after 1920. Works on the Paraguayan and Chaco wars always refer to the Guaraní as "warriors." This is the point emphasized by Bejarano (item bi 89003313), who traces the origins of the image from colonial times. What is often overlooked is that the image included the Guaraní in the Argentine province of Corrientes and the Territory of Misiones.

Several impressive works became available for annotation. Astigarraga (item bi 89003370) has laboriously constructed the biographies of clergymen who moved freely from one shore of the Río de la Plata to the other, and from one parish to another within the same province (1770-1830). He calls needed attention to the structure of the Church, and to the political disputes that divided the clergymen. His work should serve as a model for similar studies in the Argentine provinces. Azcuy Ameghino (item bi 89001493) satisfactorily shows that Artigas sought to achieve some of the objectives discussed by Manuel Moreno and others before 1810. Pivel Devoto (item bi 89003351) ably traces the development in Uruguay of the legally vague concept of the political crime. Barrán and Nahum (item bi 89003366) study the early emergence of foreign and conservative opposition to the Batlle reforms (1911-13). They also profitably use British diplomatic papers in their analysis of the national economy under Batlle (1913-16). In two separate volumes, Caetano (items bi 89003361 and bi 89003362) details the activities of the opposition (1916-29). Deus (item bi89-3379) discusses the reasons for Gabriel Terra's unexpected election to the presidency in 1931, and Jacob (item bi 89003356) chronicles Terra's response to the political and economic problems he faced (1931-38). Barrios Pintos (item bi 89003364), Calabria (item bi 89003360), and Macedo (item bi 89003354) have written useful histories of communities established in the second half of the 19th century, but they supplement rather than replace older works. Finally, Crawford (item bi 89003359) looks beyond the famous Paraguayan missions to assess Jesuit activities and accomplishments in the Río de la Plata basin.

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