University of Notre Dame
Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections
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Precursors to Independence
Early Independence
Federalism vs. Unitarianism
Rise of the Caudillos
Juan Facundo Quiroga
Rule of Rosas
Critics of Rosas
The Gauchos
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Bernardino Rivadavia

Bernardino Rivadavia (1780-1845) was a steadfast liberal who committed his life to national governance. A leader in the 1811 Buenos Aires independence movement, he helped organize the military and liberate the press from censorship. Rivadavia left for Europe in 1815 but returned in 1821 to accept an appointment as a minister to the Buenos Aires province. He quickly implemented liberal social policies, in particular breaking up government monopolies for such products as tobacco. Chosen as the first president of the United Provinces of Argentine in 1826, he pushed his liberal agenda on many fronts. The administration’s cultural initiatives would ultimately be its lasting contribution to Argentina. These included promoting education at all levels, founding the University of Buenos Aires, and establishing museums and the national library. His efforts to pass a strongly centralized national constitution, however, were thwarted by the provinces. Rivadavia also had to contend with the military campaign against Brazil over the Banda Oriental (what is now Uruguay). His inability to end the war and the provinces’ increasingly belligerent response to his policies forced him to resign in 1827. He left Argentina for Brazil and Europe before returning briefly to Argentina in 1834 to face political charges that had been leveled against him. He was sentenced to permanent exile and died in Cadiz, Spain, in 1845.
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