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A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century

Updated and Revised Edition

By Luis Alberto Romero and Translated by James P. Brennan

Publication Year: 2013

A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century, originally published in Buenos Aires in 1994, attained instantaneous status as a classic. Written as an introductory text for university students and the general public, it is a profound reflection on the "Argentine dilemma" and the challenges that the country faces as it tries to rebuild democracy. In the book, Romero brilliantly and painstakingly reconstructs and analyzes Argentina's tortuous, often tragic modern history, from the "alluvial society" born of mass immigration, to the dramatic years of Juan and Eva Perón, to the recent period of military dictatorship. For this second English-language edition, Romero has written new chapters covering the "Kirchner decade" (2003-2013) and the upheavals surrounding the country's 2001 default on its foreign debt and the tumultuous years that followed as Argentina sought to reestablish a role in the global economy while securing democratic governance and social peace. Combining the rigor of the professional historian with a passionate commitment to his country's future, Romero's work is a major contribution to our understanding of one of Latin America's most important nations. This translation by James Brennan, himself a leading English-speaking historian of Argentina, makes his valuable book available to a wide readership in the United States and elsewhere in the world. A work of synthesis and a lifetime's erudition and reflection, A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century draws on the scholarship of the leading historians of Argentina and those of other disciplines such as political science and sociology to dissect the country's modern history. It is distinctive in its focus on Argentina's story as it relates to the saga of democracy, it's triumphs, it's tragedies, and it's pending challenges.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Cover Front

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pp. 1-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface to the Updated and Revised English-Language Edition

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pp. ix-xii

I believe that, once published, a book should be a closed case for its author. It has a certain life span. It is read, and ages, hopefully with dignity. Yet there are occasions—happy ones to be sure—in which the author must remain tied to a book and assume the risk of transforming it into a sort of serial publication. ...

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Preface to the First Spanish-Language Edition

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pp. xiii-xvi

In this synthesis of twentieth-century Argentine history, I have not sought—as is generally the case in this type of book—either to prove a thesis or to find that unique and revealing cause of a singular, in this case somewhat infelicitous, national destiny. I have merely attempted to reconstruct the history—complex, contradictory, and unique— ...

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Preface to the First English-Language Edition

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pp. xvii-xviii

With this book, I hope to offer English-speaking readers a broad overview of Argentina’s contemporary history and of the country’s current problems, such as they at present appear to be. The book was originally written for students and the general public in Argentina, that is, for people who, it was assumed, knew little about Argentine history. ...

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Chapter 1: 1916

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pp. 1-26

On October 12, 1916, Hipólito Yrigoyen assumed the presidency of Argentina. It was an exceptional day. A multitude of people filled the Plaza del Congreso and adjacent streets, cheering for a president who for the first time had been chosen in elections with universal adult male suffrage, a secret ballot, and a compulsory vote, ...

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Chapter 2: The Radical Governments, 1916–1930

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pp. 27-58

Hipólito Yrigoyen served as president from 1916 to 1922, the year that Marcelo T. de Alvear succeeded him in the presidency. In 1928, Yrigoyen was reelected, only to be deposed by a military revolt on September 6, 1930. It would be another sixty-one years before an elected president would peacefully transfer power to his successor. ...

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Chapter 3: The Conservative Restoration, 1930–1943

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pp. 59-90

On September 6, 1930, General José Félix Uriburu assumed power as provisional president, transferring the office on February 20, 1932, to General Agustín P. Justo, who had been elected, together with the vice president Julio A. Roca, in November of the previous year. ...

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Chapter 4: The Perón Government, 1943–1955

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pp. 91-130

The military government that assumed power on June 4, 1943, was headed in succession by General Pedro Pablo Ramírez and General Edelmiro J. Farrell. But Colonel Juan Domingo Perón, one of the government’s leading members, was successful in rallying a vast political movement around his persona, ...

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Chapter 5: The Stalemate, 1955–1966

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pp. 131-172

The day after the coup—if not before—the heterogeneity of the front that had conspired to overthrow Perón could be seen. General Eduardo Lonardi headed the new government and declared himself provisional president, thereby indicating his resolve to restore constitutional order. ...

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Chapter 6: Dependency or Liberation, 1966–1976

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pp. 173-214

A broad consensus surrounded the coup d’état of June 28, 1966. Both big and small business, the majority of the political parties—with the exception of the Radicals, Socialists, and Communists—and even many groups on the far left were content with the end of “bourgeois” democracy. ...

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Chapter 7: The “Process,” 1976–1983

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pp. 215-254

On March 24, 1976, the Junta commanders-in-chief, General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera, and Air Force Brigadier Orlando Ramón Agosti, assumed power. They immediately issued the legal instruments of the so-called Process of National Reorganization and designated General Videla president of the nation; ...

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Chapter 8: Advance and Retreat, 1983–1989

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pp. 255-284

The new president, Raúl Alfonsín, assumed the presidency on December 10, 1983, and a crowd gathered in the Plaza de Mayo for his inauguration. To signal both the continuities and the break with the country’s previous political tradition, he jettisoned the practice of speaking from the “historic balconies” of the presidential palace. ...

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Chapter 9: The Great Transformation, 1989–1999

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pp. 285-326

On July 9, 1989, President Alfonsín handed over power to the president-elect, Carlos Saúl Menem. This occasion was the first peaceful transfer by one democratically elected president to another since 1928 and the first since 1916 in which a president ceded power to the candidate of an opposition party. ...

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Chapter 10: Crisis and Reconstruction, 1999–2005

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pp. 327-354

The Alianza government was forced to deal with a complex economic situation centered on the maintenance or abandonment of the Convertibility Plan. President de la Rúa resigned in December 2001 when a deep economic, political, and social crisis erupted, and Eduardo Duhalde was chosen by the Congress to complete his term. ...

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Chapter 11: A New Opportunity, 2005–2010

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pp. 355-386

Late 2005 marked the beginning of the period dominated by Néstor Kirchner; it would conclude with his death in October 2010. In December 2007, he completed his presidential term and was succeeded by his wife, Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office with Julio Cobos of the UCR as her vice president. ...

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pp. 387-394

It is not easy to end a book when, as in our case, a political cycle is still under way and full of unknowns for its contemporaries. Nonetheless, I believe that something has ended with the death of Néstor Kirchner—kirchnerismo—and that we are in the first act of a new period of cristinismo. ...

Glossary of Spanish Terms

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pp. 395-396


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pp. 397-406


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pp. 407-413

Cover Back

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p. 433-433

E-ISBN-13: 9780271061108
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271062280
Print-ISBN-10: 0271062282

Page Count: 425
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Updated and Revised Edition