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Buenos Aires Expedition, Argentina - 30 Jul 1890

Insurrection, in what is now the Argentine Republic, dates hack to the l6th Century, when Alvar Nunez the Spanish Governor was deposed oy the followers of Martinez Irala, and later shipped to Spain as a prisoner. Since this early date many revolutions have taken place for the control of the government.

In July 1890 still another revolution was in progress in the province of Buenoe Ayres, and a small detachment of Marines was landed for the protection of the American Consulate and the residence of the Minister, John R.C. Pitkin. These Marines were landed from the Tallapoosa, and remained ashore until July 30th, when they were withdrawn and returned to their ship.

The Argentine constitutional system in its outward form corresponded closely to that of the United States. But the inward grace of enlightened public opinion was lacking, and political practice fell below the level of a self-governing democracy. Congress enacted laws, but the President as commander-in-chief of the army, and as the head of a civil service dependent upon his will and caprice, possessed absolute authority in administration. The country was governed by executive decrees rather than by constitutional laws. Elections were carried by military pressure and manipulation of the civil service.

In 1890 the people arose against the existant Government because of general belief that it was corrupt. The rising was put down within two weeks, but the demonstration of popular feeling was enough to force the then President to retire voluntarily, and this was followed by the formation of a new Government by the Vice President. He was possibly the greatest executive Argentina ever had. Under his initiative Argentina undertook a program of public development of resources and constructive encouragement of private enterprise, domestic and foreign, that has given Argentina a place among the most progressive nations.

The only cause that could have brought a revolution in Argentina was the one that was effective in 1890. Any Government that should become corrupt would be forced out by public opinion, just as was the case then. In 1890 there was nothing definite. There were no proofs of specific dishonesty. It was only general belief, and that was enough for the Argentine people.

The Union Civica was founded when the government was charged with maladministration in sanctioning an illegal issue of $40,000,000 of paper money. The government was suddenly confronted with an armed coalition of the best battalions of the army, the entire navy, and the Union Civica. The manifesto issued by the Revolutionary Junta was a terrible arraignment of the political crimes of the Juarez Government.

The revolution opened with every prospect of success. It failed from the incapacity of the leaders to cooperate harmoniously. On July 19, 1890, the defection of the army was discovered. On July 26 the revolt broke out. For four days there was bloodshed without definite plan or purpose. No determined attack was made upon the government palace. The fleet opened a fantastic bombardment upon the suburbs. There was inexplicable mismanagement of the insurgent forces, and on July 29 an ignominious surrender to the government with a proclamation of general amnesty.

General Roca remained behind the scenes, apparently master of the situation, while President Juarez had fled to a place of refuge on the Rosario railway, and two factions of the army were playing at cross purposes, and the police and the volunteers of the Union Civica were shooting women and children in the streets. Another week of hopeless confusion passed, and General Roca announced the resignation of President Juarez and the succession of vicePresident Pellegrini. Then the city was illuminated, and for three days there was a pandemonium of popular rejoicing over a victory which nobody except General Roca understood.



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