Juan Alberdi Baptist: biography of the father of the Argentine Constitution

Alberdi is one of the most important figures of the Hispanic-American branch of liberalism that lived in the 19th century.

We will try to dive into the life of this author through a biography of Bautista Alberdi, In which we will know the episodes that marked his life, what were his most important contributions in the different fields worked and therefore what were the repercussions that resulted from them.

    Brief biography of Bautista Alberdi

    Juan Bautista Alberdi was born in 1810 in the Argentine province of San Miguel de Tucumán. His origins were Spanish, as his father, Salvador Alberdi, was a merchant from Guipúzcoa, in the Basque Country. Salvador owned a prosperous pulperia, a typical food establishment. In addition, he also had political relevance for the conflict between Argentina and England, because he was one of those responsible for defending the capital.

    Regarding her mother, Josefa Aráoz, she was of Creole origin, member of one of the most important families of the city of Tucuman. Sadly, Josefa passed away giving birth to Juan Bautista Alberdi, so she was orphaned. The Alberdi family actively participated in the Revolution of May 1810, a political event that ignited the fuse of the future independence of Argentina, until then dependent on Spain.

    Joan Baptista Alberdi’s father died when he was only 11 years old. Orphan of her parents, Joan is left under the guardianship of the rest of her brothers. Alberdi thus begins a stage of his life, this time in the city of Buenos Aires, where he settles to continue his studies. He entered the institution of the College of Moral Sciences through a government grant.

    After a few unstable years of abandonment and returning to academia, Juan Bautista Alberdi We enrolled, first at the University of Buenos Aires, soon at the University of Cordoba and finally at that of Montevideo (Uruguay), to study jurisprudence., Discipline in which the doctor’s degree would later arrive, in Chile.

    He combined his academic training with training in the field of music, as he was a lover of this art and came to master different instruments, such as piano, flute and guitar. In fact, the first book that Juan Bautista Alberdi wrote dealt neither more nor less than this theme. It was called The Spirit of Music.

    Of return to San Miguel de Tucuman, worked next to Alexander Heredia, governor of the region, preparing a work to which he titled the descriptive memory of Tucuman.

      Youth and generation of 37

      After the stay in Tucuman, Juan Alberdi Baptist decided to take the path back to the Argentine capital. It took place in 1835. During this time, the writer Marc Sastre had founded the Saló Literari, a series of meetings where the authors of the so-called Generation of 37 could exchange and share their different points of view on different subjects. Alberdi was one of the members.

      The Generation of 37 promoted democratic and liberal ideas. They decided to continue the movement that preceded them in the May Revolution. This group advocated an intermediate solution that would satisfy those who advocated the building of a unitary nation but also those who preferred a federalist model. Alberdi studied the political situation in depth in preparation for his doctoral thesis.

      This research led to the development of his book, Preliminary Fragment to the Study of Law. There he explored different avenues in an attempt to resolve the problems Argentina was plunged into during those turbulent years. With her, he laid the foundations for the legal historicism of this country.

      It was 1837, a prolific year in which he undertook the new project of creating a newspaper, which he named La Moda, Where he dealt with precisely this subject, in particular by speaking of the most important currents that existed on the European continent at that time. It also dealt with other arts, such as literature or music. Joan Baptista Alberdi himself used the pseudonym Figarillo to write in this publication.

      However, La Moda had a short life. Only twenty issues later, this publication was forced to close.

      Years of exile

      During these years, the province of Buenos Aires was ruled by Juan Manuel de Rosas, of whom Juan Bautista Alberdi was a fierce opponent. Alberdi refused to pledge allegiance to this institution, which launched political persecution both against him and for members of the Literary Hall, which had to be dissolved. A new association was secretly created, called La jove Argentina, and its leader was Alberdi himself..

      But the situation was dangerous and many of them decided to leave Argentina. In the case of Juan Alberdi Baptist, his fate was Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. It was a dramatic fact, because at that time he already had a partner and a young son, and had to part with them. He never worked as a father.

      He had the opportunity to disseminate his ideas throughout Uruguay, where they received great acceptance. He also had the opportunity to work, both as a lawyer, given his training, and as a journalist, a profession in which he also had previous experience. It was the time when he published two different plays. The first was titled The May Revolution, while the second was named after the giant Roselles.

      too much lived for a time in Chile, a country in which he became a renowned lawyer and where in addition he was able to complete his doctoral thesis to win the highest title in this discipline. This work was called “On the Convenience and Purposes of an American General Congress.” In this work already advanced the idea of ​​the creation of a supranational body bringing together the interests of the Hispano-American regions.

      He also spent time in Europe, more precisely in Paris, studying the work of Montesquieu, which was the germ of the creation of the constitutions of the flourishing countries of the American continent. He studied in particular the model of the American constitution, studying ideas for a future constitution for Argentina.

      Fall of the roses and independence of Argentina

      In 1852, the Battle of the Owners took place, where the Grand Army, made up of different Argentine provinces, neighboring countries and exiles, put an end to the forces of the Argentine Confederation, a movement to which governor Roses belonged. This significated the return of those who had previously had to flee the region, as was the case with Juan Bautista Alberdi.

      Studying other great letters has earned Alberdi the ability to face the most important task of his life: preparing the ground for the new constitution that an independent Argentina should have. He published a first approach to this question, entitled Bases and points of departure for the political organization of the Argentine Republic.

      The following year would publish a new treaty like extension of the precedent, titled “Elements of Argentine provincial public right”. One of the keys that Juan Bautista Alberdi established as the basis of these documents was the liberal cut that has been observed in economic and political matters.

      Another work that wrote in this line was the one of Economic and rentístico System of the Argentine Confederation. Finally, in 1853, the competent authorities met in Santa Fe and sanctioned the new constitution of the nascent country, using the documents that Joan Baptista Alberdi had prepared for this purpose, so that he could be considered the father of the Argentine constitution. .

      Diplomatic career and last years

      After these events, Juan Bautista Alberdi was chosen as a member of the diplomatic corps, for which he moved to Europe, with the aim of obtaining the international recognition of Argentina as a sovereign country, in front of the supporters of the creation of the State of Buenos Aires. , that tried to obtain the independence of this region.

      Juan Bautista Alberdi has reached this goal and the Argentine Republic has become a reality. In 1878, he returned to his native country, Tucumán, where he was elected deputy. It lasted to this position two years, retiring to him by a conflict between two sectors that fought by the implantation of the capital, that finally fell on the side of Buenos Aires. Members of Parliament who did not support this initiative were dismissed.

      In 1880, Juan Bautista Alberdi The honorary doctorate of the University of Buenos Aires has been appointed, specifically from the Faculty of Law. At that time, his health was already very fragile, so he could not participate in the speeches. One of the students read his text to him. It was titled: The omnipotence of the state is the denial of individual freedom.

      A final conflict with President Bartholomew Miter, who opposed the publication of his complete works, caused Joan Baptista Alberdi to emigrate to Paris, France, where he died in 1884.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Adelman, J. (2007). Between Order and Freedom: Juan Alberdi Baptist and the Intellectual Origins of Argentinian Constitutionalism. Latin American Research Journal.
      • Gorgs, MA (2006). Hispano-American liberalism in the 19th century. Reality.
      • Sanguinetti, H. (2014). Alberdi: Critical review. Buenos Aires: National Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

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