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basis. Rosas's government had shown how imperfect were all the previous political constitutions of the country, and how necessary it was to arrive at some definite political organization. As a result of this national aspiration, as early as the 25th day of May, 1853, the National Congress promulgated the existing constitution of the Republic, which is practically the same as that of the United States, with some alterations, of which mention will be made later. Since then, the country has constantly asserted its freedom.
During the administration of Gen. Bartolomé Mitre (1862–68), the country,
allied with Uruguay and Brazil, had to sustain a new war against the Rosas of Paraguay, Lopez, who had seized two Argentine gunboats and invaded Argentine territory. This was terminated by the death of Lopez, in the field, and the almost entire annihilation of Paraguay. Notwithstanding the fact that the Argentine army remained in possession of Paraguayan territory, at the termination of hostilities, an agreement was made to submit to arbitration the differences which had arisen between the two countries out of their respective claims to the sovereignty of the territory called El Chaco. The President of the United States of America, then Mr. Rutherford B. Hayes, was chosen to be the arbitrator. The decision was in favor of Paraguay.
Gen. Mitre was succeeded by Don Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, who was elected President while representing the Argentine Republic at Washington. He was a great admirer of the United States, and showed his admiration by the introduction of many measures whose benefits he had had occasion to observe during his stay in the United States. Several new institutions of learning were founded by his efforts, and the education of the masses received his special attention. He introduced the same system of elementary education as that of the United States, and brought back with him several teachers, male and female, thinking, with reason, that the best way to implant a new system was to have it
introduced by those who had been educated under its teaching. Science also received his attention, and the American astronomer, Prof. Gould, established in Cordoba the first Argentine astronomical observatory.
In 1874, President Sarmiento was succeeded by Don Nicolás Avellaneda, who continued his work.
As space does not permit a review of all the measures taken during the administrations of the different Presidents, only the most important will be mentioned. During the administration of Don Nicolás Avellaneda, Gen. Julio A. Roca, minister of war, made his famous expedition to the south, carrying civilization to the banks of the Rio Negro, and reclaiming a vast area of land from the Indians, and opening it to pastoral and agricultural uses. To-day, the whole of Patagonia is free from Indian domination, having in its very center, at Chubut, a most prosperous colony, which is connected with its nearest seaport on the Atlantic by a railroad.
The successor of Avellaneda was Gen. Julio A. Roca. Up to the time of his entering upon the duties of President, the important question of the location of the capital of the Republic had not been settled by law, although the seat of the National Government had been Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires was also the seat of government of the province of the same name.
This anomaly was ended by Congress passing a law by which the city of Buenos Aires was declared to be the capital of the Republic. The legislature of the Province of Buenos Aires decided to build a new city to be the capital of the Province. The corner stone of La Plata was laid on barren ground in 1882, and in 1886, its population was 50,000.
The material development of the country received a great impetus during Gen. Roca's administration. Railroads were constructed in all directions, vast areas of land were opened to colonization, and the country was never more prosperous. The education of the masses was not forgotten. In 1884, Gen. Roca inaugurated fourteen public school buildings in the city of Buenos
Aires, and in 1886, he inaugurated forty more. These buildings can be advantageously compared with any used for the same purpose in Europe or America.
In 1886, Gen. Roca was succeeded by Don Miguel Juarez Celman. The financial crisis that came over the country was the cause of the fall of President Celman, the people making him responsible for the hard times they had to bear. A revolution was started to overthrow him, but the movement failed. The pressure of public opinion, however, forced him to resign. He was succeeded by the Vice-President, Don Carlos Pelligrini, whose administration was marked by tact and firmness. Confronted by a financial and political crisis, he was able to carry the country successfully through most trying times.
During the administration of President Juarez Celman, the idea occurred simultaneously to the government of the Argentine Republic and to the government of the Republic of Uruguay to hold a congress for the unification of the South American Republics in all matters concerning patents and trade-marks, private international law, extradition, and other subjects. This congress was held at Montevideo, Uruguay, from August 25, 1888, to February 18, 1889. A short notice of the history and labor of that memorable assembly is given in Appendix F.
On October 12, 1892, President Pelligrini was succeeded by Dr. Luis Saenz Peña.
With reference to the disputed boundaries of the Republic, United States Consul Baker reported to the State Department, December 26, 1892:
The question of limits with Bolivia, Chile, and Brazil still occupies the attention of the Argentine foreign office. In the first case nothing has been yet effected, but the Argentine Government had just sent a minister to Bolivia in the expectation of initiating the preliminaries to a settlement. In the case of Chile, the commissioners of the two countries are now in the field, engaged in tracing and marking the boundary line down the backbone of the Andes. In the case of Brazil, the matter has been definitely referred by the two governments to the President of the United States.
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION AND JUDICIARY.
According to its constitution,* the Argentine Republic has the representative federal form of government. Each of the fourteen Provinces has its own constitution, based upon the principle of representative government, as in the United States.
A Congress composed of two chambers (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) is invested with the national legislative power.
The Chamber of Deputies is composed of representatives elected directly by the people of the provinces and the capital, one for every 20,000 inhabitants or fraction over 10,000.
To the Chamber of Deputies exclusively belongs the initiation of all laws to raise money, as well as those relating to the conscription of troops.
The right to impeach before the Senate, the President, VicePresident, cabinet ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and those of the inferior courts of the Republic, rests, also, exclusively with the Chamber of Deputies, at the bar of which all accusations against the aforesaid officials must be made.
The Senate is composed of two Senators from each Province, elected by the legislatures of the same by a plurality of votes, and of two Senators from the capital, elected after the same form as that prescribed for the election of the President and Vice-President of the Republic, which form is exactly the same as that of the United States.
The Vice-President of the nation is President of the Senate.
*For text of constitution in English, see Appendix A, page 158.
Each chamber is judge of the election of its members.
The Congress is convened every year, and its sessions last from the ist of May to the 30th of September. The President of the Republic can prolong its sittings, and can call an extra session of Congress at any time that public exigencies demand it.
Congress fixes the import and export duties; authorizes all laws; fixes the use and sale of national lands, and the annual appropriations needed for the maintenance of the administration; grants subsidies, regulates navigation, coins money, enacts codes, regulates foreign and domestic commerce, establishes courts of justice, approves or disapproves the treaties made with other nations, authorizes the Executive to declare war or make peace, fixes the forces by land and water, declares in state of siege one or more places of the country, and, in a word, makes all the laws necessary to put in operation the different powers that the constitution establishes.
The President is the chief magistrate of the Republic and has charge of the general administration of the country. He formulates all the rules that are necessary for the operation of the laws, in the formation of which he participates. All laws are sanctioned and promulgated by the President, who is invested with the veto power, which can be overruled only by a two-thirds vote.
The President can commute sentences and pardon those undergoing them. He exercises the patronato in the presentations of bishops, concedes the passage or retains all rescripts and bulls from the Holy See, appoints and removes his ministers, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints the judges of the Supreme Court and those of inferior courts, diplomatic ministers, governors of territories, and officers of the army and navy above the rank of colonel. All other officers and officials, the President appoints and promotes without the consent of the Senate.
The cabinet is composed of five ministers, to wit: Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Min