Long Teaching Module: Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina

Jesse Hingson, Jacksonville University
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Between 1810 and 1860, Argentina emerged as a deeply divided nation. One of the main problems that remained unresolved throughout the 19th century was how power would be shared between Buenos Aires, the capital, and the rest of the provinces. Juan Manuel de Rosas, who ruled the country between 1829 and 1852, provided some semblance of order. However, he failed to share power with other groups, and the nation was not able to establish a lasting peace until the early 1860s. Studying this period is significant because it allows us to better understand the reasons for underdevelopment, authoritarianism, and political instability in Argentina's not so distant past and why these problems continue to exist in many parts of Latin America today. The primary sources referenced in this module can be viewed in the Primary Sources folder below. Click on the images or text for more information about the source.

This long teaching module includes an informational essay, objectives, activities, discussion questions, guidance on engaging with the sources, potential adaptations, and essay prompts relating to the eleven primary sources.


A New and Divided Nation

After Argentina formally declared its independence from Spain in 1816, partisan wars broke out between two elite factions, Federalists and Unitarians. These groups had vastly different visions for how Argentina should be governed, but these views were based mostly on self-interest rather than ideology. Unitarians promoted the idea of centralizing power into Buenos Aires. They sought to reduce the power of the Catholic Church, which they saw as a symbol of the "colonial past." and they wanted to establish freer domestic and foreign trade. Unitarians also imagined a nation that promoted European-style "progress" and "civilization." This vision of modernization favored European immigrants over Argentina's poorer gaucho (rural itinerant workers) population and caudillos (regional strongmen). During the 1820s, Unitarian governments in control of Buenos Aires attempted to implement their reforms throughout the nation.

Opposing these efforts, Federalists emerged as a broad-based group, including ranchers and local merchants, who saw free trade and foreign competition as threats to their economic interests. Federalists tended to favor local political control and viewed Unitarians' political reforms as violations of their sovereignty. Federalists also wanted to maintain the power of the Church as an institution of social control. The Unitarians rejected what they called the "barbarism" of Federalist supporters, including Argentina's poorer gaucho (rural itinerant workers) population and their caudillo (regional strongman) leaders.

Throughout the 1820s, Unitarian governments implemented their reforms in Buenos Aires while the rest of the country fiercely resisted these efforts. Political tensions mounted when, in 1826, Unitarians tried to impose a Unitarian constitution over the rest of the country. However, in the following year, the Unitarian government in Buenos Aires resigned under pressure from powerful interests within the interior provinces. Manuel Dorrego, a Federalist, became governor. One of his first acts was to invalidate the Unitarian constitution, but he especially angered Unitarians by establishing peace with Brazil, which had been at war with Argentina since 1825. Both countries had been fighting for control of the eastern bank of the River Plate. Unitarians wanted to continue the war in order to add another province to Argentina and to prevent the loss of lands held by wealthy ranchers from Buenos Aires. However, the war was costly, and in late 1828, Dorrego accepted a British-brokered deal, which recognized the creation of a new "Uruguay" as a buffer state between the two countries. Returning from their military campaigns, Unitarian forces overthrew the Federalist government and assassinated Dorrego. The provinces did not accept the Unitarian constitution, and civil war broke out.

"The Restorer of the Laws"

In response to the discord, different regions of the country experienced the rise of brutally repressive regimes ruled by caudillos, who re-established order. Beginning in 1829, Juan Manuel de Rosas, a wealthy rancher and Federalist, asserted his control over Buenos Aires and the rest of the nation. Supported by a powerful, large land-holding class, Rosas governed through a combination of patronage and state violence. Seen by his supporters as "The Restorer of the Laws," he sanctioned property confiscation, execution, torture, and forced exile against Unitarian suspects and other political enemies.

Historians often underscore Rosas's brutality against his foes by pointing to the headings on most official documents: "Long Live the Federation! Death to the Savage Unitarians!" By 1835, Rosas dominated the other provinces, expanded the Indian frontier, awarded land to influential people and loyalists, and exported wool and hides to meet the demands of Western Europe. In 1852, the dictator's reign ended when other Federalists, tired of his meddling in provincial affairs, defeated him at the Battle of Caseros.

Youth and the Rosas State

The political violence, civil strife, and authoritarianism of the early 19th century deeply affected the daily lives of young people. One consequence was the weakening of powers that fathers, as patriarchs, had within the household. Colonial authorities long recognized the traditional legal concept of patria potestad, whereby absolute authority within families was given to male heads. This meant that patriarchs would have, in theory at least, the last word over their children's life decisions, particularly relating to education, work, and marriage. After independence, however, patriarchal authority began a slow decline. Hundreds of male heads of families were imprisoned, killed, drafted into Unitarian or Federalist armies, or took extended leaves for business or seasonal labor.

For middle class and elite families, Argentina's political leaders viewed schools as one of the most important institutions of civil life and social control. The idea was that teachers would aid in the state's efforts to incorporate children into the political system. Indeed, scholars have shown that primary and secondary schools were crucial in educating an entire generation of new Argentine citizens. Thousands of boys and girls were not only taught grammar and arithmetic, but also a deep respect for authority and patriotic values.

The Rosas state moved aggressively to employ lower-class youngsters when the wars and civil strife of the early 19th century caused labor shortages, especially in rural areas. Social critics also saw lower-class children as a potential source of social disorder and sought to harness their energies as laborers. Law enforcement officials restricted youngsters' mobility by strictly enforcing passport and anti-vagrancy laws.

In towns across Argentina, the conchabo system gave local police broad authority to draft children to work in public works projects, private homes, factories, or wherever laborers were needed. The office typically in charge of placing young workers was called the defensor de menores, a public institution dating back to the colonial period. The defensor drew up labor agreements that tied young people to particular jobs, but these contracts had the unintended effect of giving young people some degree of freedom from parental authority.

Argentina's laws also allowed children to be entrusted with decisions related to marriage and property. Girls could marry and hold a dowry at the age of 12. Boys could not marry until they turned 14. This is not to say that parents or their children sought marriage contracts at these early ages. By law, girls and boys had to wait until they were 23 and 25 years old, respectively, before they could marry without permission from their parents. After 1810, however, young people were marrying at younger ages and had more input into selecting spouses. This included choosing mates who were closer to their own ages and sometimes outside their familial socio-economic and racial boundaries.

Parents lamented with growing frequency and alarm the rebelliousness of their children and attempted to control their behavior through legal means. Many of these disputes appeared in lawsuits, or disensos, filed by parents asserting their parental rights and obligations in order to guide the behaviors of their children. Sons and daughters also sued their parents, seeking the right to marry freely partners of their own choosing.

While these individual actions played out in the courts, authorities under Rosas dealt harshly with youngsters who violated legal and social conventions. In 1847, Camila O'Gorman, the daughter of a prominent merchant, and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a Catholic priest, caused a huge public scandal when they ran away together. The following year, the couple was captured. Rosas personally ordered their execution for violating the social order. According to the dictator, their actions were a direct attack on his authority and that he wanted to make an example out of them.

Camila's story is often seen as an example of the extreme measures the Rosas state took to control the behaviors of Argentina's younger population. Indeed, Rosas wanted to make an example out of the young couple. However, this story of forbidden love is also representative of how young people challenged authority as ideas of republicanism, equality, and individualism swept through the Americas. The execution of the young couple (along with the fact that Camila was eight months pregnant at the time of her death!) undermined support for the Rosas regime. Moreover, Camila's story resonates even today as a reminder of the legacy of authoritarianism in Argentina's history. María Luísa Bemberg wrote and directed the feature film, Camila (1984), as a harsh critique of patriarchy and military rule.

Primary Sources

School Population in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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This chart demonstrates the fluctuating attendance rates of school aged children in a select number of schools in Buenos Aires between 1815 and 1831. This is not a complete list of the port city’s schools; it represents schools that maintained the most complete attendance records. By 1815, Buenos Aires had 13 elementary schools with 1,200 students, which only accounted for approximately five percent of the city’s school aged children. Clearly, these children were not attending public educational institutions in large numbers. By the end of the late 19th century, these numbers improved, but only marginally. During the 1870s, for instance, there were 107 public schools in Buenos Aires (along with 120 private schools), which taught more than 7,700 students. This meant that only 22 percent of all of the city’s school aged children attended classes on a regular basis. Thus, Argentina (and Buenos Aires in particular) had not yet succeeded in extending public education to all. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Benjamín Montes with Bourgan, Funge, and Company

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Since 1810, social critics in Buenos Aires had long been concerned about young people from the lower classes—especially young men—exercising greater independence within the home. With the decline of parental authority, they were alarmed at the sight of growing numbers of young people as a potential source of disorder, and they looked to the state for solutions. As a result, the police were granted broad authority to place youngsters into jobs that would keep them off of the streets and supply businesses and homes with badly needed laborers. In 1841, Benjamín Montes, a minor, signed a contract with Bourgan, Funge, and Company, a hat factory in Buenos Aires, to work for three years as an apprentice. At first glance, the terms of the contract seem harsh. It limited Montes's mobility, governed his behavior in and out of the factory, and the work was probably very grueling. However, this type of arrangement was also illustrative of the weakening of parental authority in favor of state authority. Montes's mother, Juana María Olivera, clearly transferred power over her son to the company (mothers could sign contracts if male heads of households were unavailable). These kinds of jobs provided greater opportunities for young people, like Benjamín, to gain enough income to make a life of their own when they reached adulthood. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Handwriting Assignment, San Telmo Parish

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In early 19th-century Argentina, political leaders considered schools to be one of the nation's most important institutions of social control and politicization. The following is an 1817 handwriting assignment from a public elementary school in the parish of San Telmo. This document illustrates how Buenos Aires officials attempted to channel young people's behavior. Classes offered lessons in morality, good behavior, discipline, and above all, a deep respect for authority. For example, notice in the first lesson how children were taught to wash their hands only "after all other persons superior to him have done so. . ." The second part of the document demonstrates how religion reinforced these ideas. This assignment invokes the fourth commandment in the Bible, which, in Catholic teachings, requires a good Christian to "honor" one's parents. This document also points to the idea that schools reconstituted the social order. Young people from the lower classes rarely completed formal training while those of middle-class and elite families had greater opportunities to complete their education. In this lesson, the role of a "man-servant" in one of the assignments speaks directly to children from middle-class and elite families. These children also had more opportunities to attend private Catholic schools and receive scholarships funded by private donations. Indeed, the middle and elite classes saw education as a means to maintain their social status, and port city leaders from these classes especially valued a literate and educated citizenry who could fill the ranks of the state's bureaucracies. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Don Eduardo Brown v. Don Leonardo Brown

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During the Rosas era, parents in Argentina grew increasingly concerned about the behavior of their children. Lawsuits throughout this turbulent period illustrate the disagreements between young people and their parents over marriage choice, property rights, and inheritance. Mothers and fathers often went to court seeking to constrain their children's free will when they believed that the family's well-being and social standing were at risk. In 1831, Leonardo (Leonard) Brown wanted to marry his sweetheart, but his father, Don Eduardo (Edward) Brown, a prominent merchant of British descent, objected to the engagement. Leonardo ran away from his family's house, taking some furniture and other items with him in order to start a new life. In response, Eduardo sued his son for defying his authority and based this on his rights as the male head of a family, or patria potestad. Eduardo argued that this legal concept gave him final say over his son's life decisions until he turned 23. Since Leonardo was only 19, Eduardo argued that he had every right to deny his son permission to marry. Moreover, he wanted the authorities to order Leonardo to return home at once. The following two documents represent the final stage of the lawsuit. The first is the court's final judgment against Leonardo, who was ordered to provide restitution to his father and return home. However, the second document is Eduardo's plea to the court to do something about his son, who continued to defy his and the court's authority. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Ignacia Funes and Teresa Bulnes to Manuel López

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In Córdoba, Argentina's second largest province, two women, Ignacia Funes and Teresa Bulnes, found themselves defending the conduct of two children, who were accused by their stepfather, known only as "Roca," of composing pro-Unitarian songs. This was a grave offense, and the children were immediately jailed for their crime. This demonstrates that local authorities were willing to arrest those accused of politically suspicious behavior no matter the age of the offender. In 1841, Funes and Bulnes wrote this letter as a direct appeal to Manuel López, a strong Rosas ally and Córdoba's provincial governor between 1835 and 1852. They pleaded with López not to consider the stepfather's denunciation and to release the children into community custody. Although the ages of the children were not noted in this appeal, these women argued that the children were too young to understand what they were doing, and if the children had done something wrong, it was actually a reflection on their stepfather. This document shows the ways in which political divisions divided families and the ease with which children could be swept into the partisan political arguments of the era. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.


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Manuela Rosas (1817-1898), the daughter of Juan Manuel de Rosas, emerged as one of the most important political symbols of the early 19th century. In 1838, her mother, Doña Encarcación, died, and her father proclaimed his daughter as the nation's first lady. At the age of 21, Manuela was thrust into a new political role. By all accounts, she was very popular. She regularly participated in gatherings and festivals in honor of her father. Foreign visitors were impressed by how much responsibility was delegated to her. In 1848, one English observer noted: "His daughter is his real minister and secretary, and through her it is easy to convey any communication that it may be wished to make. She is amiable, apparently kind hearted and affectionate. Her manners and appearance are graceful, though she is no longer pretty. Her adoration for her father amounts to passion." In 1840, Prilidiano Pueyrredon (1823-1870), an Argentine artist known for painting images of everyday life, was commissioned to paint Manuela as the embodiment of her father’s brand of Federalism. One thing that is striking about this painting is the use of the color red. All citizens of Argentina, especially young people, were expected to wear red as part of their clothing in order to symbolize support for the regime. Those who did not often faced public scorn, imprisonment, and fines. This stood in stark contrast to Unitarians, who advocated wearing celestial blue. Interestingly, Manuela also became an important symbol for Unitarians. Propagandists often depicted her as an unwitting political tool for the regime or a victim of her father’s sexual abuse. In his scathing 1851 essay, "Manuela Rosas," José Mármol argued that Manuela, like many young supporters of the Rosas regime, could actually be redeemed through education. In 1852, she accompanied her father in exile in Great Britain and later died there in 1898. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

José Antonio Juárez, "Petition for Permission to Marry," May 15th, 1830, Children and Youth in History.

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Children frequently turned to the courts in seeking greater independence from their parents, especially in matters related to marriage choice. Dozens of petitions asking the state for permission to marry were filed at a time when the state was attempting to socialize young people as citizens of the new nation-state and patriarchy was in decline. In this document, José Antonio Juárez petitioned a judge for permission to marry Candelaria Portillo. Argentine law legally defined "manhood" at age 25, after which males were allowed to marry without permission from their parents, but Juárez had to prove that he was actually 25. An exception was made if the parents were deceased. Young people had to collect evidence, affidavits, and eyewitnesses to prove either case. Although many lost their legal battles, these experiences likely helped young people in 19th-century Argentina develop a sense of rights and entitlement. This document also raises the issue of race. José Antonio was a pardo, a term that described someone who was a free, mixed race person. Candelaria, his fiancé, was a slave, and they had to ask permission of her owner. This couple challenged various types of social restrictions. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Camila O'Gorman

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The story of Camila O'Gorman (1828-1848), the daughter of a prominent merchant in the Buenos Aires community, is one of the most famous cases of a young person challenging both parental and state authority. In 1847, at the height of Rosas's power, 19-year-old Camila and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a young Catholic priest from Tucumán, fell in love. On December 12, 1847, they eloped and fled to Corrientes, a neighboring province to Buenos Aires, where they tried to survive in the hopes of escaping to another country. Eight months later, they were captured, imprisoned at Santos Lugares, and put to death by a firing squad. Although both were punished in the same way, one could argue that history has been more kind to Camila than to Gutiérrez. The young priest was condemned for violating the Church's code of conduct and the social order. Many eyewitnesses, including Camila's father, Adolfo O'Gorman, blamed the beleaguered priest for manipulating an impressionable young woman. Camila was a more sympathetic figure, too, because she was reportedly eight months pregnant at the time of her death. News of her (and her unborn child's) demise spread quickly throughout the province and beyond. Even Rosas's staunchest supporters could not defend the death of what they saw as an innocent, unborn child. For them, the "Restorer of the Laws" had gone too far. This lithograph by the French Brazilian-born artist Juan León Pallière (1823-1887) is one of many representations of Camila. This is an idealized portrait intended to memorialize Camila as a decent and innocent young woman. The hairstyle, necklace, and clothing all suggest that she was a member of a respectable and prominent family. Since he was living in Buenos Aires in 1848 (the same year that Camila met her death), Pallière must have been deeply affected by the talk surrounding the event. However, he would not have dared to paint such an image while Rosas was still in power. The painter waited to finish this portrait after the regime was overthrown in 1852, and it often accompanied official and popular histories of the post-Rosas era. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Adolfo O'Gorman to Juan Manuel de Rosas

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In 1847, at the height of Rosas's power, 19-year-old Camila O'Gorman, the daughter of a prominent merchant in the Buenos Aires community, and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a young Catholic priest, fell in love. On December 12, 1847, they eloped and fled the city. As reports surfaced about the actions of Camila and Ladislao, Adolfo penned the following letter to Juan Manuel de Rosas as a plea for his daughter's life. Adolfo portrayed his daughter not as an accomplice or an active participant in the elopement but as a passive young girl who was seduced by Ladislao. Camilla's father, Adolfo O'Gorman y Perichón Vandeuil, has often been portrayed as a cruel and overbearing patriarch. María Luísa Bemberg's movie Camila (1984) perpetuated that image. However, modern scholars have re-evaluated his actions, seeing in this letter his effort to save his daughter's reputation, as well as his own. The patriarch's letter to Rosas was not the only request to spare Camila. Antonio Reyes, the prison warden, listened to her confession and advised her as she appealed for clemency. Even Manuelita Rosas, the dictator's daughter, reportedly made a plea to her father. All of these efforts failed, however, and Camila and Ladislao were executed on August 18, 1848. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

"To the Spirits of Camila O'Gorman"

Title page of Camila O'Gorman
The story of Camila O'Gorman (1828-1848), the daughter of a prominent merchant in the Buenos Aires community, is one of the most famous cases of a young person challenging both parental and state authority. In 1847, at the height of Rosas's power, 19-year-old Camila and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a young Catholic priest from Tucumán, fell in love. On December 12, 1847, they eloped and fled to Corrientes, a neighboring province to Buenos Aires. Eight months later, they were captured, imprisoned at Santos Lugares, and put to death by a firing squad. History has been more kind to Camila than to Gutiérrez. The young priest was condemned for violating the Church's code of conduct and the social order. Many eyewitnesses, including Camila's father, Adolfo O'Gorman (see document 9), blamed the beleaguered priest for manipulating an impressionable young woman. Camila O'Gorman's execution in August 1848 had repercussions long after her death. Her death touched off a series of international protests against the caudillo dictator. Before the execution, exiled Unitarians in Uruguay taunted Rosas in their newspapers for not doing enough to put an end to Camila's unlawful and illicit behavior. After Camila's death, however, they used Camila's story to show that Rosas was cruel and bloodthirsty. After Rosas was overthrown in 1852, strong feelings about Camila's death sentence remained. In 1856, the Uruguayan author, Heraclio Fajardo (1833-1868), wrote a six act play simply titled "Camila O'Gorman" in her honor. In the play, he also dedicated a poem to her, "To the Spirits of Camila O'Gorman," as an impassioned plea for future generations of Argentines to not repeat the mistakes of the Rosas era. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Ferreyra Sons v. Pedro Sueldo

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After the Rosas regime ended in 1852, hundreds of families throughout Argentina hoped to make claims on property and wealth that had been taken away from them during the Rosas years. However, many heads of these families were elderly or deceased. This left the younger generation to continue their family's efforts. This restitution suit, first filed in Córdoba province in 1852, pitted the young sons of Vicente Ferreyra against Pedro Sueldo, an ex-judge who accused the Ferreyra family of being Unitarians during the early 1840s. Sueldo jailed many of the family's older male members, confiscated their lands and animals, and liquidated their assets. In 1852, the Ferreyra sons faced numerous challenges in recovering their family's property. Legally, they were not adults and had very little standing in the civil actions. In addition, most of the witnesses that they brought forth could not remember important details of the case. They did the best they could under the circumstances to gather their documents and submit lists of property attesting to what and how much they owned, but the height of the political purges during the Rosas era was, by 1852, a distant memory. Nevertheless, their tenacity paid off. The judge presiding over the civil suit awarded damages to the Ferreyras, and Sueldo was ordered to pay restitution. Sueldo, however, filed endless appeals in an effort to take advantage of the Ferreyras' lack of experience. This source is a part of the Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina teaching module.

Teaching Strategies

This teaching module incorporates a variety of primary sources that shed light on the shifting boundaries of parental roles and expectations, young people's behaviors, and social status in early to mid-19th century Argentina.

One strategy is to divide the sources into two sets. The first set might include evidence on the expectations that both parents and political leaders had for children. Parents, especially fathers, in early 19th century Argentina wanted their children to marry for particular strategic reasons (e.g., to maintain wealth across generations) rather than for romantic love. In addition, Argentina's leaders sought to socialize children by closely regulating dress, public behavior, and education. Young people today should have little difficulty understanding the weight of parents' expectations on their lives and the rules that authorities create to govern their conduct. Thus, it might be a good exercise to relate these ideas to the students' lives.

A second set of documents would be organized around the variety of ways in which Argentina's youth responded to the rules and regulations that governed their lives. The evidence from the era shows that young people adopted a variety of political viewpoints. Manuelita Rosas's portrait, for example, represents one way in which young people supported the regime. However, legal documents reveal the willingness and capability of young people to use the court system to advance their interests, which were often at odds with those of their parents. Camila's story demonstrates one young person's challenge to both parental and state authority. This evidence not only demonstrates sharp generational differences but also how legal institutions became increasingly involved in family matters as parental authority began to wane.

Examining official records, however, presents special challenges. For example, legal language may be confusing, and biases may be difficult to detect. Nevertheless, it is possible to make sense of these documents by following some general advice.

First, it is necessary to understand that the primary role of civil courts in any adversarial system is to satisfy demands. Typically, this involved two parties, who were recognized as legitimate groups before the courts. Children or their legal guardians had the right to sue, especially when property or transfer of wealth was involved.

Second, gather basic information from the document about what happened. The "facts" of a case might be incongruous with our own understanding of prevailing norms and practices. For example, students today might have a hard time reconciling the fact that people in their early 20s were still considered minors.

Discussion Questions
  • What areas of young people's lives did parental and state authorities try to control in Argentina during the early 19th century?
  • What strategies did young people in early 19th-century Argentina use to resist parental control?

Document Based Question

by Janelle Collett
(Suggested writing time: 50 minutes)

The following question is based on the documents included in this module. This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents.

Drawing on specific examples from the sources in the module, write a well- organized essay of at least five paragraphs in which you answer the following question:

  • What ideals did the Rosas regime promote for the youth of Argentina? How did the regime enforce those ideals and how did the youth combat them?
  • Your essay should:

  • have a relevant, clear thesis that answers the question,
  • use at least six of the documents,
  • analyze the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible, not simply summarize the documents individually, and
  • take into account both the sources of the documents and the creators' points of view.

Be sure to analyze point of view in at least three documents or images.

What additional sources, types of documents, or information would you need to have a more complete view of this topic?

You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.


Lynch, John. Argentine Caudillo: Juan Manuel de Rosas. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001.
This classic work is the most accessible English-language biography on Juan Manuel de Rosas; it provides a cogent explanation of how the rosista state employed state terror within Argentina.
Shumway, Jeffrey M. The Case of the Ugly Suitor and Other Histories of Love, Gender, and Nation in Buenos Aires, 1776-1870. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
This important book documents the rich variety of legal challenges that young people of Buenos Aires brought against parental and state authorities.
Stevens, Donald F. "Passion and Patriarchy in Nineteenth-Century Argentina: María Luisa Bemberg's Camila." In Based on a True Story: Latin American History at the Movies, edited by Donald F. Stevens, 85-102. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1997.
Stevens's superb article compares the real life story of Camila O'Gorman with María Luisa Bemberg's film Camila (1984), which, as he argues, is a feminist critique of patriarchy and state authority. Author includes a solid bibliography of Spanish-language primary sources on O'Gorman's life.
Szuchman, Mark D. "A Challenge to the Patriarchs: Love Among the Youth in Nineteenth-Century Argentina." In The Middle Period in Latin America: Values and Attitudes in the 17th-19th Centuries, edited by Mark D. Szuchman, 141-65. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1989.
The author deftly traces how children challenged parental authority by filing lawsuits in provincial courts over spousal choices.
Szuchman, Mark D. Order Family, and Community in Buenos Aires, 1810-1860. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.
Szuchman discusses the impact of authoritarianism on household structure and families. He also includes seminal chapters on parental conflicts with children during the Rosas era and the Argentine state's attempts to use the educational system to socialize children.


About the Author

Jessie Hingson is an Assistant Professor of History at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. He received his Doctorate from Florida International University and is the author of several articles on the history of race and family in post-independence Argentina. His work has been supported by grants from Fulbright, Rotary International, and the Department of Education.

About the Lesson Plan Author

Janelle Collett is the chair of the History Department at Springside School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she teaches seventh grade World History, ninth grade World History, and electives on the history of violence and nonviolence. In January of 2006, she was a member of an American History Association Conference panel, "Teaching the Nation as Imagined Community: Strategies for Understanding Nationalisms in the Classroom," and she has presented in a variety of settings on effective uses of technology in the classroom.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following institutions for primary sources:

  • Archivo General de la Nación,
  • Archivo Histórico de la Provincia de Buenos Aires,
  • Archivo Histórico de la Provincia de Córdoba,
  • Planeta Publishing,
  • Scholarly Resources,
  • Stanford University Press, and
  • Taurus Publishing

This teaching module was originally developed for the Children & Youth in History project.

How to Cite This Source

"Long Teaching Module: Parents, Children, and Political Authority in 19th century Argentina," in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/long-teaching-module-parents-children-and-political-authority-19th-century-argentina [accessed February 20, 2024]