Juan Manuel de Rosas

Juan Manuel de Rosas can be described in many ways. An evil man filled with violence and corruption, who terrorized his province and its people for 23 years. Or, as a man that came into power during a time when Buenos Aires was in extreme disorder with Unitarian rule, and saved it. As a man that heard the voices of the lower class and provided what Argentina needed in order to stay strong — a strict and orderly leader. These opinions on Rosas’s rule and legacy has created deep divisions in Argentine society, even to this day.

Rosas was born in 1973 to a family of wealthy landowners, where he grew up learning about the land. He was then recruited into the military and fought in the wars of independence. He was inclined towards business, but the country was in need of political help, and he was able to see the link between business and politics. He found that the country was in need of political help and therefore became governor of Buenos Aires. His regime provided social and economic stability that allowed people to slowly make the transition from the mindset of Argentina as a colony to a nation.

Rosas’s main enemies, the Unitarians, would have said that his regime used extreme examples of authoritarianism, violence and censorship, and a “backward social system” that impeded national progress. This group was strongly a liberal political party, embracing a more European view on politics, with the mindset that traditional Argentine culture was standing in the way of modernization. One of Rosas’s main policies was to punish his opposers and reward his supporters, further increasing the divide between the Federalists and the Unitarians.

To the people that supported Rosas, he gave many benefits. He returned land to the lower class who’s land had been taken from them in previous conflicts. Additionally, he gave the lower class people a voice, and in exchange for this they gave him their loyal support. His supporters see him as the protector of Argentine identity, a practitioner of culture and an opponent of the liberal mindset. The Federalist political mindset was one that spoke to Rosas, and therefore he took over as a Federalist power.

The rule of Juan Manuel de Rosas was that of terror and violence. He regularly ignored the rule of law and used extreme violence and intimidation to exterminate the resistance against him. Being a follower of Rosas was the safest option for the people, and that is what many people did.

This source has an interesting position on the situation in Argentina during Rosas’s regime. It is neither ‘for’ or ‘against’ him, it simply puts all the facts into perspective and aims to explain both mindsets on this caudillo. It is important to understand both sides of the regime and Juan Manuel de Rosas’s ideas because he was an extremely important part in Argentina’s history, and furthermore an important part in Latin America’s history.

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