Today marks the May Revolution of Argentina, a national holiday commemorating the start of the eight-year war of Argentine independence. Inspired by the revolutions of the United States and France, Argentina would ultimately become of one of modern history’s earliest republics, setting in motion a series of other independence movements throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The above painting, by Chilean artist Pedro Subercaseaux, depicts the “open cabildo”, or assembly, that occurred on May 22, 1810 and led to the decision to establish a new government.
Although Argentina’s founding fathers, like our own, were highly divided on many issues, the general principles of their early government including such ideals as the sovereignty of the people, popular representation, federalism, division of powers, and government transparency (including the publishing of political policies and actions).
Although Argentina, like most nations, often fell short of its aspirations, it would become of the world’s most prosperous nations, rivaling the U.S. as a magnet for immigration, and eventually becoming the seventh wealthiest nation in the world by the turn of the 20th century.