The Limits of Liberalism in Argentine Provinces 1890-1940: An Analysis of Provincial Expenditures

Peter J Ross, James R Levy


This paper examines the liberal grounded provincial societies of Argentina from 1890 to 1940. A close examination of provincial government expenditures reveals that these states spent most of their revenues on law and order and education with little being directed to social welfare and to health. This form of government was extremely limited, therefore, in providing for the welfare of most of its citizens, and left many of them excluded from full participation in the political, economic and social life of the nation. The type of liberalism espoused by the Argentine elites effectively undermined the very project of state building that they espoused and resulted in the Peronist revolution of the 1940s when the state, under the slogan of social justice, became much more interventionist in the areas of welfare, health and housing, and much more inclusionist with regard to the Argentine people as a whole. The liberal state, and this includes the provinces, became a victim of its own chosen limitations.


Argentina, liberalism, provinces, education, welfare, police.

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