Juan Peron is one of the Argentine Presidents who had made a mark in the history of Argentina. A military who had never been in politics, Peron run for president in Argentina's 1946 election. With ideal political schemes in improving the living standards of the Argentines, which was specifically focused in uplifting the poor and working class's living conditions, Juan Peron won the 1946 election with 56% votes (Your Encyclopedia).
Peron's victory brought forth a new type of government known as the Peronism. Peronism was seen by many as a humanitarian form of government that looked into the needs of the poor. It appealed to the lower classes because it expected and promised to achieve national economic changes that will transform the Argentines into living better lives. The Peronism government had planned to industrialize Argentina. A great number of labor unions were formed while hoping that there will be sufficient jobs for the Argentines.
Juan Peron had become an icon during the first few years of his term as Argentina's President. His democratic government, working for the good of all the people, had acquired support from many political parties and labor groups. According to Lee Neale, Juan Peron was supported and followed by the nationalists, military, trade unions, and even the catholic hierarchies, because of his ideals. As Peron gained more and more supporters, many people admired him more and more as well.
Despite of the many supporters that Juan Peron had gained at the start of his political career, the Peronism was not able to carry all classes in the Argentine society. Particularly the higher classes, they did not agree with the Peronism government because it burdens the rich citizens with heavy taxes. The idea of Peronism was viewed as improving the lives of the poor while bringing down the living conditions of the rich (Neale).
The fame of Peron within the Argentine society soon started to fade as issues and controversies housed his government. Corruption, specifically, became among the issues that made the Argentines doubt and hate Peron. If Peron had so much support from his people during the start of his presidency, the reverse situation transpired years later. Peron's reputation was destroyed by issues on corruption. Neale indicates the following while describing Peron's Presidency before his exile in Paraguay.
Support for Peron was mainly based on the hope of the people. The hope had started to fade and an attitude of "Let's not get involved" caused the support of the workers to falter. Many generals hated Peron. Petty corruption had defiled Peron's reputation as a people's president. Peronism was originally designed to help the lower class, but ended up heavily taxing the upper class and then giving the money back to them.
Due to economic problems and corruption in the government, Peron was overthrown and exiled in Paraguay in 1955. Soon afterwards, he settled in Madrid where he married Isabel Martinez de Peron.
Peron returned to Argentina in 1971. In the 1973 election, his supporters begged him to run for President. Peron won and became the President of Argentina for the second time. His government was, however, disrupted by problems occurring between the pro-Peronists and anti-Peronists. Terrorism in Argentina even broke out. To solve the problems of the nation and to restore public order, the Peron government passed several laws.
The second term of Peron lasted for only a year. Due to pneumonia, Peron died in July of 1974. His wife Isabel succeeded him in office and has been the first woman president of a Latin America nation. Isabel unfortunately was not able to unite the Argentinos and was unable to capture their hearts as Argentina was still suffering from the turmoil that Juan Peron had left. In 1976, Isabel was overthrown by a military coup (Allison, 2004).
The Ideals of Peronism
Peronism was established embracing the ideals of being pro-laborers and the ideals of looking after the interests of the Argentines. Peron's objectives as the president of Argentina were embedded in the ideologies of Peronism. This includes the industrialization of the nation fostering economic change and improvement, nationalization of the different economic elements of Argentina, and the strict control of opposition forces (Wikipedia).
Peron's Peronism was admired by many people particularly those in the lower class of the Argentine society. This is because Peronism promotes the improvement of the standard of living of the Argentines. However, Peronism did not appeal to the higher classes because it forces heavy taxes on the rich Argentines.
Peron's Peronism had rich excellent causes for Argentina that it was considered as superior compared to the principles and policies of other Argentine Presidents before him (Neale). However, its success in the administration of Peron had only much to give to the Argentine society during the first few years of Peron's term.
The Peronist Government in the Labor and Social Reforms
The Peron Government had established a number of labor organizations that were made to support the labor visions of Peron. Membership to the different labor organizations became massive that they had almost comprised the whole wage-earning force (Cochran, 1958). To have a hold on the labor organizations, each was staffed with a faithful supporter of Peron. Peron even made each labor organization check on the activities of the others.
Peron had focused more of his attention in industrializing Argentina.
He initiated a five-year plan to do this. While engaging himself towards the industrialization of his nation, not much has been touched for agricultural reform. Aside from industrialization, Peron also embarked on the move of nationalizing foreign influences and economies. Cochran (1953) enumerated the following nationalization moves that Peron had brought to the nation.
He bought out the British railroads and utilities, the I.T. & T., the ports and grain elevators.
He boosted tariffs, instituted monetary controls, altered shippings rates and created an important merchant fleet.
He nationalized foreign trade in farm products using profits to promote state and private industries.
As part of the nationalization, the government of Peron bought foreign-owned businesses and companies. To ensure that Argentina earns more from its people compared to how much foreign investments earn from the Argentines, Peron limited the profits that many foreign investment could take from the nation (Smitha, 2001). This resulted to a decline in the number of foreign investors that come in to Argentina.
If we are to analyze the form of government under the administration of Peron, it can be said that the governing strategies and techniques of Peron are hiding behind a government of an authoritarian. This is apparent on how Peron had established the labor unions. He created them to establish an array of organizations that would provide him with support in times of political needs. This was successfully achieved by Peron, which is to capture the hearts of the Argentines, through the different benefits he provided to the laborers.
One thing that caused the type of government that Peron had was his fear for opposition. Describing the conditions that the Argentines have experienced under his leadership, Peron fed his people well while holding them tightly with his laws and regulations. Following are some of other government strategies of Peron, as extracted from Smitha's (2001) Peron and Argentina, which made his fear of opposition and desire to hold power apparent.
In terms of acquiring military support, Peron provided his army with advanced equipments and better salary.
Peron took hold of justice by placing justices in the Supreme Court whom he knew would support him.
Universities were managed by servitors of the government.
Activities concerning politics were prohibited in school campuses. However, to continuously please his people, Peron ordered the abolishment of educational fees that provided everyone with the chance to obtain education.
Despite of the authoritarian ruling of Peron, however, his government is not characterized by oppression. Peron's government practiced continued indoctrination to suppress oppositions (Smitha, 2001). An example of this was the provision of prison terms to disrespectful critics of the Peron government. This was demonstrated in 1949 when Peron declared a law that a President can succeed himself. Smitha (2001) described the consequence of this new constitution, indicating that Opposition parties and the press became increasingly critical, and, in September, Per n's majority in Congress retaliated against this criticism by legislation that provided prison terms for persons who showed disrespect for government leaders. Many opponents of the Per n regime were jailed. Opposition newspapers were repressed, and restrictions were imposed on the anti-Peronista parties.
The Labor and Social Reform Accomplishments of Juan Peron
Juan Peron had accomplished a number of transformations that can be considered as improvements in the Argentine society. His initial plans of industrializing Argentina and providing its people with sufficient labor benefits had transpired in the first few years of his term. With this as a proof, it can be regarded that Juan Peron had excellent visions for the Argentine people. According to the online article, The Legacy of Juan Peron,