19 May 2023

What are unitary and federal? – Differences between unitary and federal

By Donald

The federal and unitary political parties clashed in Argentina for many years in a succession of civil wars, as both wanted control of the government to implement federalism and centralism respectively. In this article, it is explained What are the Unitarians and the Federals? In addition, a summary of their disputes is made. In the same way, the characteristics of each side are mentioned, their differences and who won the war in the slaughterhouse.

What does unitary mean?

Internal conflicts in Argentina were frequent, since two factions disputed the power of the government in the country, these two ideologies and vision of the government in the territory they divided the country and they provoked not only one civil war, but as many as five or more armed struggles. In this sense, the visions and policies of the federals and the unitaries were very different and each wanted to impose itself on the other.

When speaking of unitarios in Argentina, reference is made to the unitary party, a political organization in the region, this movement with liberal tendencies wanted to maintain the unity of the country and the government, hence its name. So, its objective was to establish a Unitary State or government centralized from the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata.

The Unitarian party was governed by Bernardino Rivadavia, a politician who was inspired by Napoleon’s France, so, with this organization, a Unitary State was sought centralized in Buenos Aires. This character promulgated that the nation should be more important than the provinces, since the latter were only internal territorial divisions that lacked autonomy.

What are the federal political parties?

For their part, the federal side was made up of militants and supporters of the Federal Party of Argentina, which also had influence in part of the territory of Uruguay. This organization sought to give greater importance to federalism in Argentina, that is, that in the country or the entity there were several governments in each province, therefore, the provinces would have independence of command and authority, but they would delegate certain liberties to a larger entity.

The federals were led by José Artigas, a soldier with a federalist ideology who sought the independence of the provinces in Uruguay and his native Argentina, this character was the one who created the Union of Free Peoples or Federal League, that it was an alliance between some provinces of the Río de la Plata. In addition, he was the figure who led the federal army in the slaughterhouse and other battles, but he was not the top leader of the federales, since years later the military man Juan Manuel de Rosas would take command.

What is the difference between unitary and federal?

The factions of the Unitarians and the Federals had very clear differences, which can be exposed in a comparative table, in this sense, both organizations defended a different political ideology and wanted to structure according to their political and territorial thinking.

  • The Unitarians defended the liberalism, while the feds followed federalism.
  • The federals wanted the independence of each province and a decentralized government, where each region had its autonomy. For their part, the Unitarians professed the centralism with a unitary state from Buenos Aires.
  • For the unitarians, the provinces were only a territorial division within the country, they did not have autonomy, while the federals wanted make these regions independent of the central government.
  • The federal party lasted longer, as it survived until 1868, while the Unitary Party disappeared in 1862.

Characteristics of the federal and unitary

Several differences can also be seen in the characteristics of each of the parties, since the main elements of the factions are ideological.

  • The federal party was characterized by the search for protection of their economic activitiessince each of the provinces had its own benefits.
  • The unitary group defended the free tradesince this generated income for the central government.
  • The members of the Unitary Party were people from high society, such as the intellectuals who defended liberalism and merchants. In their ranks there were also some soldiers.
  • The feds captured the social masses of the rural sector, the peasants and landowners. They had military leaders and some intellectuals from the provinces.
  • The Unitarians had as allies great britaina, also followed the models of Napoleon in France.
  • The unitary government intended to form the Argentine Republic.

The Unitary Party intended to make a unitary law, where everyone belonged to the country, regardless of their traditions or local affairs. They also wanted the european ships They would transit the region freely, making imports and exports, in addition, they wanted to modernize the economic system.

Among the characteristics of the Federal Party, it stands out that they had as an example and legal basis the Constitution of the United States, thus, the caudillos like Juan Manuel de las Rosas and the other leaders like José Artigas tried to establish a republican country. They were traditionalist groups that were based on the traditions of each region, since the map was not unified.

Who won between the federals and unitaries?

The Argentine civil wars lasted from 1818 to 1860, where there were victories and defeats for both sides, it all began with the independence of Argentina, the two political parties wanted to take control of the country. So they began to dispute control in the battlefields or slaughterhouse, as they were called.

One of the most important civil wars occurred after the signing of peace with Brazil, since a government based on centralism originated there. Thus, the leaders of the interior provinces rebelled against the government due to the policy of inequality in the distribution of the economy and power in all the provinces.

The main complaint occurred because the central government imported many products that they downplayed local resources, since, the provinces that did not have an outlet to the sea could not export their products and it affected their economy. In 1931 the federal party was the one who won the contest and Juan Manuel de las Rosas took command in a triumvirate from Buenos Aires.

However, Juan Manuel de las Rosas applied a totalitarian regime and with a lot of difference to his proposal, persecuting the other political leaders, both federal and unitary. This dictatorship ended in 1852, when the province of Entre Ríos joined the forces of Brazil and Uruguay to seize power. In the end, who won was the federal side, since a constitution was signed in which the Argentine Federal Republic was declared.

Map of the federal and unitary provinces

The map of Argentina after its independence was divided into two parts due to the internal conflict that occurred between federal and unitary. In a summary it can be said that one side occupied the western part and the other the eastern part, while in the north and south they were the lands of the so-called original peoples.

Thus, the unitary league was located in the western zone, that is, the provinces closest to Chile, including San Juan, La Rioja, Mendoza, San Luis, Córdoba, CAtamarca, Salta, Tucumán and Santiago del Estero. This group of provinces declared themselves in favor of a central government that would administer the country from Buenos Aires. For its part, the federal league occupied western Argentina, including Uruguay, since Montevideo was the capital of this organization. On this map are the provinces of Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Corrientes, which wanted more independence and financial equality.