The Territory of the Río de la Plata, comprised partially or totally, by the area where today are the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Chaco, Formosa, Misiones and the current republics of Paraguay and Uruguay, had a secondary role in the colonising process during the 16th. and 17th. centuries. Fostered by a later economic growth, these lands turned to have a strategic value that moved the Spanish Crown to create the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. During that period, commonly called Hispanic Period, power organisation was rudimentary and with no clear distinction of competence. In Spain, as well as in America, the power institutions performed executive, legislative and jurisdictional functions, with no distinction between each other.
In May 1810, due to the success of the Napoleonic invasion in Spain, Buenos Aires called for an Open Cabildo, to agree on appropriate actions targeted at the solution of the expiration of the Viceroy’s government and the transference of sovereignty rights to the people; and as an immediate consequence, the establishment of a new government.
Between 1810 and 1816 different regimes and authorities took power, which lead to the appointment of the First Junta (a collegiate type government, regulated mainly by two documents: the Ruling of May 25 – sanctioned by the Cabildo– and the Ruling of May 28 – sanctioned by the Junta itself). According to the Ruling of May 25 the deputies from the interior were incorporated to the Junta, which in turned constituted the Big Junta, the institution that later established the Provincial Juntas and decreed the creation of a Triumvirate. Subsequently, the Provisional Statute of the Superior Government of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and the decrees on press freedom and individual security were sanctioned. In October 1812, the Second Triumvirate called for a General Constitutional Assembly, conformed the following year, which was the first congress of our history that took on the representation of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata sovereignty. Although the Assembly of 1813, as a representative body, did not comply with its fundamental objective of sanctioning a constitution, it developed a vast legislative activity pro individual freedom and constituted the opening into new institutional modes. From the point of view of the political organization, it established a Unipersonal Executive Power, creating the position of Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. It instituted May 25 as a patriotic date, established the Coat of Arms and the Anthem and ordered to mint an own coin, actions through which it demonstrated its will to create a sovereign state. Finally, in 1816, the General Constitutional Congress held in Tucumán declared the independence of the United Provinces and sanctioned the Provisional Statute of 1816, the Provisional Ruling of 1817 and the Constitution of the United Provinces of South America. As a consequence of the defeat at Cepeda battle in 1820, the General Congress was dissolved and the Cabildo of Buenos Aires retook the universal government of that city and its provincial territory and at the same time appointed an interim governor, what lead to the extinction of the national government.
As of that moment, the provinces, still strongly autonomous, kept being integrating a kind of shapeless structure, strengthened by a series of inter–provincial agreements (the Benegas Treaty and the Quadrilateral Treaty). In December 1826, a new Constitutional Congress sanctioned the Constitution of the Argentine Republic , that was rejected, in the general aspects, due to the disagreements with respect to its content. In 1831 the Federal Agreement between Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos was signed, to which afterwards the other provinces adhered and where the existence of the Argentine State was acknowledged as a republic, conformed by the provinces integrated into a federation.
National Organization Period
After Caseros battle, that brought about the resignation of Juan Manuel de Rosas as governor of Buenos Aires, the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Corrientes and Entre Ríos signed the Palermo Protocol. Afterwards, the San Nicolás Agreement, signed in presence of the majority of the provincial governors, ratified the character of fundamental law of the Federal Agreement. Shortly afterwards, in 1852, it was decided to call for a General Constitutional Congress, with the goal of dictating a constitution for the Confederation. The constitution was promulgated by Justo José de Urquiza on May 25, 1853; the Republic was pledged allegiance to it on July 9, with the exception of Buenos Aires, which would integrate the Confederation in 1860, after Cepeda battle and the signature of the San José de Flores Agreement of the previous year. Inmediately after, the Constitution was amended, thus conforming the union of the whole country. This amendment stressed the federal form of government of the republic while at the same time, from the ideological point of view, it kept the scheme of the National Constitution of 1853.