The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. Also, it may refer to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation. In early United States history, the Federalist Party was one of the first political parties; its members or supporters called themselves Federalists.
In Latin America the term "federalist" is used in reference to the politics of 19th-century Argentina and Colombia. The Federalists opposed the Unitarianists in Argentina and Centralists in Colombia in the early 19th century. Federalists fought for complete self-government and full provincial autonomy, as opposed to the centralized government that the Unitarianists and Centralists favored. Furthermore, Federalists demanded tariff protection for their industries and, in Argentina, called for the end of the Buenos Aires customs as the only intermediary for foreign trade.
The first Federalist leader in the Platine Region was José Gervasio Artigas, who opposed the centralist governments in Buenos Aires that followed the May Revolution, and created instead the Federal League in 1814 among several Argentine Provinces and the Banda Oriental (modern-day Uruguay). In 1819, the Federal armies rejected the centralist Constitution of the United Provinces of South America and defeated the forces of Supreme Director José Rondeau at the 1820 Battle of Cepeda, effectively ending the central government, and securing Provinces' sovereignty through a series of inter-Provincial pacts. A new national Constitution was proposed only in 1826, during the Presidency of Unitarian Bernardino Rivadavia, but it was again rejected by the Provinces, leading to the dissolution of the National Government the following year.
Federalist Buenos Aires Governor Manuel Dorrego took over the management of the foreign affairs of the Provinces, but he was executed in 1828 by Unitarian General Juan Lavalle, who commanded troops dissatisfied with the negotiations that ended the War with Brazil. The following year, Juan Manuel de Rosas, leader of Buenos Aires Federalists, defeated Lavalle and was elected to office by the Legislature. To counteract these developments the Unitarian League was created by General José María Paz in 1830. The 1831 Federal Pact between Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos and Santa Fe Provinces opposed a military alliance to the League and ultimately defeated it during 1832, its former members joining the Federal Pact into a loose confederation of Provinces known as the Argentine Confederation. Although the Unitarians were exiled in neighboring countries, the Civil War continued for two decades.
Full article ▸