Alberdi: musician, journalist and liberal (II) – El Sol de México

1837 will be key in the life of Juan Bautista Alberdi: he graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Law and sees his work “Preliminary Fragment to the Study of Law” published in the Freedom Press, in whose preface it is possible to notice, along with the musician’s ardor who is moved when transcribing the first verses of the “Patriotic March” – written in 1812 by Vicente López y Planes and the germ of the “Argentine National Anthem” -, the vigorous pen of the future ideologist and patriotic forger who will have to fight to make the institutional underpinning of the new independent nation: “The day South America sang: ‘Hear, mortals, the sacred cry: / Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”, the change began, with emancipation being the “complex of all freedoms”, the main one being the freedom of reason.

It is the year in which the Literary Salon was born with the young people who will make up the Generation of ’37 of which Alberdi is a part and with them he founded, on November 18, the magazine “La Moda. Weekly magazine of music, poetry, literature, customs”, of which 23 issues will be published, the last on April 21, 1838. It will talk about fashion, “all intelligent production” of arts and customs , of “democratic urbanity”, “always unpublished and beautiful national poems” and “picturesque chronicles” in walks, dances, meetings and theatrical performances and there would be a “Musical Bulletin”, accompanied by a minuet, “a waltz [sic]” or a quadrillé, which would be none other than the Alberdian salon works such as “Figaro”, “La Moda”, “La Ausencia”, “La Candorosa”, “On a German Motif”, “The Last Impression”.

However, as the numbers progress, the political touches coming from his pen become increasingly evident. It was no longer just the motto of the magazine’s header: “Long live the Federation!” -in accordance with the political affiliation of its creators-, so was the admiration for Mariano José de Larra (Fígaro), the great Hispanic prose writer critical of Bourbon absolutism. Hence the Alberdian pseudonym: “My name is Figarillo, and nothing else, because I am the son of Figaro… I am the last article, so to speak, the posthumous work of Larra.”

On January 13, 1838, he ends his article “Riddles of Pedro Grullo” with a strong satirical criticism of the regime: “To say that the Government must silence this ridiculous, hateful role, unworthy of the culture of Buenos Aires, what will it be? –Proof of integrity, and veneration, above all, for the guarantees of the citizen that the Government respects, to be the first tomorrow to shout that the Government chains the press.” But it is not only government censorship that worries him, but also that youth are not committed. On March 10 in “Preach in Deserts,” the liberal artist is convinced that frivolity looms over youth and that it only sends a look “of warmth over the tears of the Homeland.” His dejection is enormous in the face of social indifference.

What to do then? Redouble efforts: space out the publication of the scores and double the length of the magazine. Nothing more tempting to give vent to your political desires. On March 17, Figarillo announces that he will write for “the people” and in the form of a colloquium he begins to make various characters speak. Suddenly, one of them, the teacher Hermogeniano, declares: “At all times newsprint has been, and in itself can be less so, an instrument of sedition and disorder,” in response to the criticism that is intensifying and that leads him to warn on April 7 “Figarillo in the pulpit”: “Blessed are the lacking in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of mockery and satire. I admonish you to eternally inhabit these kingdoms favored and favorable to tyrants.” Yes. “La Moda”, which had its main values ​​in freedom and virtue, was already a political-philosophical newspaper, so it could not coexist with the new government of Juan Manuel de Rosas.

On November 15, 1838, Alberdi exiled himself to Montevideo, but not before composing “The Last Absence of Buenos Aires.” He will dedicate himself to political journalism in “El Nacional”, “El Grito Argentino”, “El Talismán”, “Muera Rosas” and, finally, with great success in “El Iniciador”. In 1838 he founded with Miguel Cané the “Revista del Plata”, “El Corsario”, and with Bartolomé Miter “El Porvenir” and collaborated in the preparation of the founding documents of the association “La Joven Argentina”, inspired by the model of Giuseppe Mazzini.

It will take years to return, but in 1852 Alberdi provided his country with a Nation project through the “Bases and starting points for the political organization of the Argentine Republic”, whose proposal for a Constitution in 1853 became an official reality. . By guaranteeing the libertarian model, based on democracy and popular sovereignty, the division of powers, elections and the publicity of government acts, Figarillo’s dream would become a reality: “The daily cries of tyranny will not be able to overcome the fatal progress of freedom.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *