Founders, Presidents

Domingo F. Sarmiento – 7th President of Argentina

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Albarracin (February 15, 1811 – September 11, 1888) was an Argentinian activist, intellectual, and writer, and the seventh President of Argentina. His writing spanned a wide range of genres and topics, from journalism to autobiography, to political philosophy and history.

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Argentina (1985-90) 100 Australes (front) – Portrait of Domingo F. Sarmiento

He was a member of a group of intellectuals, known as the “Generation of 1837″, who had a great influence on nineteenth-century Argentina. Sarmiento himself was particularly concerned with educational issues, and is now sometimes considered “The Teacher” of Latin America. He was also an important influence on the region’s literature.

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Domingo Faustino Sarmiento was President of the Republic of Argentina from 1868–1874. He became president despite the maneuverings of his predecessor Bartolomé Mitre. According to biographer Allison Bunkley, his presidency “marks the advent of the middle, or land-owning classes as the pivot power of the nation. The age of the gaucho had ended, and the age of the merchant and cattleman had begun.” Sarmiento sought to create basic freedoms, and wanted to ensure civil safety and progress for everyone. Sarmiento’s tour of the United States had given him many new ideas about politics, democracy, and the structure of society, especially when he was the Argentine ambassador to the country from 1865 to 1868. He found New England, specifically the Boston-–Cambridge area to be the source of much of his influence, writing in an Argentine newspaper that New England was “the cradle of the modern republic, the school for all of America.” He described Boston as “The pioneer city of the modern world, the Zion of the ancient Puritans … Europe contemplates in New England the power which in the future will supplant her.”[38] Not only did Sarmiento evolve political ideas, but also structural ones by transitioning Argentina from a primarily agricultural economy to one focused on cities and industry.

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