“History’s So Strong”: The Topos of Historia Magistra Vitae and the Rediscovery of Dictatorship in Latin America

Prieto, Moisés (2020). “History’s So Strong”: The Topos of Historia Magistra Vitae and the Rediscovery of Dictatorship in Latin America. History of Humanities, 5(1), pp. 225-249. The University of Chicago Press 10.1086/707700

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In 1967, German historian Reinhart Koselleck claimed that the Ciceronian topos called historia magistra vitae started fading in the late eighteenth century owing to the new aspects of irreversibility and acceleration that history had gained. History could thus no longer provide lessons for a deeply uncertain present after the French Revolution. Dictator and dictatorship are examples of terms in this dramatic reconfiguration that were rescued from an intellectual register and then used for political purposes. Meanwhile, it was in independent Spanish America that these terms and the reality behind them experienced a renaissance, though under particular circumstances conditioned by the creation of new states. This article discusses two Latin American dictators, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, supreme dictator of Paraguay (1814–40), and Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires (1829–32 and 1835–52), from the point of view of historia magistra vitae. Based on sources that include travelogues, pamphlets, and political essays, it aims to understand the persisting or fading relevance of the topos for the explanation of these authoritarian rulers by contemporaries.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Institute of History, Iberian and Latin American History

UniBE Contributor:

Prieto, Moisés

Subjects:

900 History
900 History > 980 History of South America

ISSN:

2379-3163

Publisher:

The University of Chicago Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Moisés Prieto

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2020 09:50

Last Modified:

04 Jun 2020 09:50

Publisher DOI:

10.1086/707700

Uncontrolled Keywords:

History of Concepts Begriffsgeschichte Diktaturbegriff Historia Magistra Vitae Lateinamerika Juan Manuel de Rosas José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia Argentina Paraguay

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144395

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144395

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