Modern Argentina was once part of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, part of the Spanish Empire. The capture of the Spanish king during the Peninsular War began the Argentine War of Independence. It was based on the principle of the retroversion of the sovereignty to the people: with the king absent, the sovereignty returned to its subjects who were then capable to rule themselves.
This led to conflicts among the provinces of the viceroyalty: some factions wanted to maintain the country under the centralist organization used so far, others wanted to use a federalist system, and others wanted to secede their provinces as independent countries. This led to the Argentine Civil Wars. The Supreme Directors of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata were centralists, and José de San Martín and José Gervasio Artigas were federalists. Those groups evolved into the Unitarian Party and the Federal Party respectively.
The sense of national unity was increased during the French and Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata. Britain and France sought to weaken Juan Manuel de Rosas with a naval blockade, but the resistance against foreign powers gave him great popularity and fostered national unity.
In the 1880s Argentina seized Patagonia with the Conquest of the Desert, and secured its modern national limits. It was feared that the great European immigration wave to Argentina would dilute national identity, so Vicente Quesada and other historians promoted nationalism by establishing the idea of the viceroyalty as the "Grand Argentina", broke into several countries by the meddling of Britain, France and the Empire of Brazil. This perception was reinforced by the diplomatic conflicts with Brazil of the time.
Nationalism resurfaced during the 1930s, and specially during World War II. Those nationalists thought that Argentina had an economic dependence of Britain, and that the country should not help Britain in the conflict but stay neutral. This nationalism led to the Revolution of '43, and during it to the emergence of Juan Domingo Perón. Perón reported the meddling of the ambassador of the United States Spruille Braden in the 1946 election, and won by a landslide. He nationalized several key tools of the economy of Argentina, and declared Argentine economic independence.
The analogies between Perón and Rosas became explicit during the Revolución Libertadora, a coup that ousted Perón from power and banned Peronism. Eduardo Lonardi, de facto president, used the quote "ni vencedores ni vencidos" (Spanish: "neither victors nor vanquished"), which was used by Justo José de Urquiza after deposing Rosas in the battle of Caseros. The official perspective was that Perón was "the second tyranny", the first one being Rosas, and that both ones should be equally rejected, and conversely both governments that ousted them should be praised. For this end they draw the line of historical continuity "May – Caseros – Libertadora", matching the coup with the May Revolution and the defeat of Rosas. This approach backfired. Perón was highly popular and the military coup unpopular; so Peronists embraced the comparison established between Rosas and Perón, but viewing him with a positive light instead. Nationalist historians draw then their own line of historical continuity, "San Martín – Rosas – Perón".
The National Reorganization Process promoted nationalist values during the Dirty War and the Falklands War. Both conflicts generated huge controversy. Nationalism declined in the following years as a result, increasing Americanization during the 1990s. Nationalism resurfaced again after the December 2001 riots in Argentina.
- Chaneton, p. 37
- Galasso, Tomo I, pp. 135–211
- Rosa, p. 124
- Cavaleri, pp. 167–168
- Galasso, Tomo II, pp. 186–325
- Devoto, pp. 278–281
- Seoane, María (July 10, 2007). "Para los argentinos, la Patria es un sentimiento de amor y de espanto" [For the Argentines, the fatherland is a sentiment of love and dismay] (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Cavaleri, Paulo (2004). La restauración del Virreinato: orígenes del nacionalismo territorial Argentino (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes. ISBN 987-558-031-7.
- Chaneton, Juan Carlos (1998). Argentina: La ambigüedad como destino (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos.
- Devoto, Fernando; Nora Pagano (2009). Historia de la Historiografía Argentina (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Sudamericana. ISBN 978-950-07-3076-1.
- Galasso, Norberto (2011), Historia de la Argentina, Tomo I&II, Buenos Aires: Colihue, ISBN 978-950-563-478-1
- Goebel, Michael (2011), Argentina's Partisan Past: Nationalism and the Politics of History, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-1846312380
- Rosa, José María (1974). Defensa y pérdida de nuestra independencia económica (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: A. Peña Lillo Editor.