The main contributions of this study revolve around issues of state
coercion, social conflict, markets, and subaltern experience. This
book fills in some of the most evident oversights of existing historiogra-
phy about the Rosas period. By presenting subalterns’ political awareness,
economic sagacity, linguistic competence, and relentless contestation of
state policies, this study challenges notions of passivity and ignorance
on the part of the subaltern sectors that, apparently, supported Rosista
First, the book recuperates a multiplicity of voices uttered from sub-
altern positions about issues of paramount importance for the history of
the postindependence period: markets, legal authority, politics, and public
memory. These fragments of subaltern experience—this accumulation of
lamentations, opinions, and tactics—call into question several prior as-
sumptions about the Rosas period. The fragments of life condensed in the
filiaciones and clasificaciones present us with a subjectivity that defies con-
ventional wisdom as to its position vis-à-vis the powerful. Rather than
perennial passive victims of injustice, these agents ‘‘talk back’’ to the state,
reminding authorities of the promises made about personal freedom,
social equality, political incorporation, and economic well-being. Desert-
ers’ lamentations about the rigors of war and military discipline, veterans’
recollections of the civil wars, women’s active pursuit of ‘‘welfare’’ bene-
fits, parents’ defense of their sons against arbitrary arrest and recruitment
all speak of a defiant and assertive ‘‘agency.’’ In the face of a regime that
was systematic in the use of force to achieve its notions of political stability
and social order, these subaltern interventions are remarkable. They con-
front us with the negotiated nature of rule under caudillismo, something
denied by the existing historiography.
Second, the study displaces the problem of domination and resistance
from the private ranch to its rightful place: the recently expanded provin-
cial state. The contestation between peasant-peons and state authorities
over questions of military service, crime, and punishment constituted the
most important source of social protest during this period. In military
barracks the conflicts between o≈cers and soldiers reveal the importance
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