The author was a former member of the Chamber of Deputies; in politics, he was one of the leaders of the Conservative Party; as an educator, he was for a time Rector of the University of Buenos Aires; as a diplomat, he was one-time ambassador to the United Nations and served for a period as president of that body. He has written articles and monographs on education and the constitution.
This book, it was said, was written for “simple people,” the young, and the “man of the street,” who might wish to be given a “look” (asomarse) at the problems of the community, “without prejudice.” The work is in two divisions, with the first (pp. 1-164) being a commentary, article by article, on the constitution, although the comment with reference to quite a number of articles is that no commentary is needed. The second part, or appendix, is made up of three monographs (pp. 167-260), all previously written by the author and two of them previously published. The author’s commentaries as to length and avowed interest show a prevailing emphasis on the legislative power. His opinions concerning the problems of proportional representation in Argentina and the active interposition of political parties in the deliberations of the Chamber of Deputies may well be read attentively by his selected audience, as well as by others. Those opinions are stated forthrightly, whether or not they are without prejudice.
As respects constitutional history, the author takes a position on which he “insists.” The great majority of writers on the Argentine constitution, it is believed, has held that the defeat of the Rosas dictatorship in 1851 opened the opportunity for the formulation of an enduring constitution—that of 1853. The Province of Buenos Aires in 1852 had established an independent government of its own and was not a party to this charter. It is the thesis of the author that the Argentina of fourteen provinces did not come to have a constitution until 1860. In this view the author insists that the ad hoc convention of 1860 which adopted twenty-five amendments and four new articles was not merely an amending or reforming body, but a constituent body.
Much attention, noteworthy in a book of this brevity, is given to the distinction between strictly legislative functions (law-making) and non-legislative functions (administrative actions) of the congress, which are constitutionally authorized or required. Such duties are considerable in number and importance in Argentina, although not unique. The author is concerned by the incongruity of the adoption of “laws” rather than “resolutions” in relation to some procedural actions. On the other hand, he seems little concerned with the problem of the executive as co-legislator, although decree-laws grow in volume with time.