These two volumes offer a rich new lode to students of twentieth-century Argentine politics. The wealth of data—some previously unpublished and much of the remainder heretofore available only in scattered and often elusive sources—should stimulate numerous new studies both in Argentina and abroad.
The major portion of the work is devoted to election data covering the period between 1912 and 1965. Returns at the provincial level are presented for every major national election during the fifty-three year interval; figures at the level of the departamento (county) are provided for sixteen national elections. The departmental data, usually the most difficult to obtain but by far the most valuable for purposes of election analysis, compose the entire second volume.
Department-level voting returns include presidential election data from the federal capital and all provinces for 1928, 1946, and 1958, and from all but two provinces for 1922. In elections of national deputies, returns from the capital and all participating provinces are presented at the department level for the elections of 1916, 1926, 1930, 1954, 1962, and 1965. Departmental returns from all but four provinces are presented for the 1920 election of national deputies. In addition to these years of complete or virtually complete returns, department-level data from the capital and scattered provinces are printed for the presidential election of 1937 and for the Chamber of Deputies elections of 1912, 1914, 1918, and 1940. Concerning the 1954 and 1958 elections Cantón presents department-level returns for men and women voters separately as well as departmental totals. Finally, Volume I includes department-level returns for a number of provincial elections during the 1916-1930 period.
Among data other than election returns which are included in this compilation, probably the most valuable are those in the the section on the composition of the national Chamber of Deputies. For each annual session from 1912 through 1965, the membership of the chamber is cross-tabulated by province and political party. This is the first time such a breakdown has been published for some sessions; for others, it was previously available only in a hard-to-find official publication. Volume I also includes 1) an annotated list of charges of electoral fraud which were brought to the floor of the Chamber of Deputies from 1912 through 1942; 2) a brief list of electoral legislation since 1854; and 3) provincial maps showing the departmental boundaries.
In the introduction Cantón discusses briefly his on-going research into political mobilization in Argentina, of which the present sourcebook is a by-product, and outlines the sources and limitations of his data. The discussion of the problems which he and his associates encountered in trying to obtain seemingly common political data will be instructive reading for the young scholar embarking on his first field research in Latin America, and it will bring back many memories to those who have made the rounds of ministries and libraries looking for similar material.
While Cantón’s work will be immensely useful to anyone interested in studying Argentine voting patterns, the service he has performed can only be fully appreciated by those who have experienced firsthand the frustration of searching in Buenos Aires for past election data. The compiler says that he visualized the work as a “set of tools for many” (p. xxxiii); such invaluable tools can be expected to produce many good works.