Exile Representations of Chilean Exceptionalism
Through their participation in cultural debates and the formation of public and civil society institutions, Argentine émigrés imagined Chile as a model of nation-building that could be adapted to their home country after 1852 and the fall of Rosas. The foundational texts of Argentine nationality, such as Sarmiento’s Facundo and Alberdi’s Bases, imagined Argentina in a comparative perspective. Involvement in Chilean politics is key to understanding the evolution of Argentine political thought, as the émigrés from the Argentine Confederation both criticized their host country and participated in factional politics. The ideas expressed in these texts were also influential in the development of an idea of Chilean exceptionalism in South America, the idea that the country was unique in enjoying stable institutions, that contrasted with the “anarchy” of the Argentine civil wars.