Teaching Module

Love & Authority in Argentina (19th c)

Lesson Plan: Love and Rebellion in Argentina

by Janelle Collett

Time Estimated: four 50-minute classes


  1. Synthesize understanding of primary sources with understanding of secondary sources.
  2. Understand why the Rosas regime asserted its authority in this case and the larger implications for how an unstable state responds to threats to their power.
  3. Debate how a state can best maintain order.


Day One

Read out loud "To the Spirits of Camila O'Gorman." Make sure students are not given the introduction.

Ask students to write a short story imagining who she was and what happened to her.

Have students volunteer to share their stories.

As a class, identify patterns in the stories. What were they able to infer about Camila O'Gorman from the poem?

Students must read the introduction to "To the Spirits of Camila O'Gorman" in order to find out the story of what actually happened to her AND the introduction to the Teaching Module, "Youth, Love, & Authority in Argentina" (19th c).

Day Two

Discuss "Youth, Love, & Authority in Argentina."

Create a timeline as a class, including the most significant events that occurred in Argentina between 1810 and 1860.

Who was Camila O'Gorman? Why is her fate significant to understanding this period in Argentina?

Examine "Camila O'Gorman" Painting

  • How has the artist portrayed Camila? Does she look like a criminal? Like an innocent victim?
  • How do you believe the artist felt about her execution?

Read the letter from Adolfo O'Gorman to Juan Manuel de Rosas out loud.

  • Why did Adolfo O'Gorman write this letter? (What was his purpose?)
  • What arguments does he use to try to persuade Juan Manuel de Rosas to agree with him?

Day Three

Four Corners Debate!

  • Write the following statement on the board: "A government has the right to use violence to enforce the law."
  • In each of the four corners of the room, hang a poster with one of the following statements: "Strongly Agree," "Agree," "Disagree," and "Strongly Disagree."
  • Instruct students to stand in the corner of the room with the poster that states the position they want to argue.
  • Once students are in the corner of their choice, instruct them to discuss with their group why they all chose that position. As a group, they must construct an argument and evidence to support that argument. Then, they must choose a group leader.
  • Group leaders present their argument and evidence to the class.
  • When group leaders are finished presenting, students may change corners if they have been persuaded to another point of view.

Students will each write a paragraph defending the point of view written on the poster they chose at the end of class yesterday.

Day Four


  • Which group was most persuasive in their arguments? What did they do differently that made them so persuasive?
  • Which group would Juan Manuel de Rosas have agreed with? Adolfo O'Gorman? Camila O'Gorman? Juan Leon Palliére?
  • What drives a government to be so extreme in its enforcement of the law?
  • What drives individuals to disobey a government that is all-powerful and willing to use violence to punish disobedience?
  • Is there any way for a government to maintain order if individuals disobey the law other than violence?


Advanced Students
After the debate, instead of a paragraph, students will write an essay for homework answering the question, "What are the strengths and weaknesses of an authoritarian regime?"

Less Advanced Students
Allow one more day for activity. As a class, fill out a SCARABS sheet for each of the three primary sources.

  • Subject of the primary source
  • Context: what was happening when it was created?
  • Author or creator
  • Reason the source was created
  • Audience: for whom was this source created?
  • Bias of creator of source
  • Significance of the source (why is it important?)

How to Cite This Source

"Love & Authority in Argentina (19th c)," in Children and Youth in History, Item #60, https://cyh.rrchnm.org/items/show/60 (accessed August 10, 2021).