How did Juan Peron gain the support of the urban poor?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peron understood from one of the earliest points in his political career that making significant overtures to the urban poor can result in capital that can be spent in time of trouble.  He began to foster his relationship with the urban poor as early as 1943, when he became minister of the National Labor Department.  Peron understood the political expediency of the position, given the vast number of poor in Argentina.  Most of them in the urban sector, Peron used his position to represent a realm of social welfare as he made significant gestures to the working class Argentinian.  By encouraging them to organize, Peron aided older unions that supported his policies, and helped to facilitate the implementation of new laws favorable to the working class. Peron understood that the power of this group, urban by nature, in terms of its mobilization was something that would benefit him when he would make his move into political power.

Such a move came in 1945, when anti- Peronist forces made a claim to government.  Seeking to portray the claim as undermining much of what was established with the urban poor, Peron was correct in sensing that they would come to his defense and rally for his leadership.  They did, by resorting to mass demonstrations and violence, and forcing the opposition to allow for free election that Peron won.  As President, Peron made sure that it appeared he acted as a Populist leader who supported the urban working class, yet his policies ended up having a muddled effect on helping this particular group.  He never strayed from speaking to this group, but as President, his policies never directly enhanced the quality of life of the urban poor.  

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