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This book explores the political, legal, and economic history of Buenos Aires from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. Tracing the transition from colonial Natural Law to instrumental legal understandings of property, the book shows that the developments of constitutionalism and property law were more than coincidences: the polity shaped the rituals and practices arbitrating economic justice, while the crisis of property animated the support for a centralized and executive-dominated state. The author shows how merchants and capitalists coped with massive political upheaval and how political writers and intellectuals sought to forge a model of liberal republicanism. Among the topics examined are the transformation of commercial law, the evolution of liberal political credos, and the political and constitutional turmoil after the collapse of Spanish authority. The author argues that many of Argentina's recent problems can be traced back to the framework and foundations of Argentine statehood in the nineteenth century.