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Eva "Evita" Perón: 1919–1952: Political Leader

Death Moved A Nation

Despite pressure from some groups to run as the vice-presidential candidate in 1952, Perón eventually deflected such suggestions at her husband's insistence. In fact, the popularity of Eva Perón had greatly aided public support of the Perón government in a way that no elective office could compare. In addition, she was gravely ill and by the time her husband was sworn in to a second term as president in June of 1952, Eva Perón could barely stand unassisted. Debilitated by uterine cancer made worse by her initial refusal to undergo a hysterectomy, Perón's last public appearance came at her husband's inauguration.

While her illness had been reported in general terms in the media, Eva Perón's death on July 16, 1952 plunged Argentina into a period of unprecedented national mourning. It also initiated the gradual erosion of support for the Perón government, which had badly managed the country's finances while Argentina lost ground to its international trade rivals. In 1955 President Perón was ousted in another military coup and fled to Spain. He returned to Argentina in 1973 after another military coup installed him once again as president, and died while in office in July of 1974.

Since the time of her death, the myth of Eva Perón has continued to permeate Argentina's political, social, and historical landscapes. Viewed by some as a near-divine figure who died to redeem the country's sins, Perón has also been described as a corrupt, power-hungry, and egomaniacal figure by her detractors. While most observers agree that her commitment to social justice was genuine, her unyielding opposition to the slightest criticism of her husband's government made her motivations seem less than idealistic. Books on Perón's life continue to fill the bestseller lists in Argentina, and the 1997 movie adaptation of the play based loosely on her life, Evita, introduced the iconic Eva Perón as played by Madonna to a new generation around the world.


Crassweller, Robert, Perón and the Enigmas of Argentina, W.W. Norton & Company, 1987.

France, Miranda, Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer's Adventures in Argentina, Ecco Press, 1998.

Fraser, Nicholas and Marysa Navarro, Evita: The Real Life of Evita Perón, W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.

Guillermoprieto, Alma, Looking for History: Dispatches from Latin America, Pantheon Books, 2001.

Ortiz, Alicia Dujovne, Eva Perón: A Biography, St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Page, Joseph, Perón: A Biography, Random House, 1983.

Perón, Eva, In My Own Words, reprint, New Press, 1996.

Rock, David, Argentina 1516-1987: From Spanish Colonization to Alfonsín, University of California Press, 1987.

—Timothy Borden

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalEva "Evita" Perón: 1919–1952: Political Leader Biography - Worked As An Actress, Became Political Leader, Death Moved A Nation