Example research essay topic: The Life Of Argentinian Saint Evita Peron – 1,447 words

Evita Peron, to many Argentines, was a saint.
40,000 of them would write to the pope attesting
to her miracles. She was born on May 7, 1919, in
Los Toldos, and baptized Maria Eva, but everyone
called her Evita. Her father abandoned the family
shortly after her birth. In early 1935, the young
Evita fled to Buenos Aires. She wanted to be an
actress, and in the next few years supported
herself with bit parts. She began regular visits
to the offices of a movie magazine, talking
herself up for mention in its pages.

When, in
1939, she was hired as a second-tier actress in a
radio company; she discovered a talent for playing
heroines in the fantasy world of radio soap opera.
This was a period of political uncertainty in
Argentina, yet few people were prepared for the
military coup that took place in June 1943. Among
the many measures instituted by the new government
was the censorship of radio soap operas. Quickly
adapting to the new environment, Evita approached
the officer in charge of allocating airtime,
Colonel Anibal Imbert. She seduced him, and Imbert
approved a new project Evita had in mind, a radio
series called Heroines of History. Six months
after Evita met Imbert, an earthquake struck
Argentina. Colonel Juan Peron, the secretary of
labor in the military government, launched a
collection for the victims.

He arranged for the
Buenos Aires acting community to donate its time
for an evening’s entertainment, with the proceeds
going to disaster relief. Evita was present on the
big night, and she wanted to meet the colonel.
They talked for hours and left together. Within
days Evita had moved into Peron’s apartment. Peron
had risen quickly in the government and had
accomplished a major coup with the unions,
essentially taking control of them. In February,
Peron engineered the ouster of the president and
took over the war ministry. Evita continued her
radio portrayals of famous women, but her
ambitions lay in the movies.

She wanted Peron to
help her in her film career, and he did by
procuring the film itself, a commodity difficult
to obtain during World War II. He offered it to a
movie studio in exchange for Evita’s starring role
in a film. Four months into their relationship,
Evita was named president of a new actors union
Peron had created. Soon afterward, she began a
daily radio broadcast called Toward a Better
Future. It was government propaganda, and it was
the first time Evita’s dramatic talents had been
harnessed to advance the political interests she
was picking up from Peron. When World War II ended
in 1945, Peron, then vice president, became a
target of demonstrations because of his widely
known fascist sympathies.

In the fall of 1945, the
army demanded his resignation, saying he was a
lightning rod for discontent. Peron acceded,
reluctantly. But he refused to go quietly. Peron
controlled the unions, and the unions controlled
millions of men. Appearing in early October before
15,000 unionists, he announced that his last act
as secretary of labor–a post he still held–would
be to grant a general wage increase. His pandering
won loud cheers as he exhorted the crowd to “carry
on our triumphal march!” That evening Peron
learned that he was going to be arrested by the
army, which could not risk leaving the popular
leader on the street.

He and Evita fled Buenos
Aires but were apprehended a short time later.
They were driven back to the capital, where Peron
was put aboard a navy boat and sent away. Evita
and Peron had made no secret of their
relationship. Evita tried to get Peron out of
prison. But she could not even learn where he was
being held; in fact, that became the great mystery
in the streets of Buenos Aires. Where was Peron?
He passed a letter out of prison, and it was
published in the newspapers. He also managed to
have himself transferred to Buenos Aires for
medical attention, thus contriving to be in the
city because he knew about plans to free him
already underway.

Many have claimed that Evita set
these plans in motion by offering herself to union
leaders. All that is known for sure is that in the
early-morning hours of October 16, groups of
workers began walking toward the center of the
capital. Hundreds of thousands of people moved
with such deliberateness that the government could
do nothing without shedding blood. The crowd was
demanding only one thing–Peron. Listening to the
demonstrators outside, Peron smugly told his
captors to reinstate him or risk a major uprising.
They agreed, and that evening Peron spoke to
200,000 people from the balcony of the
presidential palace. He told them to disperse
peacefully, but with this order in mind: they were
not to go to work the next day–October 17–but to
celebrate their victory instead.

For many years to
come, October 17th would be the great day of
Peronist Argentina. Four days later, Peron and
Evita were married. Peron soon won the presidency.
Evita quickly became the darling of the Argentine
media. By 1947, Peron had already replaced the
justices of the Supreme Court with his own
appointees, including Evita’s brother-in-law. In
his second term, police torture would become
routine. But to win re-election, he needed a new
constitution, one that did away with the one-term
limitation on the presidency.

He pushed that
reform through in March 1949. Another innovation
Peron sponsored was women’s suffrage. When the law
was enacted, the full power of the propaganda
machine went to turning newly enfranchised women
into Peron handmaidens. In July 1949, Evita
addressed the first meeting of her own Peronist
Women’s Party. She asked the women “to be loyal
and to have blind confidence in Peron.” Such
comments went far toward creating a cult of
personality around Juan Peron. Evita had learned
her parts so well that even if she did not write
most of the lines, she improvised to perfection.
The remarks one finds in her ghostwritten History
of Peronism are the ones she would build upon in
every speech: “Peronism is everything…We all
feed from his light.” People were increasingly
feeding from the light of Evita Peron as well.

In
1948 a foundation was created in Evita’s name. The
foundation was a phenomenal success. From the idea
of the foundation sprang a range of programs
designed to advance the Peronist cult of
personality: youth sports leagues with Evita’s
profile on every uniform, hospitals with her
initials on the linen, polio vaccines that bore
her name. It was around this time that Evita began
her almost daily sessions with the poor, the
well-publicized ministrations that would shape the
legend of a saint. By 1951, her name was being
mentioned for the vice presidency, and in August a
labor meeting was called to endorse a Peron-Peron
ticket. But on August 22, Evita went on radio to
renounce the post.

She wanted only a supporting
role in Peron’s “marvelous chapter in history.”
One month later, Evita was diagnosed with cancer
of the uterus. When news of her illness got out,
people began holding special masses. Over the
course of the next year, Evita’s death was
dramatically played out in public. She died
professing love for her people and receiving their
expressions of devotion in return. In such an
atmosphere, Peron’s re-election itself became a
sort of ritual, so that when Evita voted from her
hospital bed, the nurses fell to their knees and
kissed her ballot box. After the election, a
biopsy revealed that the cancer had spread.

In
June 1952, calling her “the most remarkable woman
of any historical epoch,” Peron’s congress named
Evita the Spiritual Leader of the Nation. Her own
final contribution to that deification came in her
will, in which she wrote that she wanted “the
poor, the old, the children, and the workers to
continue writing to me as they did in my
lifetime.” She died on July 26, 1952. A specialist
was brought in to embalm the body and make it
“definitively incorruptible.” Evita’s body lay in
state for 13 days. Deprived of his dynamic and
popular wife, Peron was soon forced from office by
a coup. Evita’s body was passed among the
military, spending a year in the attic of the
Argentine military intelligence service before
being secreted out of the country to Milan, Italy.
In 1971, after a number of demands by terrorists,
the Argentine government agreed to return Evita’s
body. It was shipped to Peron in Spain.

That year,
Peron was allowed to return to Argentina; two
years later he was president again. He died in
office, and it was his wife and successor, Isabel,
who brought Evita’s body back to Argentina, in the
hope that the aura of a saint would again dazzle
the public..

Research essay sample on The Life Of Argentinian Saint Evita Peron