Arosemena, Justo (1817–1896)

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Arosemena, Justo (1817–1896)

Justo Arosemena (b. 1817; d. 1896), Panamanian intellectual and statesman. At sixteen he was awarded a bachelor's degree in humanities from the College of San Bartolomé, Colombia. In 1837 he was awarded a doctorate in law by the University of Magdalena. Arosemena spent most of his life in government, serving as minister of foreign relations (1848–1849), speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Colombian Congress (1852), senator, president of the Constitutional Convention of Río Negro (1863), and the first president of the Federal State of Panama (1855).

He wrote extensively on law and politics and was a prominent exponent of European liberal ideas. He belonged to the radical faction of the Liberal Party, the Golgotha. Arosemena believed that freedom had to reach everyone in society and that this required sovereignty. He favored autonomy for the isthmus. Arosemena envisioned the potential economic benefits that could be derived from an interoceanic canal, but he warned against foreign domination. Although he admired the U.S. political system, he spoke against U.S. intervention in other countries, particularly after the Mexican War (1846–1848). His most important works are Examen sobre la franca comunicación entre los dos océanos por el istmo de Panamá (1846), Estudios constitucionales (1852), and El Estado Federal de Panamá (1855).

See alsoColombia, Political Parties: Liberal Party .


José Dolores Moscote, La vida ejemplar de Justo Arosemena (1956).

Octavio Méndez Pereira, Justo Arosemena, 2d ed. (1970).

Additional Bibliography

Aparicio, Fernando. Liberalismo, federalismo y nación: Justo Arosemena en su contexto histórico. Panama: Editorial Portobelo Instituto del Canal de Panamá y Estudios Internacionales, 1997.

Barraza Arriola, Marco Antonio. Antología de escritores del istmo centroamericano 2nd ed. San Tecla, El Salvador: Clásicos Roxsil, 2003.

Dolores Moscote, José, and Enrique J. Arce. La vida ejemplar de Justo Arosemena. Panama: Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, 1999.

                                    Juan Manuel PÉrez

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Arosemena, Justo (1817–1896)

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