José Hernández was a soldier, writer, journalist and politician from the 19th century in Argentina. He sided the Federal party in the Argentinian civil wars, the side that ultimately lost in the political and economical fields, although the constitution recognizes the country as Federal. Although a federalist opposed to the centralizing, modernizing, and Europeanizing tendencies of Argentine president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Hernández was no apologist for General Juan Manuel de Rosas, a former head of the Federal party, and governor of Buenos Aires province. He characterized him as a tyrant and a despot.
Hernández is best known by his masterworks "El Gaucho Martín Fierro" and "La Vuelta de Martín Fierro", two political epic poems that denounce the injustices and abuses of the Argentinian Government against the rural population. The poem is the center of the Argentine Literature canon, and the Trope Codifier of the gauchesque poetry (although there was many works prior to it), and also it was the first Best Seller in Argentina and Uruguay. But he also has other works, as "Vida del Chacho", a biography about the caudillo (a type of gaucho's leader) Chacho Peñaloza, and his execution by his Unitarian enemies.
He also created the newspaper El Río de la Plata, which advocated local autonomy, abolition of the conscripted "frontier contingents", and election of justices of the peace, military commanders, and school boards.
- Vida del Chacho: a pamphlet about the caudillo Ángel Vicente Peñaloza, where Hernández warns the former president Urquiza that the same assassins that murdered the strongman are after him. He was right.
- El Gaucho Martín Fierro: A gauchesque poem depicting the life of a gaucho.
- La vuelta de Martín Fierro: the sequel of the late.
Works by José Hernández with their own pages:
- Martín Fierro poems