SQUARE OF THE FIRST NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Municipality of Argos
Dem. Gounaris str., near St. John. The works of the A´ National Assembly started in Argos, at the church of St. John, on December 1821 and continued in Piada (New Epidaurus).
When the Revolution began, the need of political organization appeared, since the lack of political and military organization was one of the basic problems, which Greeks of the time of the Revolution had to confront. They needed a “system” for the resonance of the struggle. The 1st remarkable organizational effort took place in the monastery of Kaltezes out of Tripoli, where The Peloponesse’s Senate was founded on the 26th of May 1821. Primitive forms of organization, like the Senate of Peloponnese, were inadequate, due to the fact that they were limited as far as their power was concerned. About thirty dignitaries and archpriests participated in the works of the Senate’s elevation, which would assimilate the struggle in Morias until the capture of Tripolitsa. Parallel, they were personally interested in organization, because they did not want to loose their domination from Demetrios Hypsilantis, whose arrival was expected.
After the capture of Tripolitsa, in 23 of September, Demetrios Ypsilantis tried to convoke a national assembly with representatives from all the Revolutional Greece’s places for the establishment of a political system. From the beginning, difficulties came up, because the Senate of Peloponnese did not mean to be dissolved according to its proclamation. The leaders also wanted to gain time, for Alexandros Maurokordatos and Negris, who were politically opposite to Demetrios Ypsilantis, to come from Sterea Hellas. Besides, the militaries’ glory from the capture of Tripolitsa was great and they hoped that through the time this first overwhelming impression of this fact would decrease.
Due to the persistence of Ypsilantis and militaries, the prefecture’s representatives started to arrive in Argos at the end of November. These representatives were not elected, with normal elections by people, who were illiterate and did not know about politics. They were the famous dignitaries and archpriests and some men of letters, who only cared for axioms and domination.
The works started on the 1st of December 1821, but they had a bad beginning. Ypsilantis with only the militaries’ support did not achieve to preserve the National Assembly’s character, which was modified to “Peloponnesian” by Maurokordatos. The initiatives and purposes of the elected organs would be limited with this change. That is because the body, which was created, remains “local”. In fact, it was identified with the Peloponesse’s Senate.
Ypsilantis gave ground and accepted the axiom of the President of “Peloponnesian Senate”, because he wanted to preserve the temperate climate and not to acerbate the situation. Although, this axiom did not have substance, since the rest would have the majority and he would not be able to dominate. The “Peloponnesian Senate” vote asseveration, which had contradictions and inaccuracies that provoke amazement, so as “: To forget the contribution of the Ypsilantis family to the Revolution, to forget about Filiki Etaireia, to ascribe the Greek Revolution not to the unified decision of the nation for a rebellion against the Turkish domination, but to certain events and justify the “anarchy and disorder” that existed due to war adventures, while everyone knew that this was a result of the conflict between Ypsilantis and the dignitaries, which was caused by the latter”.
The Assembly of Argos also voted the Organization of temporal administration, which was a kind of regiment that controlled many political and military issues. The imposition of dignitaries was absolute with the Organization, since the militaries would be subjucated to the Senate. Despite the fact that Maurokordatos and Negris did not participate to the works, since they were not Peloponesseans, it is characteristic that the Organization had their rubber stamp because they had taken on its composition. We can say with certainty that the Assembly’s results were achievements of the Maurokordatos’s policy. The “topic” domination, administration and organization have not been overcome yet, as an obstacle, which threatens the Greeks’ unity and stakes the Revolution’s success.
Ypsilantis, watching the flags and the intrigues, decided to leave Argos before the works’ completion, in order to assure the domination, and went to Korinthos with Th. Kolokotronis, Petrobeis Mauromichalis and other warlords to capture and beleaguer the city.
In the meantime and before the militaries leave, a very unpleasant accident happened. Antonis Oikonomou was murdered at Xerias, out of Argos, causing serious ruffle in Argos. Politicians were worried and did not feel safe because the army got angry and was threatening them. During this period, a lot of troops were in Argos and in Nauplion, in the framework of this bilious comparison and the hostilities, between the politicians and militaries, because Nauplion was still beleaguered by the Greeks.
Under these circumstances they decided to go to Nea Epidavros and “tell their lies there” as Th. Kolokotronis wrote in his memoires. He refers to the 1st National Assembly of the Revolution, which began on the 20th of December 1821 and ended on the 16th of January 1822. The well-known declaration of Independence (1/1/1822), with which “the Greek Nation declares in front of God and people its political existence and independence” has remained memorable. The first Constitution of our country, the Temporary regime of Greece, which consisted of 110 articles, was also voted through by this Assembly. 59 representatives participated. Ypsilantis and Kolokotronis were not present, but they seized Korinthos on the 14th of January, which was before the end of the Assembly.
Finally, the Assembly of Argos, as it began on the 1st of December 1821 and as it went on later, as not a National Assembly, since Alexandros Mavrokordatos and others made it a Peloponnesian Assembly. Despite this fact it doubtlessly was the precursor of Pias and Argos opened the way to Nea Epidavros. Coincidences may be responsible for some events some times.