It was evident that the president intended to use all the influence which the party in power could exercise, to secure the return of General Julio Roca, who had distinguished himself in 1878 by a successful campaign against the warlike Indian tribes bordering on the Andes.
On the 13th of February 1880, the minister of war, Dr Carlos Pellegrini, summoned the principal officers connected with the Tiro Nacional, General Bartolome Mitre, his brother Emilio, Colonel Julio Campos, Colonel Hilario Lagos and others, and warned them that as officers of the national army they owed obedience to the national government, and would be severely punished if concerned in any revolutionary outbreak against the constituted authorities.
The portenos were no longer in a position to nominate a candidate in opposition to General Julio Roca, who was duly elected.
Public opinion had been outraged by the immunity with which the governors of certain provinces, and more particularly Dr Julio Costa, the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, had been allowed to maintain local forces, by the aid of which they exacted the payment of illegal taxes and exercised other acts of injustice and oppression.
The Colorados now made General Tajes president, the practical direction of the administration being in the hands of Julio Herrera y Obes.