Batlle y Ordóñez, José

Batlle y Ordóñez, José

Batlle y Ordóñez, José (hōsāˈ bätˈyāˈ ē ôrdōˈnyās), 1856–1929, president of Uruguay (1903–7, 1911–15). A journalist and the head of the Colorado party, Batlle was a campaigner for political reform. In his second term he initiated radical legislation to increase public welfare and substitute government for the anarchism that had plagued Uruguay since the winning of independence. Among his most significant proposals were universal adult suffrage, labor reforms, and the decentralization of the executive into a junta modeled after the Swiss federal council. The constitution of 1917, framed under his influence, curbed the power of the executive and provided for socialist government, a trend not interrupted until Terra became president in 1931.


See study by M. I. Vanger (1963).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Batlle y Ordóñez, José


Born May 21, 1856, in Montevideo; died there Oct. 20, 1929. State and political figure of Uruguay.

In 1886, Batlle founded the newspaper El Dia, which came out for bourgeois democratic reforms. In the 1880’s he became a leader of the Colorado Party. (In the beginning of the 20th century it was called the Batllist Party.) In the years 1903–07 and 1911–15 he was the president of Uruguay. In this post he promoted the development of state capitalism in the country, carried on policies of protectionism, improved the system of public education, introduced laws on pensions and an eight-hour work day, and prepared reforms of the 1830 constitution. Bailie’s reforms hastened the economic development of Uruguay but did not affect its latifundia system. Trying to limit the influence of Great Britain, Batlle encouraged the penetration of US capital into the country. Batlle’s bourgeois reformism (batllism, according to the term taken into the literature) was the reaction of the ruling classes to the rise of the workers’ movement. The ideological essence of batllism is to create the illusion of a “social peace” and interfere with the class struggle.


Pintos, F. Batl’e i protsess istoricheskogo razvitiia Urugvaia. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from Spanish.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.