Johan Rudolf Thorbecke
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Thorbecke, Johan Rudolf
Born Jan. 15, 1798, in Zwolle; died June 4, 1872, in The Hague. Dutch state and political figure.
Thorbecke graduated from the University of Leiden in 1820; thereupon he went to Germany to continue his studies until 1824. In 1825 he became a professor of diplomatic history at the University of Ghent, and in 1831 he was appointed a professor of constitutional law at the University of Leiden. From 1840 to 1849 and again from 1853 to 1862, Thorbecke was a deputy to the Second Chamber of the States General as a member of the Liberal Party, becoming the chamber’s presiding officer in 1840. In 1848 he initiated amendments to the Dutch constitution limiting the power of the monarchy in favor of parliament.
Thorbecke served three terms as prime minister, from 1849 to 1853, from 1862 to 1866, and finally from 1871 to 1872. The governments he headed were responsible for several bourgeois reforms, including a new election law, reduced customs tariffs, and the abolition of slavery in the Dutch West Indies.