José Batlle y Ordóñez

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José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Batlle y Ordóñez
19th and 21st President of Uruguay
In office
1 March 1911 1 March 1915
Preceded by Claudio Williman
Succeeded by Feliciano Viera
In office
1 March 1903 1 March 1907
Preceded by Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
Succeeded by Claudio Williman
In office
5 February 1899 1 March 1899
Preceded by Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
Succeeded by Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
2nd and 5th Prime Minister of Uruguay
In office
1 March 1921 1 March 1923
President Baltasar Brum
Preceded by Feliciano Viera
Succeeded by Julio María Sosa
In office
1 March 1927 16 February 1928
President Juan Campisteguy
Preceded by Luis Alberto de Herrera
Succeeded by Luis Caviglia
Personal details
Born(1856-05-21)May 21, 1856
Montevideo, Uruguay
DiedOctober 20, 1929(1929-10-20) (aged 73)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Nationality Uruguayan
Political party Colorado Party
Spouse(s) Matilde Pacheco
Children César
Amalia Ana
Ana Amalia
Occupation Journalist

José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez (May 23, 1856 – October 20, 1929) was an Uruguayan politician who created the modern Uruguayan welfare state by his reforms.

Welfare state Government promoting its peoples welfare

The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. Sociologist T. H. Marshall described the modern welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism.


In 1898, for a few weeks he served as interim president and later was elected to the presidency for two terms, from 1904 until 1907 and from 1911 to 1915


Batlle family are some of the most prominent members of the Colorado Party. He was the son of former President Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo were actively engaged in politics. He was the uncle of another Uruguayan President, Luis Batlle Berres and the great-uncle of President Jorge Batlle.

Colorado Party (Uruguay) political party of Uruguay

The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.

Lorenzo Batlle y Grau President of Uruguay

Lorenzo Cristóbal Manuel Batlle y Grau was the president of Uruguay from 1868 to 1872.

César Batlle Pacheco was a Uruguayan journalist and political figure.

He was a prominent journalist, who founded El Día newspaper in 1886. Batlle used his newspaper as a political platform for criticizing his opponents and promoting his reformist agenda.

<i>El Día</i> (Uruguay) Uruguayan newspaper

El Día was an influential Uruguayan daily newspaper.


First term

In 1904 Batlle's government forces successfully ended the intermittent Uruguayan Civil War which had persisted for many years, when the opposing National Party leader Aparicio Saravia was killed at the battle of Masoller. Without their leader, Saravia's followers abandoned their fight, starting a period of relative peace.

Uruguayan Civil War 1839-1851 civil war in Uruguay

The Uruguayan Civil War, also known in Spanish as the Guerra Grande, was a series of armed conflicts between the leaders of Uruguayan independence. While officially the war lasted from 1839 until 1851, it was a part of armed conflicts that started in 1832 and continued until the final military defeat of Blancos in 1904. Out of supporters of presidents Rivera and Oribe grew Colorado Party and the National Party, both of which received backing and support from foreign sources, including neighboring Empire of Brazil, the Argentine Confederation, Buenos Aires Province as well as European powers, primarily the British Empire and the Kingdom of France, but also a legion of Italian volunteers including Giuseppe Garibaldi.

National Party (Uruguay) political party in Uruguay

The National Party, also known as the White Party, is a major political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government.

Aparicio Saravia Uruguayan politician

Aparicio Saravia Da Rosa was a Uruguayan politician and military leader. He was a member of the Uruguayan National Party and was a revolutionary leader against the Uruguayan government.

During Batlle y Ordóñez's term in office, secularization became a major political issue. Uruguay banned crucifixes in hospitals by 1906, and eliminated references to God and the Gospel in public oaths. Divorce laws were also established during this time. He led Uruguay's delegation to the Second Hague Conference and was noted for his peace proposals there. [1] Much of the time between his two terms Batlle spent travelling in Europe and picking up ideas for new political and social reforms, which he introduced during his second term.

Secularization transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values

Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance. The term secularization is also used in the context of the lifting of the monastic restrictions from a member of the clergy.

Crucifix cross with an image or artwork of Jesus on it

A crucifix is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself on the cross is referred to in English as the corpus.

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another person.

Second term

In 1913, Batlle proposed a reorganization of the government which would replace the presidency by a nine-member National Council of Administration, similar to the Swiss Federal Council. Batlle’s proposal for a collective leadership body was defeated in 1916 referendum, but he managed to establish a model in which executive powers were split between the Presidency and the National Council of Administration when a variant of his proposal was implemented with the Constitution of 1918.

National Council of Administration

The National Council of Administration was part of the executive power in Uruguay between 1919 and 1933, ruling alongside the President of the Republic.

Constitution of Uruguay of 1918

The second Constitution of Uruguay was in force during the period 1918-1933.


During Batlle's second term, he began a new movement and referred to as Batllismo : concerted state action against foreign economic imperialism. During this time he fought for such things as unemployment compensation (1914), eight-hour workdays (1915), and universal suffrage. As President, Battle introduced a wide range of reforms in areas such as social security and working conditions.

All of this brought a great government involvement into the economy. Private monopolies were turned into government monopolies and tariffs were imposed on foreign products, including machinery and raw material imports. The growth of the meat processing industry stimulated the livestock industry, Uruguay's main source of wealth.


Education started a process of great expansion since the mid-to-late 19th century. It became the key to success for the middle class community. The state approved free high school education and created more high schools through the country. The university was also opened to women, and the enrollment increased throughout the country.

Later life

Monument of Batlle in Montevideo Jose Batlle y Ordonez - Estatua en Montevideo, Uruguay.jpg
Monument of Batlle in Montevideo

In 1920 Batlle killed Washington Beltrán Barbat, a National Party deputy, in a formal duel that stemmed from vitriolic editorials published in Batlle's 'El Día' newspaper and Beltrán's 'El País'. [2] His son Washington Beltrán would become President of Uruguay. He also served twice as Chairman of the National Council of Administration (1921-1923, 1927-1928).


A public park and a neighborhood in Montevideo are named after him.

There is also a town in Lavalleja Department named after him.

See also

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  1. "A Basis for a League of Peace". The Independent. Jul 20, 1914. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
President of Uruguay

Succeeded by
Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
Preceded by
Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
President of Uruguay
Succeeded by
Claudio Wílliman
Preceded by
Claudio Wílliman
President of Uruguay
Succeeded by
Feliciano Viera
Preceded by
Feliciano Viera
Prime Minister of Uruguay
Succeeded by
Julio María Sosa