José Batlle y Ordóñez

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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Batlle and the second or maternal family name is Ordóñez.
José Batlle y Ordoñez
José Batlle y Ordoñez
President of Uruguay
In office
Preceded by Juan Lindolfo Cuestas
Succeeded by Claudio Williman
President of Uruguay
In office
Preceded by Claudio Williman
Succeeded by Feliciano Viera
Personal details
Born (1856-05-01)May 1, 1856
Montevideo, Uruguay
Died October 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
Religion Agnostic
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José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez (May 21, 1856 – October 20, 1929) was the president of Uruguay in 1899 (interim) and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics. He was also the uncle of another Uruguayan president, Luis Batlle Berres and the great-uncle of the ex-president, Jorge Batlle.

He and his family are some of the most prominent members of the Colorado Party. He was a prominent journalist, who founded El Día in 1886. As president, Battle presided over the passage of a wide range of reforms in areas such as social security and working conditions.


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.

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.

President of Uruguay[edit]

First term[edit]

In 1904 Batlle's government forces successfully ended the intermittent Uruguayan Civil War which had persisted for many years, when the opposing National 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.

During Batlle y Ordóñez's term in office, religion became a major focus. 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]

Second term[edit]

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. A variant of this proposal was implemented with the Constitution of 1918.


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 neighbourhood in Montevideo are named after him.

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

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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