Batlle y Ordóñez, José [key], 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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