Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Arturo Alessandri -- 1868-1950, Presidents -- Chile -- Election -- 1920, Chile -- Politics and government -- 1824-1920



Physical Description

1 online resource (102 leaves)


After rising to a position of political and economic importance among the Latin American republics of the nineteenth century, Chile lost that leadership in the early 1900’s, much to the consternation of her leading statesmen and intellectuals. The economic dislocation following World War I exacerbated the already serious social conditions, while at the same the traditionally passive lower classes started to demand a voice in the management of their own affairs. The existing governmental system had proved itself powerless to solve the pressing problems facing the country at every turn. Chile desperately needed new leadership; the time was perfect for the emergence of a modern-style caudillo. As early as 1918, Arturo Alessandri was prominently mentioned as a likely candidate for the Presidency. He had established his charismatic qualities and his political prowess in his 1915 campaign for the Senate seat for Tarapacá, and in the short span of four years he became the “popular” choice for the highest office. Alessandri won nomination as the candidate of the Liberal Alliance coalition in 1920, and he was elected President by such a slim margin that the contest had to be decided by a Tribunal of Honor. His triumph made him Chile’s first middle-class chief executive—a victory for the middle sectors that voted for him and the lower classes that threatened revolution if he were denied the office. The magnitude of his win must be qualified, however, for the oligarchy was aware that without control of Congress Alessandri would be unable to effect even moderate reforms. He had promised to right all the things were so wrong in Chile but such promises were not to be fulfilled.


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Portland State College. Dept. of History

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