Alessandri Palma, Arturo

Alessandri Palma, Arturo

biographical name

(born Dec. 20, 1868, Longavi, Chile—died Aug. 24, 1950, Santiago) President of Chile (1920–25, 1932–38). He was the son of an Italian immigrant, and his election in 1920 represented the urban classes' first successful challenge to Chile's oligarchy. When he defended workers' groups and attempted liberal reforms, he encountered stiff opposition in Congress. A coup led by Carlos Ibáñez forced him into exile, but he was soon recalled and drafted a new constitution that increased the president's power. He became president again in 1932 during the Great Depression, dependent for support on the political right. His declaration of a state of siege in response to widespread strikes cost him his labour and middle-class support.

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