Alessandri Rodríguez, Jorge (1896–1986)

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Alessandri Rodríguez, Jorge (1896–1986)

Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez (May 19, 1896–August 31, 1986) was a prominent Chilean businessman who served as a congressman, senator, and government minister before following in the footsteps of his father, Arturo Alessandri, and becoming president of Chile (1958–1964). His attempts to modernize the Chilean economy, including initiating an agrarian reform program, faltered, as did his attempts to end inflation caused by low copper prices and excessive demand for imports. He sought the presidency again in 1970 only to lose to Salvador Allende—whom he had barely defeated in 1958—in a three-way election. A strong anti-Marxist, he had opposed the Unidad Popular (UP, Popular Unity) government, which supported Allende, particularly in its attempt to seize control of the manufacture of newsprint.

Following his 1973 coup, General Augusto Pinochet selected Alessandri to serve as head of the Council of State. Alessandri ran afoul of Pinochet when he opposed the latter's desire to rule as a dictator and to use piecemeal measures to replace the old 1925 constitution. Believing that a return to constitutional rule was more democratic and would improve Chile's international image, Alessandri called for either revising the existing 1925 constitution or, failing that, writing a new constitution, which a national plebiscite would approve. Anxious to remain in power, Pinochet rejected Alessandri's proposition, which would have limited the junta to a single five-year term and mandated elections to seat a new congress and to select a new president. When Pinochet refused to accept his suggestions, the incorruptible Alessandri resigned his position on the Council of State.

See alsoChile: The Twentieth Century .


Collier, Simon, and William F. Sater. A History of Chile, 1808–2002, 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Stallings, Barbara. Class Conflict and Economic Development in Chile, 1958–1973. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1978.

                                            William Sater