Alvear, Marcelo Torcuato de (1868–1942)

views updated

Alvear, Marcelo Torcuato de (1868–1942)

Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear (b. 4 October 1868; d. 23 March 1942), Argentine political leader and president (1922–1928). Born into a prominent landed Buenos Aires family, Alvear became involved in the political reform activities of Leandro Alem and the Radical Civic Union (UCR) as a law student at the University of Buenos Aires. Alvear supported the UCR's 1893 uprising, but in the wake of its failure and the UCR's declining fortunes, he undertook a self-imposed exile in Europe and was not present at the time of the Radicals' 1905 rebellion. Despite this, Alvear maintained close contacts with Hipólito Irigoyen and other prominent Radicals and was elected to congress in 1912.

As Irigoyen's ambassador to France (1916–1920), Alvear had his first serious differences with the Radical leader, specifically in his opposition to Argentina's neutrality in World War I. Alarmed by labor protests and the oligarchy's increasing hostility to his government, Irigoyen chose Alvear as his successor, seeing his aristocratic credentials as an asset and his lack of a solid base within the party as leaving him open to manipulation. As president, Alvear tried to solve the problem of the national debt, a legacy, in large part, of Irigoyen's patronage practices.

During Alvear's presidency, Irigoyen's rivals within the UCR organized a separate party, the Antipersonalist Radical Civic Union, though Alvear himself was not a promoter of the antipersonalista movement. After the 1930 coup, he was forced into exile in Brazil but returned to assume control of the party, supporting its policy of electoral abstention until 1935 and then serving as the leader of the Radicals' loyal opposition to the nondemocratic governments of the period, losing as the 1937 Radicals' presidential candidate in an election characterized by widespread fraud.

See alsoArgentina, Political Parties: Radical Party (UCR) .


Félix Luna, Alvear (1974).

David Rock, Politics in Argentina, 1890–1930: The Rise and Fall of Radicalism (1975).

Luis A. Alen Lascano, Yrigoyenismo y antipersonalismo (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Aguirre, Gisela. Marcelo T. de Alvear. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2001.

Cattaruzza, Alejandro. Marcelo T. de Alvear: el compromiso y la distancia. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1997.

                                        James P. Brennan

About this article

Alvear, Marcelo Torcuato de (1868–1942)

Updated About content Print Article