Brum, Baltasar (1883–1933)

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Brum, Baltasar (1883–1933)

Baltasar Brum (b. 18 June 1883; d. 31 March 1933), president of Uruguay (1919–1923). Brum was one of the most prominent politicians in the country from 1913 to 1933. As well as president of Uruguay, he was president of the National Council of Administration from 1929 to 1931 and served as minister of public education (1913–1915) and of foreign affairs (1914–1915).

The son of landowners of Brazilian origin, he subscribed to the beliefs of Batllism, specifically to its reformist tendencies. He began his political career young and by the age of thirty was minister of education. He was the first president to govern under the system of a collegial executive branch consisting of the president and the National Council of Administration, which had been approved in 1917. During his administration legislation for the benefit of the working class was promoted on issues such as a minimum wage for rural laborers, social security, workplace safety, weekly time off, and an attempt at regulating labor practices regarding women and children.

Brum's administration was followed by River-ista leaders who represented the conservative wing of the Colorado Party. Batllism regained the presidency in 1931 with the election of Gabriel Terra, although he was more conservative than the original Batllistas. Brum belonged to the National Council of Administration, which confronted the president on more than one occasion. When Terra assumed dictatorial powers in 1933, Brum committed suicide in public as a symbolic gesture, even though his personal liberty was not at stake.


Juan Carlos Welker, Baltasar Brum: Verbo y acción (1945).

Gerardo Caetano and Raúl Jacob, El nacimiento del terrismo, vol. 3 (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Filartigas, Juan M. Baltasar Brum, el colegialista. Montevideo: s.n., 1954.

Laddaga, Reinaldo. La euforia de Baltasar Brum. Buenos Aires: Tusquets Editores, 1999.

Manini Ríos, Carlos. Una nave en la tormenta: Una etapa de transición, 1919–1923. Montevideo: s.n., 1972.

                                       Fernando Filgueira