Decoud, José Segundo (1848–1909)

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Decoud, José Segundo (1848–1909)

José Segundo Decoud (b. 1848; d. 4 March 1909), Paraguayan statesman. Born into a prominent Asunción family, Decoud began his studies in the Paraguayan capital before moving on to the Colegio Nacional of Concepción del Uruguay, in Argentina. At the beginning of the 1860s, he transferred to the University of Buenos Aires, where he studied law. At the beginning of the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864, Decoud joined with his brother Juan Francisco and other Paraguayan exiles to found the Legión Paraguaya, a military unit that fought with the Argentines against Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López. An ardent Liberal, Decoud was anxious to see a constitutional regime established in Paraguay. When the secret clauses of the Triple Alliance treaty were published, however, he denounced the territorial claims they made against Paraguay and resigned his position in the legión.

After the war, Decoud returned to Asunción, where he became editor of La Regeneración and a key member of the 1870 Constitutional Convention. Annoyed by in-fighting among the Liberals, he supported the rise of Conservative Cándido Bareiro and, later, of generals Bernardino Caballero and Patricio Escobar. From 1879 until the end of the century, he was a member of every cabinet except one and was generally regarded as the most influential politician in the country throughout this time. He provided the ideological argument behind Paraguayan conservatism, formulating the original party platform when the Caballeristas organized the Asociación Nacional Republicana (or Colorado Party) in 1887.

Decoud was also active in diplomatic and educational affairs. He attempted at one point to create new colegios nacionales in several communities of the interior, but his plans were vetoed at the last moment. His fluency in many languages and his superb private library made him the focus of much intellectual interest, not only for Paraguayans but also for foreign visitors to the Platine countries.

See alsoParaguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party .


Harris G. Warren, Rebirth of the Paraguayan Republic: The First Colorado Era, 1878–1904 (1985), passim; Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985), pp. 195-197.

Additional Bibliography

Lewis, Paul H. Political Parties and Generations in Paraguay's Liberal Era, 1869–1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.

Martínez, Ofelia, and Mary Monte. Dios proteja destino patria: las concepcioneras de 1901. Asunción: Centro de Documentación y Estudios, 1999.

Pesoa, Manuel. José Segundo Decoud, estadista del Partido Colorado. Asunción, 1979.

                                  Thomas L. Whigham