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Frugoni, Emilio (1880–1969)

Frugoni, Emilio (1880–1969)

Emilio Frugoni (b. 30 March 1880; d. 28 August 1969), Uruguayan lawyer, professor, writer, and founder of the Uruguayan Socialist Party. Frugoni promoted Marxist and socialist ideas in highly regarded works such as Socialismo, batllismo y nacionalismo (1928), La revolución del machete (1935), Ensayos sobre marxismo (1936), and Génesis, esencia y fundamentos del socialismo (1947).

Frugoni was a supporter of Colorado Party president José Batlle y Ordóñez, whose first term from 1903 to 1907 marked an end to the country's long civil wars and the beginning of peace, prosperity, and undisputed Colorado control of government. Frugoni supported Batlle's important moral legislation (permitting divorce and ending the death penalty), state enterprises (strengthening of the state-owned Bank of the Republic and the Montevideo Electric Power System), support of labor (police neutrality in strikes and the promotion of an eight-hour work day), public works, and school construction. He also approved of Batlle's opposition to the church and to intransigent conservatism. In 1910 he supported the government against the threat of the "October Revolution" led by Nepomuceno Saravia, son of Aparicio Saravia, the famous Nationalist (Blanco) Party caudillo, and Basilio Muñoz, military commander of the Radicals.

Beginning in 1904 Frugoni promoted the formation of a Socialist Party that would constitute the country's workers as a political force. The Socialist manifesto that he authored in 1910 supported the constitutional order, in contrast to the Anarchists' destabilizing politics. As Socialist deputy to the national congress (1911–1914), he again collaborated with Batlle, who had been elected to a second presidential term, by authoring several important legislative projects aimed at socioeconomic reform on behalf of the working class. Frugoni's Socialist Party never came to rival the country's two traditional parties; it did not attract a significant working-class membership, perhaps due to the successes of Batlle's Colorado Party in implementing the greater part of its social program.

In subsequent years Frugoni was dean of the National University (1933). While serving as Uruguay's ambassador to the Soviet Union (1945–1948), he wrote La esfinge roja (1948), which praised the significant transformations of that nation but raised a voice of alarm about its denial of individual rights in favor of an omnipotent state. Between 1900 and 1959 he published twelve collections of lyrical poetry.

See alsoBatlle y Ordóñez, José; Uruguay, Political Parties: Socialist Party.


Milton I. Vanger, The Model Country: José Batlle y Ordóñez of Uruguay, 1907–1915 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Giudice, Gerardo. Frugoni. Montevideo: Proyección, 1995.

                                        William H. Katra

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