Infante, José Miguel (1778–1844)

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Infante, José Miguel (1778–1844)

José Miguel Infante (b. 1778; d. 9 April 1844), Chilean patriot and politician. Infante played a number of important roles in the Chilean struggle for independence and in its aftermath. As procurador (attorney) of the cabildo (municipal government) of Santiago in 1810, he was active in putting forth the creole case for a national government. At the cabildo abierto (open town meeting) of 18 September 1810, he was given the task of making the keynote speech in favor of this change. He was a member of the first national congress (1811) and of the governing junta (1813–1814). He happened to be in Argentina at the time of the battle of Rancagua (1-2 October 1814), and remained there until 1817. Under Bernardo O'Higgins (1778–1842), Infante was briefly minister of finance (1818). He played one of the more important roles in the events of 28 January 1823, when O'Higgins relinquished power. As a senator in 1823 he was responsible for the law abolishing slavery in Chile.

Infante's moments of greatest influence came in the years 1824–1826, when his now strongly held "federalist" views dominated discussion in the Chilean congress. A federalist constitution, however, was never introduced, and Infante's influence quickly waned. Between 1827 and 1844 he published 206 issues of his own newspaper, El Valdiviano Federal, in which he continued to expound his increasingly dogmatic (and totally unfashionable) federalist views. He was widely respected as a man of great integrity. His death in 1844 made a deep impression on a new generation of Chilean liberals.

See alsoFederalism; Journalism.


Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence, 1808–1833 (1967), chap. 8.

Additional Bibliography

Heise González, Julio. Anos de formacion y aprendizaje politicos, 1810–1833. Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1978.

                                            Simon Collier