Pardo y Lavalle, Manuel (1834–1878)

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Pardo y Lavalle, Manuel (1834–1878)

Manuel Pardo y Lavalle (b. 9 August 1834; d. 16 November 1878), Peru's first full-term civilian president (1872–1876).

Son of the famed conservative writer Felipe Pardo, he was educated in Chile, Lima, and the universities of Barcelona and Paris. He returned to Peru in 1853 to launch a career in commerce and writing. His essays gained him a reputation as a champion of Peruvian nationalism. Already wealthy and well connected from ventures in banking, insurance, and commerce, he served as minister of the treasury in 1866, when guano was controlled by national merchants and the government borrowed heavily in Europe to fight a war with Spain (1864–1866). Two years later he served as president of the prestigious Lima Public Beneficence Society. After a brief, successful term as mayor of Lima (1869–1870), Pardo, a founder of the Civilista Party, was elected president in 1872 by the national electoral college. As president, Pardo sought to institute a program of reduced military expenditure, decentralization of government, restriction of clerical involvement in government, expanded public education, and state-planned economic development.

To carry out these plans under curtailed government spending, Pardo severely cut back the size of government bureaucracy and the army. In the meantime, the government raised taxes and printed paper money. In education, Pardo created public vocational schools, including one for indigenous youth, and founded national colleges to train teachers (men and women), miners, and engineers. New faculties of political and administrative sciences were established at the National University of San Marcos. He also organized a civilian national guard to counterbalance the professional army.

Pardo stepped down in favor of a military candidate in 1876, when party leaders were convinced that political anger was centered on the military; the purpose was to calm the military's fears of political isolation. This tactic did not stem the growing antagonism between the followers of Nicolás de Piérola and the Civilistas. Rebellions by both groups were barely suppressed, and in this tense atmosphere an embittered army sergeant blamed his failure to win a promotion on Pardo. The sergeant assassinated the former president, and his partisans long afterward blamed the assassination on Piérola, who in the days before the murder had delivered a series of bitter anti-Pardo speeches.

See alsoPeru, Political Parties: Civilista Party .


Alfredo Moreno Mendiguren, Manuel Pardo y Lavalle (1961).

Paul Gootenberg, Imagining Development: Economic Ideas in Peru's "Fictitious Prosperity" of Guano, 1840–1880 (1993).

Alfonso W. Quiroz, Domestic and Foreign Finance in Modern Peru, 1850–1950: Financing Visions of Development (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Leiva Viacava, Lourdes. Nicolás de Piérola. Lima: Editorial Brasa, 1995.

McEvoy, Carmen. Un proyecto nacional en el siglo XIX: Manuel Pardo y su vision del Perú. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1994.

                                        Vincent Peloso

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Pardo y Lavalle, Manuel (1834–1878)

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