Union Society of Artisans

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Union Society of Artisans

The Union Society of Artisans (Sociedad Unión de Artesanos), a labor organization, culminated twenty years of political activities by Bogotá's artisans during the liberal reform era. Founded in 1866 in the aftermath of the 1859–1862 civil war, amidst a serious economic recession, it attempted to forge a nonpartisan alliance of artisans. Membership in the society ranged from perhaps 300 to 500 artisans during its first year, before partisan upheaval caused by Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera's abortive coup divided the organization. The society finally dissolved after the November 1868 overthrow of the Cundinamarcan state government. The society's newspaper, La Alianza (The Alliance), articulated an ideology of artisan republicanism, based in part on a labor theory of value. It advocated the return to centralized government, a restitution of clerical temporal authority, a biparty government, and protection of native industries. José Leocadio Camacho, Antonio Cárdenas, Saturnino González, and Felipe Roa Ramírez were the most visible leaders of the society.

See alsoLabor Movements .


David Sowell, The Early Colombian Labor Movement: Artisans and Politics in Bogota, 1832–1919 (1992).

Additional Bibliography

Gaviria Liévano, Enrique. El liberalismo y la insurrección de los artesanos contra el librecambio: Primeras manifesta-ciones socialistas en Colombia. Bogotá: Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, 2002.

Mayor Mora, Alberto. Cabezas duras y dedos inteligentes: Estilo de vida y cultura técnica de los artesanos colombianos del siglo XIX. Colombia: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura, 1997.

                                         David Sowell

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Union Society of Artisans