Becoming a patrician: Alejandro Galvis Galvis and the Liberal Party in Santander, 1915-1931
This dissertation examines the earlier career and intellectual formation of the liberal colombian politician Alejandro Galvis Galvis (1891-1981). To do so, it situates his biography within the context of the long history of economic modernization in the department of Santander. At the end of the colonial period, Santander was an agricultural society of small farmers and artisans; over the nineteenth century, the state transitioned to a coffee-growing region dominated by elite landowners and merchant families who facilitate export-led growth. By the early twentieth century, increasing industrialization and cyclical collapse of the export market had created new openings for social and political change.During the first two decades of his political career, Alejandro Galvis Galvis helped to transform Santander into a laboratory of reformist ideas. Indeen, Santander was one of the first regions of Colombia to witness worker movements during the second decade of the twentieth century. Although he is often portrayed as a privileged and distant oligarch, this study suggests that Galvis Galvis in fact had a populist approach to politics. As the leader of the liberal party, he was in close contact with the peasants, workers, and artisans that formed the base of the party in Santander. This approach would be implemented on a national scale after the Liberal Party took power in Colombia in 1930, particularly under President Alfonso Lopez Pumarejo between 1934 and 1938.
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