Intelectuales liberales relevantes frente a la cuestión social en Chile (1890-1920): una minoría a favor del cambio

  • Nancy Nicholls Lopeandía Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Palabras clave: La revista no contemplaba “Palabras clave” para los artículos incluidos en este año de publicación


This article deals with the liberal intellectual élite in late 19th and early 20th century Chile, and its attitude to the "social question" which developed during this period. Through a prosopographical study of a sample of thirteen intellectuals and an analysis of their principal theoretical propositions, it is possible to establish their attitude towards the social question, the policies they proposed for solving these problems and the degree of their influence and access to political power in order to apply their policies. The article concludes that these intellectuals were engaged in numerous other activies besides teaching and writing, such as journalism, their profession and, most important, politics. That is why they were effectively inserted in the society of their age; they exerted considerable influence on public opinión wielded political power, especially in parliamentary circles. As regards the "social question" they realised that the problem was inminent or existed already in Chile. Under the circumstances, they were ready to adopt the theories formulated in Europe by social liberalism, academic socialism and solidarianism, to temper the classical liberalism reigning in Chile, based on market forces and opposed to state intervention in social matters. These intellectuals also initiated social legislation in Chile through their role in Congress, thus applying their ideas to specific policies. On a prívate level, they engaged in philanthopic activities, welfare and popular education, which complemented their role as social reformers at a local level.