In 1963, when Milton Vanger published José Batlle y Ordóñez of Uruguay: The Creator of His Times, 1902 – 1907, he introduced to English-speaking audiences the Uruguayan leader who created the western hemisphere’s first welfare state. Vanger followed up in 1980 with The Model Country, a study of Batllista Uruguay between 1907 and 1911, and a promise to complete later Batlle’s life through 1929. This third study represents yet another thorough examination of Uruguayan domestic politics from Vanger.

Vanger focuses on Batlle’s failed attempt to alter the Uruguayan constitution and implement one of the most far-reaching reforms: the collective executive or Colegiado. Batlle felt, according to Vanger, that the Colegiado “was designed to prevent presidential dictatorship [but that] its fundamental mission would be to carry out an explicit Colorado Party program from which no single elected official . . . could...

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