The current ferment of student rebellion and political activism on university campuses throughout the world has attracted widespread attention to the subject of student politics. While campus rebellions may appear to be new in the United States and in many parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, they are old hat in Latin America, where the student-led “University Reform” movement (always written with capital letters) dates from the early twentieth century.

The appearance in recent years of many books and articles dealing with higher education in Latin America has familiarized scholars with many aspects of the University Reform. Unfortunately, however, far too many of these works perpetuate a myth about the alleged Argentine origin of this reform movement. In order to place the University Reform in proper historical perspective an attempt must be made to set the record straight.

The Córdoba myth in its purest form states flatly that the impulse for reform appeared first in the year 1918 at the University of Córdoba, quickly affected other Argentine universities, and then spread to other Latin American countries. Frequent references to the “explosion” at Córdoba give the impression that the movement sprang suddenly to life without historical preparation. Most scholarly descriptions of Córdoba as the cradle of the Reform give Argentina almost exclusive credit (or blame) for creating the movement.

It would be folly, of course, to deny the very important role played by Argentine students in the emergence of the University Reform from 1918 forward. However, if we are to gain a better understanding of the historical nature of the Reform movement, it is necessary to examine the antecedents of the Córdoba revolt. To be sure, some of the better scholarly works allude briefly to events before 1918 and mention international influences,1 but most writings leave the unmistakable impression that the University reform began in 1918 at Córdoba.

Quite typical of American scholars is the statement of political scientist S. Walter Washington that

organized and continuous student participation in politics dates from the second decade of the twentieth century. It started with a manifestation of youth’s idealism and rebellion . . . against a situation created by a popular republican government. In 1917 [sic] the students of the University of Córdoba in Argentina staged a revolt against the then current mixture of politics and academic matters. Since that date student participation in national politics has gone hand in hand with what has been called University Reform.2

In giving continued currency to the Córdoba thesis North American scholars have merely followed the interpretations of most Latin American writers. The Argentines José Ingenieros, Pedro A. Verde Tello, and Alfredo L. Palacios, have all done their part to overemphasize the historical importance of the Córdoba student revolt.3 Outside of Argentina influential writers have long been prone to accept the Córdoba legend. In Peru the prestigious names of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, José Carlos Mariátegui, and Luis Alberto Sánchez reinforced the notion of the primacy of Córdoba in the Reform movement.4 The same notion was popularized in other countries by such noteworthy figures as Germán Arciniegas of Colombia,5 José Pedro Cardoso of Uruguay,6 and Augusto Pi Suñer of Spain.7

Responsibility for the development of the Córdoba myth cannot correctly be attributed to any single individual. However, Gabriel del Mazo, erstwhile reformist student leader, historian, and leader of the Radical Party in Argentina, has probably done more to propagate the Córdoba legend than anyone else. His diligent work in collecting documentary materials related to the University Reform was based on an apparent assumption of Córdoba’s primacy. Moreover, his three-volume publication of the documents, a work of fundamental importance on this subject, indicates the year 1918 in the sub-title as the starting point of the Reform.8 Reinforcing the Argentine thesis is the more recent documentary collection published by the Federación Universitaria de Buenos Aires entitled, significantly, La Reforma Universitaria, 1918-1958.9

Yet a careful reading of either of these documentary collections reveals at least scattered evidence of significant pre-Córdoba developments. For example, Alejandro Korn’s essay “La Reforma Universitaria” refers to an incubation period “of several years” before the Córdoba revolt.10 Similarly a brief article by Sergio Bagú points to the years 1900-1915 as a period that witnessed “the first symptoms” of reformist activity.11

It is to the credit of Gabriel del Mazo that in a book published in 1955 he called attention to reformist activity before 1918 and acknowledged that international student congresses were held in Uruguay, Argentina, and Peru between 1908 and 1912. He noted that the First International Congress of American Students, held in Montevideo in 1908, favored student representation on university governing councils, but he wrongly concluded that neither the congress of Montevideo nor the succeeding student conferences developed an “organic concept” of student representation as an integral part of university reform.12 In thus characterizing the pre-1918 student movement, del Mazo left the Córdoba myth essentially unchallenged.13

Research into South American student activity before 1918 indicates that most of the goals of the “Córdoba Movement” were anticipated by a multi-national reformist movement that developed in the first decade of the twentieth century. Student leaders of Uruguay were most prominent in promoting the exchange of ideas and the discussion of university problems, but Chileans, Peruvians, and Argentines seconded the Uruguayans’ efforts. A full ten years before the Córdoba uprising, South American student leaders set forth in Montevideo a reform program which clearly foreshadowed the vaunted University Reform of later years.

Student unrest and the beginnings of student organization were coming to the surface in several South American countries in the first years of the new century. In Argentina, university students were growing sensitive to national issues such as the struggle between the reformminded Radicals and the conservatives, or the travails of an incipient labor movement. Frequent speeches and lectures of European socialists were not without effect on students. Within the University of Buenos Aires there was restlessness over the domination of policy-making by a small group of professors and deans, whose rule critics characterized as oligarchical. In 1903 students of the Law Faculty went on strike for a year, and two years later medical students followed their example. Among the demands of dissident students were a new system of examinations, a reduction in fees, and a reform in the method of selecting professors. The protests of Argentine youths gained in effectiveness with the appearance of student centers in the Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, and Law between 1900 and 1905.14

Chile, like Argentina, was in political ferment at the turn of the century, as congressional leaders of badly splintered political parties sought to restrict executive powers and maintain the rule of the close-knit wealthy classes of the country. In 1906 Chilean university students demonstrated against the government to protest threatened political intervention in the selection of a new rector, as well as an alleged social affront to medical students by the President and high national officials. Within a few weeks student leaders formed the Student Federation of Chile and expressed their support for the new rector of the University. Although the early activities of the Student Federation related chiefly to the cultural improvement of its members, Chilean students also became involved in a program of university extension which was aimed at helping the working classes of Santiago. As a result of this contact with Chilean workers, university students developed considerable interest in the social problems of their country.15

Peruvian students were less restive than those of Argentine and Chile, but there were faint stirrings of youthful activity in Lima and Arequipa. In the first decade of the twentieth century the Peruvian government launched a drive to expand public educational facilities at a rapid pace. University students were not profoundly affected by the program, but the University of San Marcos did begin to feel some of the winds of change. Luis Miró Quesada, reflecting the awakening of social conscience among students, presented a thesis on “The Modern Social Crisis,” and later wrote a doctoral dissertation on the labor question in Peru.16 Student discontent with various aspects of university life, such as the examination system and teaching methods, found no effective expression until the year 1907. At that time students formed the University Center in response to an invitation from Uruguayan students to participate in an international congress at Montevideo. From 1908 forward, Peruvian students took an active interest in university reform.17

Some of the most important reformist developments of the pre-Córdoba movement occurred in Uruguay, where student leaders as early as 1893 had formed an all-university organization known as the Association of Students. The University of Montevideo,18 unlike the very conservative University of Córdoba, was one of the most modern and progressive institutions of higher learning in Latin America at the turn of the century. Thanks to a series of reforms carried out by the administration—without consulting students—the University acquired new buildings to house the schools of law and medicine, established new Faculties of Mathematics and Commerce, and planned a new Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Science.19

In spite of the many improvements serious student criticism of the University of Montevideo began to appear in the pages of the magazine Evolución, published by the Association of Students. In 1905 the editors of Evolución, speaking for the Association, called for revision of the system of year-end oral examinations, backed demands by law students for curriculum reform, and launched a vigorous attack on the government of the University. The rector and the deans became the target of charges ranging from neglect of duties to arbitrary rule.20 The resignation of the rector in 1906, in the midst of reformist clamor, suggested that student protest was becoming a potent force.21

During the following year student unrest in Montevideo increased. Youthful critics of the University adopted arguments and language that clearly anticipated the post-Córdoba Reform movement. The president of the Association of Students, for example, denounced required attendance as undemocratic and proposed the principle of “freedom of studies” (estudios libres, i.e., no obligatory attendance except in laboratories and practical courses). He argued that freedom of studies would keep the University from becoming the private reserve of “the worst and most insolent of aristocracies.” He also demanded the right of students to elect representatives to the governing councils of the University.22

Student proposals for reform of the University in 1907 came at a time when conditions in Uruguay favored innovation. Four years earlier the dynamic President José Batlle y Ordóñez had ushered in a period of rapid economic development and social-economic reform. The national legislature began to debate controversial measures such as nationalization of the electric power system, legalization of divorce, and a progressive inheritance tax. “Reform” was the watchword of the times. Young students, perceptive, restless, and forward-looking by nature, could not fail to be influenced by the batllista spirit. In 1907 Claudio Williman succeeded to the presidency and vowed to continue Batlie’s progressive program. In particular Williman promised to expand and improve Uruguay’s educational system.23

The Williman administration promptly began work on a bill to reorganize the University. Provisions for drastic decentralization of University administration and elimination of tuition were among the leading features of the Williman regime’s legislative project. At the request of the Association of Students, President Williman and the legislature agreed to permit students to elect alumni as their representatives on the governing councils of the University and of the various faculties.24 Thus in 1908 Uruguayan students won the right of indirect representation in university government, and took the first step toward the acquisition of student power in the academic community.

Even before the passage of the educational reforms of 1908 leaders of the Association of Students had begun to think in terms of holding an international conference to spread the gospel of university reform throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. The idea of an international meeting was prompted in part by the recent participation of Uruguayan students in the activities of a European student organization known as “Corda Fratres” (Fédération Internationale de Étudiantes) which sought to promote student welfare through periodic international congresses.25 But more important than the stimulus received from Europe were the sense of identity with students of the American republics and a desire to improve the condition of university students in the New World. The Uruguayan Association’s announcement of plans to hold the first International Congress of American Students in Montevideo spoke of the solidarity of university youth, of new ties of brotherhood, and even of “youth bleeding in the classrooms.”26 Clearly the students of Montevideo wished to communicate the spirit of youthful insurgency and to disseminate their ideas on university reform. The warm response of Latin American youth to the Uruguayan initiative soon proved that Montevideo’s student leaders had judged the times correctly.

Student representatives from all nations of the hemisphere received invitations to attend the Congress of 1908, the dates of which were fixed for January 26 to February 2. A hundred and thirteen students came from seven South American countries, comprising 85 percent of the land area of the continent. Directly represented by their own delegates were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In addition, Uruguayan students served as proxies for Cuba and Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras, while students from three universities in the United States sent messages of sympathy and support.27 The roster of delegates was heavily loaded with the names of future luminaries in the fields of education, diplomacy, and politics, including three national presidents.28

The discussions held and resolutions adopted by the Congress reveal that a continental movement of university reform was in the making a full decade before the famed revolt of Córdoba. Uruguayan students unquestionably contributed most to the work of the Congress, but Peruvians, Chileans, Brazilians, and Argentines brought new ideas and important perspectives on university problems. Thirty-nine students from neighboring Argentina were present representing thirteen organized and active student centers in Buenos Aires, La Plata, and Rosario. Recent student strikes and unrest in Argentina made student leaders of that country quite vocal at the congress. Although Peruvians attended in smaller numbers, they were no less outspoken than the Argentines. Members of the Centro Universitario of Lima and the Centro de Instrucción of Arequipa made noteworthy contributions to the meeting. Chilean delegates, three in number, reflected the ferment of ideas current in the newly formed Student Federation of Chile.

The Montevideo Congress quickly became a forum for lively and broad-ranging debate of educational problems. The demand for student participation in university government was an issue that excited great interest among the delegates. Baltasar Brum, delegate of Uruguay and future President of his nation, offered a resolution endorsing “student representation on university governing councils by means of delegates named directly by the students and subject to re-election as frequently as possible.” Brum argued that such a reform would improve higher education by forcing the authorities to heed student opinion. Student representatives on the councils, he said, would eliminate the “sterile struggles” that often weaken universities. Brum concluded with the announcement that President Williman of Uruguay had publicly recommended student representation in the government of the University.29

The response of the Congress to the Uruguayan proposal was enthusiastic. An Argentine delegate declared that the proposed resolution would help his young countrymen achieve their rightful representation in university government, while a Brazilian student seized the occasion to denounce the “incomprehensible tyranny” of professors who “perpetrate a monstrous iniquity” upon students. Víctor Andrés Belaúnde of Peru supported the proposal by reviewing the history of student participation in university government from medieval days till the end of Spanish colonial rule. The Peruvian delegate declared that the demand for a student voice in the governing councils was merely an attempt “to conquer an old and sacred right.”30

By unanimous vote the Congress adopted the Uruguayan resolution on student representation, forerunner of the fundamental reformist concept of cogobierno. There were two interesting recommendations— not formally acted upon—to expand student power beyond the Uruguayan demand. A remarkable report from Arequipa’s Centro de Instrucción, presaging reformist policies of a half-century later, proposed the election of professors for five-year terms (rather than life tenure), and called for student participation in the election. The Peruvian center deplored the “personal pull, politics, and the struggle of religious principles” which often determined the outcome under existing selection procedures. The center also called upon students to punish professors who failed to fulfill their obligations.31 Still more sweeping was the proposal of Delfín Raúl Carballo Araya of Argentina that “student associations be recognized as university councils.”32 This extreme demand for complete student control of academic government was not endorsed by the Montevideo Congress.

The resolution adopted on university government was of lasting importance. Henceforth students throughout Latin America could argue that a congress representing most of the South American continent had voted unanimously for student representation. Endorsement of this principle by the Uruguayan government gave added weight. Reiteration of the policy statement of 1908 by subsequent international student congresses helped make the demand for student representation a central theme of university reform.33

Another important agenda item at the Montevideo Congress was the examination system, a subject which had recently provoked commotions in both Argentina and Uruguay and had stimulated much thought among Peruvian students.34 Discussion of examinations brought forth oratory on a broad variety of aspects of teaching. Students arraigned the lecture system, the sterile emphasis on details (detallismo), and the “despotism of dogmatic textbooks.” Belaúnde of Peru declared that examinations were incompatible with genuine education and proposed either the abolition of the lecture system, or its sharp curtailment in favor of a seminar approach. Belaúnde’s searing criticism of teaching methods struck a strong sympathetic chord in the Congress which adopted resolutions calling for reform in examinations, more emphasis on student research, and special training of professors in teaching techniques.35

Going beyond the theme of examinations, members of the Congress took up problems of curriculum and made a number of proposals for reform that would be echoed time and again in the 1920s and afterwards. For example, a Chilean delegate criticized the narrow and outmoded professionalist curricula of Latin American universities and urged the establishment of “Schools of Political Science” with very broad course offerings to include diplomacy, public finance, political economy, statistics, geography, ethnography, and various types of history. Similarly an Argentine asked that the Congress exhort universities to create faculties of philosophy and letters. Both of these proposals to de-emphasize professionalism and to “humanize” the curriculum were approved by the Congress of 1908.36

A distinct nationalist, or better, a continentalist orientation to student thought could be detected in a number of proposals. The Congress called for teaching “American history” (understood to mean primarily Latin American history) and for the founding of a Pan-American magazine. An anti-Yankee spirit did not pervade the deliberations, but a Brazilian delegate gave a long report on the Monroe Doctrine which castigated the imperialism of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt and denounced the United States’ intervention in Panama.37

Yet another issue which foreshadowed the later University Reform movement was the question of estudios libres, or voluntary attendance. The Uruguayan delegation, while conceding the necessity of obligatory attendance at cursos prácticos (such as laboratories and clinical courses), recommended the elimination of required attendance in all lecture courses. The demand for this reform was based chiefly on economic and social considerations. Regimented attendance at lectures, said the Uruguayans, forced many students of modest means to give up thought of attending the university. Obligatory attendance, ran the argument, promoted social inequality, favored the upper classes, and undermined freedom by depriving the individual of opportunity to rise through his own initiative.38 After brief discussion in which an Argentine Student called for complete freedom of attendance even in cursos prácticos, the Congress approved the Uruguayan proposal for estudios libres.39

Student welfare was another concern of the delegates in Montevideo. Approved were proposals favoring special discounts for university youth, government scholarships for travel, and student residence halls (casas para estudiantes).40 The desire for residence halls was noteworthy in that it related to students whose homes were not located in the large university cities, and its fulfillment would open new opportunities to the youth of the interior.

One of the most significant recommendations approved by the Congress of 1908 came from Chilean students, who urged the establishment of university extension services throughout Latin America. The purpose of this proposal was to put the university’s resources at the disposal of the working classes. As one delegate put the matter, university extension would replace the stuffy “professionalism of the frock coat” with the “shirt of the working man.” The experience of the University of Chile showed that lectures could be directed to the interests and the educational level of the workers and that close cooperation with labor leaders was essential. In this way the universities could improve workers’ lives and help solve pressing social problems.41 The recommendation of university extension was the germinal idea of the “social mission” of the university which came to play such an important role in the later Reform movement. In later years the development of university extension and of “people’s universities” (universidades populares) under the auspices of student associations tended to link student leaders with labor unions and to direct the student movement toward leftist political action.

The rise of labor union activity in Latin America at the turn of the century and the emergence of radical ideologies had by 1908 begun to exercise a mild influence over the student leaders assembled in Montevideo. Although the delegates did not seek to champion any radical working-class cause at that time, some of the youths revealed in their language that they were thinking of their student organizations as analogous to labor unions. Repeated references to the “student union” (gremio estudiantil), “the student masses,” “the student class,” and “the intellectual proletariat” showed that some of the delegates were thinking in terms of class conflict within the university.42

Political radicalism, however, lay in the future. Delegates at the Montevideo Congress shunned talk of revolution and spoke instead of their faith in liberal, democratic principles.43 The dominant philosophical influence among student leaders was the positivist thought of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer, with its heavy emphasis on individualism and private enterprise. Thus the Uruguayan delegation was able to win adoption of a resolution calling for the replacement of state universities by private institutions.44

Before completing its week of sessions, the Congress acted to perpetuate its work. To give a continuous thrust to the student movement the Congress of 1908 created a League of American Students, chose a Uruguayan as its first president, and planned to publish a magazine with news of the League’s activities.45 The League of American Students was active for at least four years and succeeded in sponsoring two international congresses, one in Buenos Aires (1910) and another in Lima (1912).46

Thus it can be seen that the work of the International Congress of American Students was creative, thorough, and enduring.47 The achievements of the Congress were many. By bringing together students of many Latin American countries, it helped to create a new sense of student identity through the sharing of common concerns and experiences. The Congress focused attention on alleged evils of the university system, and stimulated an exchange of opinions regarding possible solutions. The result was the formulation of a comprehensive program of university reform, the chief components of which were: (1) attainment of student power through representation in university government; (2) student participation in the selection of professors, with the suggestion that professors serve five-year, renewable terms; (3) elimination of required attendance as far as possible; (4) improvement of teaching methods and revision of the examination system with new emphasis on student research in seminar-type classes; (5) broadening and modernizing the curriculum to include new fields in the humanities and social sciences; (6) establishment of university extension to link the university with society, especially with the working classes; and (7) increased concern for student welfare through the establishment of student residence halls, travel fellowships, and special student discounts. To this list should be added the controversial (and ephemeral) proposal to abolish state universities and to replace them with private institutions, a proposal which provoked vigorous debate and did not kindle general enthusiasm.

If we compare the basic ideas that emerged from the Congress of 1908 (and which continued to be discussed in subsequent congresses) with the goals of the University Reform of later years, it can be seen that the ideas of the “Córdoba movement” constituted no more than a refinement and evolution of the program elaborated in the Montevideo Congress. A review of the demands of Argentine students in 1918 shows that their chief aspirations were as follows: (1) Representation of students, along with alumni and professors, on university councils (a slight modification of the 1908 position through the addition of alumni); (2) selection of professors by competition with student participation, professors to serve limited terms subject to review (same as 1908); (3) complete elimination of required attendance (somewhat more comprehensive than the resolution of 1908); (4) curriculum reform to include new courses in art, physical education, and social science (about the same as 1908); (5) improvement of the quality of teaching by means of docencia libre, i.e., more than one professor teaching one course (the goal of improved teaching identical to that of 1908, but to be achieved by a different means); (6) university extension and night courses for workers (same as in 1908, but with new emphasis); (7) social welfare for students (concept broadened somewhat over 1908 position); and (8) university education without fees or tuition (a new item, except for the example set by the University of Montevideo in 1908).48

It is apparent that the students of 1908 anticipated almost the entire reform program set forth by the Argentines ten years later. Innovative items of the 1918 program were surprisingly small both in number and importance. The simple truth of the matter is that the University Reform was not the creation of a single year (1918, as tradition has it) or of a single nation (Argentina). It emerged gradually over a period of decades as a joint effort of students of many South American countries.

The content of the University Reform in terms of goals and aspirations continued to develop after the Córdoba revolt. The principle of university autonomy, which was not pressed in 1918 by students who sought intervention by the Argentine government, became a fundamental goal in the course of the 1920s and the 1930s.49 The social mission of the university and of student organizations also received much greater attention in the late 1920s and the 1930s. This was the case most particularly in Peru and Uruguay where dynamic student leaders established “people’s universities” to carry education to the laboring classes. But increasing emphasis on social action was the general rule among all Latin American student movements.50 Another significant development of the post-Córdoba decades was the appearance of a vigorous anti-imperialist campaign, which was almost exclusively anti-Yankee and which became increasingly anti-capitalist.51 Emphasis of the Reform on social action and anti-imperialism imbued the student movements in the 1930s with a spirit of political radicalism that was absent in 1908 and barely discernible in 1918.

If the basic aspirations for university reform were articulated before 1918 and the tendency toward radical social action came after 1918, one might be tempted to conclude that the revolt at Córdoba was meaningless. Such a conclusion would be unjustified. The sudden burst of student energy released in Argentina quickly kindled an intense passion for university reform throughout the greater part of Latin America. The justly famous Manifesto of Córdoba, couched in the language of revolution, railing against the tyranny of academic mediocrity and alleged Jesuitical treason, and calling for the establishment of a democratic university, gave a new sense of urgency to the reform movement which had been unfolding for almost two decades. Argentine students also rendered the strike an amazingly effective weapon through the occupation of university buildings. Since 1918 the general university strike has advanced the cause of the Reform in most Latin American countries. The dramatic impact of student militancy and the use of violence within the institutions of higher education gave the impression that the University Reform began in Córdoba. Little wonder, then, that the Argentines have so convinced the world.


Particularly Richard J. Walter, in his Student Politics in Argentina: the University Reform and its Effects, 1918-1964 (New York and London, 1968), on p. 23 briefly notes the existence of student unrest in the first decade of the century and refers to this early movement as “an important antecedent to the Córdoba Reform of 1918.” Walter’s recent article “The Intellectual Background of the 1918 University Reform in Argentina,” HAHR, 49:2 (May 1969), 233-253, provides significant material on the intellectual and social context of the Reform, but does not deal with the development of an international, student-backed reform program before 1918.


“The Political Activity of Latin American Students,” in Robert D. Tomasek (ed.), Latin American Politics: Studies of the Contemporary Scene (New York, 1966), p. 120. See a similar statement by sociologist Frank Bonilla in “The Student Federation of Chile,” Journal of Interamerican Studies, 2, No. 3 (1960), 333. Seymour Martin Lipset follows Bonilla uncritically in his “University Students and Politics in Underdeveloped Countries,” Comparative Education Review, 10 No. 2 (June 1966), 145. See also John P. Harrison, “Learning and Politics in Latin American Universities,” Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, 27, No. 1 (May 1960), 331.

Writers on more general topics have understandably followed the lead of the specialists when they speak of the University Reform. See Isabel Rennie, The Argentine Republic (New York, 1945), pp. 211-213; James R. Scobie, Argentina: A City and a Nation (New York, 1964), p. 206; Arthur P. Whitaker, The United States and Argentina (Cambridge, Mass., 1954), p. 74; Harry Bernstein, modern and Contemporary Latin America (Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, 1952), pp. 264-265; John Edwin Fagg, Latin America: A General History (New York and London, 1963), pp. 619-620. Distortion of the origin of the Reform movement is so widespread that a recent study of universities of the entire Western Hemisphere repeats the same clichés about “beginnings in Argentina” and spreading “over all Spanish America.” Harold R. W. Benjamin, Higher Education in the American Republics (New York, London, Sydney, Toronto, 1965), pp. 50-51.


Ingenieros, “La revolución universitaria se extiende ya por toda la América Latina,” in Gabriel del Mazo (comp.), La Reforma Universitaria (3 vols., La Plata, 1941), III, 115 (hereafter cited as del Mazo, Reforma); Verde Tello, “Alcance social de la Reforma Universitaria,” ibid., III, 65-66; Palacios, “La Reforma Universitaria y el problema americano,” ibid., III, 117. See also Palacios’ Espíritu y técnica en la universidad (La Plata, 1943), pp. 114-115.


Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, “La Reforma y la gran lección de la guerra,” del Mazo, Reforma, III, 170, and “El movimiento de los estudiantes de América Latina,” ibid.., III, 171-173; José Carlos Mariátegui, “La Reforma Universitaria,” ibid., III, 187-202; and Luis Alberto Sánchez, “El estudiante, el ciudadano, el intelectual y la Reforma Universitaria americana,” ibid., III, 211-213.


“El estudiante de la mesa redonda,” del Mazo, Reforma, III, 129-130.


“La Reforma Universitaria en el Uruguay,” del Mazo, Reforma, III, 218-219.


“Influencia del movimiento argentino en las universidades españolas,” del Mazo, Reforma, III, 110-112. For Brazilian views see the documents in ibid., II, 203-211. The Córdoba legend seems to have captured French writers as well. See: Jacques Lambert, Latin America: Social Structure and Political Institutions (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1967), p. 226.


Del Mazo, Reforma.


(Buenos Aires, 1959).


Del Mazo, Reforma, III, 15.


“Como se gestó la Reforma Universitaria,” F.U.B.A. (comp.), La Reforma Universitaria, 1918-1958 (Buenos Aires, 1959), pp. 28-29.


Del Mazo, Estudiantes y gobierno universitario (Buenos Aires, 1955), pp. 22-28.


For a somewhat more detailed treatment of the student movement in Argentina before 1918, see Tulio Halperín Donghi, Historia de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 104-129. This work, however, pays no attention to developments outside Argentina.


Halperín Donghi, pp. 104-124; see also Julio V. González, La emancipación de la universidad, contribución al estudio de un nuevo régimen de enseñanza pública superior en la Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1929), pp. 197-240.


Frank Bonilla, “Students in Politics: Three Generations of Political Action in a Latin-American University,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 1959; and Evolución, revista mensual de ciencias y letras (Montevideo), March-June 1908, pp. 267-268.


Jorge Basadre, Historia de la República del Perú (10 vols., Lima, 1961-1964), VII, 3441.


Carlos Enrique Paz Soldán, De la inquietud a la revolución: Diez años de rebeldías universitarias, 1909-1919 (Lima, 1919), pp. 9, 18, 23-25, 30-31, 68-69, and passim; Víctor Andrés Belaúnde, Memorias (3 vols., Lima, 1960-62), II 123-129; and Enrique Cornejo Koster, “Crónica del movimiento estudiantil peruano,” del Mazo, La Reforma, II, 15.


The “University of the Republic” is the official title of Uruguay’s only university, but it is frequently referred to as the “University of Montevideo.”


Arturo Ardao, La Universidad de Montevideo, su evolución histórica (Montevideo, 1950), pp. 67-71, 79-81; and Juan Antonio Oddone and Μ. Blanca París de Oddone, Historia de la Universidad de Montevideo; la Universidad Vieja, 1849-1885 (Montevideo, 1963), pp. 127-129, 267-268.


Evolución, November 10, 1905, pp. 125-126; December 1905, pp. 184-186, 187; March 1906, p. 248; and April 1906, pp. 300-302.


“Crónica universitaria; las franquicias a los estudiantes,” Evolución, September-October 1906, pp. 563-565.


Hector Miranda (President of the Association of Students) Evolución, April 1907, pp. 122-124, and August 1907, p. 337.


Milton I. Vanger, José Batlle y Ordóñez, the Creator of his Times, 1902 1907 (Cambridge, Mass., 1963), especially pp. 261-266; and Efraín González Conzi and Roberto B. Giudice, Batlle y el batllismo (Montevideo, 1959), pp. 154-160, 296-300. For additional evidence of the batllista ferment among Uruguayan students, see “Reorganización universitaria; éxito de la Asociación de los Estudiantes,” Evolución, May 1907, pp. 189-190. Testimony concerning the influence of Batlle upon student reformists around 1917 is contained in a personal interview I held with Hugo Fernández Artuccio (May 8, 1964), a student participant in the early Uruguayan Reform.


“Reorganización universitaria . . . ,” Evolución, May 1907, pp. 189-190, and March-June 1908, p. 101; Uruguay, Ministerio del Interior, Registro nacional de leyes, decretos y otros documentos . . . (1908), (Montevideo, 1910), pp. 802-806; and Ardao, pp. 75-77, 92-93.


“El congreso estudiantil,” Evolución, May 1907, pp. 188-189; speeches by César Miranda and Baltasar Brum, in Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 152-158. Some writers have seen in the “Corda Fratres” a semi-secret organization. (See Halperín Donghi, p. 129, and Walter, Student Politics, p. 34). If its operations in 1918 at Córdoba were mysterious, “Corda Fratres” was anything but secret elsewhere. The Fédération Internationale was founded in 1898 by Italian students. In 1906 student groups in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay sent delegates to a “Corda Fratres” congress in Milan. In 1907 the Association of Students in Montevideo joined the Fédération and sent delegates to a congress in Bordeaux. For more information see Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 152-161.


Justino E. Jiménez de Aréchaga, “El Congreso Internacional de Estudiantes,” Evolución, April 1907, pp. 65-67; “El Congreso de Montevideo,” ibid., May 1907, pp. 187-188.


Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 5-8. This issue of Evolución is a complete report of the proceedings of the Congress. Columbia University, George Washington University, and the University of Michigan were the North American institutions that sent messages of support.


Concerning some of the outstanding delegates, see José Claudio Williman (Arq.), Conmemoración del Primer Congreso Internacional de Estudiantes Americanos (Montevideo, 1961). Future presidents were Manuel Prado Ugarteche of Peru, Nerun de Oliveira Ramos of Brazil, and the tragic Baltasar Brum of Uruguay. Several members of the Uruguayan delegation later rose to cabinet posts and to membership in the Council of Government (Uruguay’s plural executive). Among the most prominent Uruguayans were Roberto Berro, Eduardo Blanco Acevedo, and Carlos Μ. Sorín. Víctor Andrés Belaúnde (Peru), Armando Salas de Oliveira (Brazil), and Juan Luis Ferrarotti (Argentina) were among the delegates who would later distinguish themselves in politics and international affairs. Space does not permit a full listing of the many prominent delegates at the Congress.


Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 98-102.


Ibid., pp. 102-106.


Ibid., pp. 27 and 102.


Ibid., p. 106.


Walter, Student Politics, p. 49; Paz Soldán, pp. 24-25, 30, and 31, n. 2.


Halperín Donghi, 109-121; Julio V. González, La emancipatión de la universidad (Buenos Aires, 1929), pp. 197-214; Evolución, March-June 1908, p. 69; and Belaúnde, Memorias, II, 123-126.


Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 41-67.


Ibid., pp. 274-277. Among other curriculum-related topics discussed at the Congress were the following: “Unificación de los programas y equivalencia de los títulos académicos,” “Especialización y generalización de los estudios preparatorios,” and “Ejercicios físicos y celebración de torneos atléticos internacionales.” Also proposed were courses in history, language, and psychology. Ibid., pp. 80-98, 115-127.


Ibid., pp. 127-130, 171-172, 237-245, and 274.


Ibid., pp. 74-76.


Ibid., pp. 76-80. Note that the position of the Congress against examinations and in favor of more emphasis on student research tended to contradict the position taken on estudios libres. Discussants ignored this contradiction.


Ibid., pp. 107-165 and 208. The proposal for residence halls was made by Enzo Bordabehere of Argentina.


Ibid., pp. 167-169, 267-274. Jorge Cabral, an Argentine delegate, also spoke in favor of university extension. Concerning the continuing influence of the idea of university extension, see Paz Soldán, pp. 32-34 and 110-113.


Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 74-76, 99, 107, et passim.


Oscar Fontecilla of Chile declared that “we go forward by evolution, not by revolution. . . .” Ibid., p. 26.


Ibid., pp. 12-26.


Ibid., pp. 131-149.


“El 20 Congreso de Estudiantes Americanos,” Evolución, August-September 1910, pp. 4-5; and del Mazo, Estudiantes, p. 27.


The Peruvian reformist Carlos Enrique Paz Soldán declared flatly that “The First Student Congress of Montevideo was the spark that inflamed the unrest of the Students of America and of Peru.” Paz Soldán, p. 9.


See documents in del Mazo, La Reforma, I, 1-5 and 45-86. See also del Mazo, Estudiantes, pp. 58-73; and Walter, Student Politics, pp. 49-51.


See documents in del Mazo, La Reforma, I, 228-241. Concerning the early emergence of the issue of university autonomy in Uruguay, see “El proyecto de autonomía,” El estudiante libre (Montevideo), September 11, 1919, and “Las aspiraciones estudiantiles,” ibid., March 31, 1921. The question of university autonomy was mentioned more than once at the Congress of 1908, but it did not attract much attention. In Uruguay President Williman had already pledged himself to respect the autonomy of the University, See Evolución, March-June 1908, pp. 21 and 101.


Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, “Las universidades populares de la Reforma,” del Mazo, La Reforma, II, 59-60; documents in ibid., I, 201-219 and III, 52-58 and 65-68; Mundo uruguayo (Montevideo), May 19, 1938.


See documents in del Mazo, La Reforma, I, 220-227.

Author notes


The author is Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies at California State College, Hayward.