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country had fallen into the hands of boards, or "juntas," more or less self-constituted, in which neither Chile nor any other country of America had representation.

The Chileans, as a rule, sympathized with the captive King, and resented the outrage perpetrated by France upon him and upon Spain; but the most important question, How were they to be governed during the King's captivity? arose at once in their minds and deeply engaged their attention. No one thought for a moment, at least in the beginning of the movement, of separating Chile from Spain; but the majority of the people pronounced themselves in favor of giving to their country an autonomic government, to be administered by a junta” composed of leading citizens, whose authority should be exercised temporarily, and, as it might be said, in trust, until the King should recover his liberty.

This scheme created at once two parties, whose aims and aspirations became irreconcilable. One of these, called “The Spanish party,” and popularly “ The Goths” (los godos), consisting chiefly of government employees and native Spaniards, advocated no change and recognized the authority of the "juntas” established in Spain. The other, called “ The Chilean party,” popularly known among its followers as the party of the “patriots,' and among its opponents as the party of the rebels,” consisting of native Chileans and supported by the municipal council of Santiago and the leading families of Chile, repudiated all connection with the Spanish juntas and insisted upon having a “junta” of its own, to be known by the name of Junta Nacional de Gobierno. The situation which ensued as a consequence of these conflicting views and of the efforts of each party to cause its plans to prevail, became critical when the announcement was made that King FERDINAND himself had ordered from his captivity that the authority of the French Regency established in Spain should be obeyed, and culminated in riotous demonstrations, hard measures of repression, and in the end the resignation of the Captain-General.

Shortly afterwards, September 18; 1810, the programme of the patriots was carried into effect and the "Junta de Gobierno" was actually established. It began by proclaiming its allegiance to Spain and recognizing the authority of the King; but it hastened at the same time to abolish the position of Captain-General, to organize military forces, to open Chilean ports to free commerce with all nations (a. measure which quadrupled in a single year the customs receipts of the country), and to order an election of representatives of the people, to be held on April 11, 1811, so as to permit a National Congress to meet on July 4, 1811, and provide what might be deemed conducive to the good of the country.

One of the first measures which this Congress took, as soon as it assembled, was the abolition of slavery. It also abolished the "audiencia,” and established in its place a court of appeals. It appointed a committee entrusted with the duty to prepare and submit in due time a draft of a constitution for Chile. It ordered that the “Junta” should continue in the discharge of all the duties of the Executive. And, finally, it enacted what may be called with reason the first Chilean constitutional charter, which consisted of a set of nineteen “Rules for the temporary organization of the Executive authority in Chile” (Reglamento para el arreglo de la autoridad ejecutiva provisoria de Chile), promulgated on August 14, 1811.

One year thereafter (October 27, 1812) a further step was taken by the promulgation of a new constitutional statute, under the title of Provisional Constitutional Regulations (Reglamento ConstitucionaProvisorio). This code, consisting of twenty-seven articles, recog? nized the authority of King FERDINAND, but required him to accept the Spanish Constitution as well as the Chilean when promulgated.

In 1813 the text of the instrument, which the Congress of 1811 had ordered a committee to frame and submit, was published by its author, Don JUAN EGAÑA, but no official action was taken on it.

In 1814 a change in the Government was considered necessary, and the Executive authority was taken away from the Junta de Gobierno and vested in an official to be called “Supreme Director” (Director Supremo). An "Advisory Senate” (Senado consultivo) was created to assist the Director Supremo" in conducting the business of the State.


The defeat of the Chilean patriots at Rancagua on the 2d of October, 1814, put an end to this situation. That reverse inaugurated in Chile, as has been stated, the period of its history which is known by the name of Reconquista española (Spanish reconquest). It lasted two years and four months, and during this time constitutional aspirations were suspended.


On the 12th of February, 1817, the “Liberating. Army of the Andes," secured at Chacabuco a brilliant victory which turned the scales in favor of the Chileans. On the 1st of January following (1818) Supreme Director O'Higgins issued the formal proclamation of the independence of Chile. On the 12th of February following he published also the quite extensive and interesting document which he called "Manifest to all nations on the motives which justify the revolution and the declaration of independence of Chile.” On the 5th of April, the battle won at Maipo by the Chilean patriots under the leadership of General San Martin made independence a reality, broke the power of Spain in Chile, and put an end to Spanish rule.

One month thereafter General O'HIGGINS issued a “Manifesto to the people who form the State of Chile," and appointed a committee of seven citizens to prepare a temporary Constitution for the Republic.

About this time a commissioner of the United States of America, Mr. THEODORIC BLAND, arrived in Santiago. The Washington Government, which up to this time had observed strict neutrality in the contest between Spain and her revolted colonies, giving each belligerent “the rights of equal parties,” thought it proper to send to South America three commissioners (Mr. John GRAHAM, Mr. C. A. RODNEY, and Mr. THEODORIC BLAND) with instructions to investigate the situation. The commissioners left on board the U. S. frigate The Congress on December 4, 1817, and their reports about the countries which they respectively studied, printed from page 213 to 348, and in other places of Volume IV of American State Papers, mentioned elsewhere, will be always read with great interest. Mr. BLAND arrived in Santiago on May 5, 1818, and on his first interview with General O'Higgins, which took place on the 8th, “congratulated him on the late splendid victory at Maipo, which had freed his country from its foreign foes.” He remained in Santiago until the 10th of July. According to him, O'Higgins did not seem to be much in favor of the idea of holding Congresses, as, in his opinion, all the troubles in Mexico and Buenos Aires were due to their Congresses. Mr. BLAND says that he suggested to the Supreme Director the advisability of causing the Government to be organized on a popular basis.

a English translations of this document, and of all the others mentioned in these Notes, can be found in Volume IV of that most valuable collection printed in Washington, in 1834, entitled “American State Papers.”

The Constitution prepared by the committee appointed, as has been stated, by General O'HIGGINS, was published on August 10, 1818, and submitted to popular vote in the manner which was considered practicable at that time. Two registers were opened in every city and town of importance in the Republic, and the people who were in favor of approving the Constitution signed their names in one of them, while those who were opposed to it signed their names in the other. As no signature appeared in the latter register, Director O'HIGGINS declared on October 23, 1818, that the Constitution had been approved.

In the month of January, 1822, the Government of the United States of America recognized Chile as an independent nation. The first American minister accredited to Santiago was Mr. HEMAN ALLEN, appointed minister plenipotentiary on January 27 of the same year. The first Chilean minister accredited to Washington was Don JOAQUÍN CAMPINO, who came as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, and presented his credentials on March 6, 1828.

On August 8, 1828, a new “National Political Constitution” was promulgated, but under a law passed on October 1, 1831, a “Great National Convention” was called to meet for the purpose of reforming it. On May 25, 1833, the constitution then framed went into effect, which Constitution, as amended to June 26, 1893, is now in force.



AROSEMENA, JUSTO. Estudios constitucionales sobre los gobiernos de la América

latina. Paris. 1878. CARRANZA, ARTURO B. Digesto constitucional americano. Buenos Aires. 1900. CARRASCOS ALBANO, MANUEL. Comentarios sobre la constitución política de 1833.

Santiago. 1874. ROLDÁN, ALCIBIADES. Las primeras asambleas nacionales. Santiago. 1890. VICUÑA-MACKENNA, BENJAMÍN. Vida del Capitán General de Chile Don Bernardo

O'Higgins. Santiago: 1882.


(As promulgated May 25, 1833, and amended up to June 26, 1893.)

En el nombre de Dios Todopo- In the name of Almighty God, deroso, Creador y Supremo Legis- the Creator and Supreme Law of lador del Universo.

the Universe. La Gran Convención de Chile The Great Convention of Chile llamada por la ley del primero de called upon by the law of Octooctubre de mil ochocientos treinta ber first, eighteen hundred and y uno á reformar ó adicionar la thirty-one, to amend the Political Constitución Política de la Nación, Constitution of the Nation, propromulgada en ocho de agosto de mulgated on the eighth of August, milochocientos veintiocho, después eighteen hundred and twentyde haber examinado este Código, y eight, after having examined that adoptado de sus instituciones las code, adopted those of its proque ha creído convenientes para la visions believed to be conducive to prosperidad y buena administra- the prosperity and good governción del Estado, modificando y ment of the State, modified and suprimiendo otras, y añadiendo las suppressed other provisions, and que ha juzgado asimismo oportu- added some new ones deemed esnas para promover tan importante pecially suitable to promote the fin, decreta que quedando sin efecto same important end, decrees that todas las disposiciones allí con- all previous constitutions are retenidas, sólo la siguiente es la Cons- pealed and that the following shall titución política de la República be the political Constitution of the chilena.

Republic of Chile:




ARTÍCULO 1. El Gobierno de ARTICLE 1. The Government of Chile es popular representativo. Chileis popularand representative.

ART. 2. La República de Chile ART. 2. The Republic of Chile es una é indivisible.

is one and indivisible. ART. 3. La soberanía reside

ART. 3. The sovereignty is esencialmente en la Nación que de- vested essentially in the Nation, lega su ejercicio en las autoridades which delegates its exercise to the que establece esta Constitución. authorities established by this Con



RELIGION ART. 4. La religión de la Re- ART. 4. The religion of the República de Chile es la Católica public of Chile is the Roman CathoApostólica Romana, con exclusión fic Apostolic, to the exclusion of del ejercicio público de cualquiera the public exercise of any other.a otra.


a Amended July 27, 1865. See Annex No. 1, page 248.

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1o. Los nacidos en el territorio 1. Those born within the terride Chile.

tory of Chile. 2o. Los hijos de padre ó madre 2. The children of Chilean father chilenos, nacidos en territorio ex- or mother born in foreign territranjero, por el solo hecho de tory, by the sole fact of becoming avecindarse en Chile. Los hijos domiciled in Chile. The children de chilenos nacidos en territorio of Chileans born in foreign terriextranjero, hallándose el padre en tory, while the father is in the acactual servicio de la República, son tual service of the Republic, are chilenos aún para los efectos en Chileans for all intents and purque las leyes fundamentales, ó poses, even those for which the funcualesquiera otras, requieran naci- damental laws, or any others, remiento en el territorio chileno. quire nativity in Chilean territory.

3o. Los extranjeros que habiendo 3. Foreigners who, having reresidido un año en la República sided one year in the Republic, declaren ante la municipalidad del declare before the municipal auterritorio en que residen su deseo thorities of the district in which de avecindarse en Chile y soliciten they reside their desire to become carta de ciudadanía.

domiciled in Chile, and ask for

papers of naturalization. 4o. Los que obtengan especial 7. Those who have obtained an gracia de naturalización por el especial grant of naturalization by Congreso.

an act of Congress. ART. 6. A la municipalidad del ART. 6. The power to declare Departamento de la residencia de that persons who have not been los individuos que no hayan nacido born in Chile are entitled to naten Chile, corresponde declarar si uralization under clause 3 of the están ó no en el caso de obtener preceding article, belongs to the naturalización con arreglo al inciso municipality of the department of tercero del artículo anterior. En their residence. Upon the favorvista de la declaración favorable able declaration of the municipalde la municipalidad respectiva, elity the President of the Republic Presidente de la República expe- shall issue the proper naturalizadirá la correspondiente carta de tion papers. naturaleza.

ART. 7. Son ciudadanos activos ART. 7. No one shall be a Chilcon derecho de sufragio los chile- ean citizen entitled to vote, who nos que hubieren cumplido vein- has not reached the age of twentytiun años de edad, que sepan leer y one years, can not read and write, escribir y estén inscritos en los and has not been duly inscribed registros electorales del departa- in the electoral register of the demento.

partment. Estos registros serán públicos y These registers shall be open to durarán por el tiempo que deter- the public for the period fixed by mine la ley.

law. Las inscripciones serán conti- The time for the registration nuas y no se suspenderán sino shall not be interrupted, nor shall en el plazo que fije la ley de elec- it be suspended except during the ciones.

period fixed in the electoral law.

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