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Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The Primera Junta Nacional de Gobierno (First National Government Junta), under the initiative of nine Creoles, organized the first government in 1810 by calling the people to join the first town council. The most important contributions that created the nation were to make economic decisions to develop commerce with adjacent territories and to call to form the first national congress in 1811.

Once the first congress was established, the Appealing and the Supreme Judiciary Tribunal were organized. However, the Congress' magnum contribution, in terms of justice and legislation, was to abolish slavery and to establish libertad de vientre (freedom of birth); this decision made Chile the third country in the world that eliminated such practice.

The first Provisional Constitution of 1812 was formed by 28 articles. Among them, the most important article declared the king of Spain a symbolic figure with no legal or political power over the Chilean territory.

A series of wars followed the political movement and kept the monarchic Spain rejecting the idea of losing the territory. The Constitution of 1818 broke the last ties with Spain, eliminating nobility titles that were granted by the monarchy to subjects born in Chile. This regulation was the first step towards a more egalitarian society.

The Constitution of 1828 contributed significantly to the separation of state from the church. The religious orders in the country lost their privileges, acquiring organizational status as many other secular ones, their extensive land properties were partially confiscated, and taxes were imposed by the government on the properties they conserved.

The most solid Chilean Constitution was that of 1833. It was in force for over ninety years. The authors of this constitution were a group of jurists, scholars, and intellectuals whose dedication organized the government of the country systematizing and articulating many aspects in detail.

The Constitution of 1925 was elaborated during a period of power struggle between civilians and the military. This time, the Comisión Consultiva (Advisory Committee) represented by different political parties and institutions was in charge of writing the document. The separation of state from church and social protection and welfare to all citizens were stipulated among many other contributions to solidify a democratic nation.

The Constitution of 1980 was promulgated under the dictatorial government of General Pinochet. His reign was an era characterized by increasing the budget for defense while reducing it for social welfare and education. This regime has been well known for the interference with educators and educational institutions such as universities, and other centers. Public education suffered the most serious deterioration of the century. As a consequence of declaring secondary and higher education a "situation of privilege" and contrary to the precept of universal education, dropout rates dramatically raised, inversely, performance and retention dropped in the country.

The three elected presidents who succeeded the dictatorship have been experienced politicians who in an agreement with a coalition of parties advocated to recover education in all its aspects as well as social benefits for the constituents. Former presidents Aylwin and Frei Ruiz-Tagle represented Christian Democrats, while President Lagos became the second socialist elected president in the history of Chile. These three governments have exercised moderation in their missions and have recovered respect in the international context lost during the dictatorship.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceChile - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Nonformal Education