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FOR OVER 100 years (from the mid-1800s to 1966), the Conservative and Liberal parties represented the right in Chile. The Conservative Party formed in 1857, primarily to defend the Catholic Church from anticlerical attacks by the liberals. It remained a staunch supporter of the church and Spanish traditions, as well as the political expression of the large landowners who dominated agricultural production in Chile's Central Valley. The Liberal Party drew on key tenets of British liberal philosophy; it sought to modernize Chile by undermining the power and moral authority of the church and by promoting democratic freedoms and civil liberties.

Since the Liberal Party reflected the political perspective and economic demands of both urban industrialists and the commercial sector, it did not apply these liberal ideals ...

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