Thorbecke, Jan Rudolf (yän rōˈdôlf tôrˈbĕkə) [key], 1798–1872, Dutch statesman. An eminent jurist and the leading liberal politician of his day, he was one of the men appointed in 1848 by King William II to revise the constitution. Thorbecke was largely responsible for the final revision, which increased the power of the States-General and reduced that of the king. He served (1849–52) as the first constitutional premier of the Netherlands and was twice more premier (1862–66, 1871–72). He gave Catholics equal rights with Protestants, extended the electorate, removed trade restrictions, and initiated projects for the construction of canals for reclaiming land from the sea.
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