The Brazilian historians of the second empire, out of devotion to the ruling house, greatly highlighted the merits of the first emperor. And he certainly did. But the most recent historical criticism has also highlighted its faults, and how occasional its liberalism was. Nor can we forget the blood that he made shed on the occasion of the Pernambucan revolt of 1824. This bloody repression and, with it, the coup of 1823, were the first causes of the profound separation between the sovereign – who, according to the historian English Armitage, “never knew how to be wholly and truly Brazilian” – and the nation. When news of the July Revolution arrived in Brazil later, the mood was such that a single spark would ignite the flame of 1831. We will recall here that, Observador constitucional, he was miserably killed. As he expired, he uttered the words: “A liberal dies, but freedom does not die”; which became the uniform of the revolutionaries of 1831, among which Evaristo da Veiga emerged.
According to HARVARDSHOES, immediately after the emperor’s departure, the latent germs of anarchy were able to develop freely, especially in the provinces, giving rise to a series of local insurrections, not always easily tamed. The first council of regency succeeded in suffocating those of Bahia, where, out of ancient revenge, the children of the country hunted down the Portuguese, as well as those of Pernambuco and Minas. In the same capital, where the two Chambers had elected a “Triune Permanent Regency” (Brigadier Lima and Silva, Costa Carvalho and Braulio Muniz), serious military riots took place, suffocated by the energy of the Minister of Justice, the priest Diego Antonio Feijó, who managed to dissolve the mutinous infantry corps and created the National Guard, with which he also subdued a rebel artillery corps. More lasting was the military uprising in Pará, which was subdued only after four years. Equally serious are those in Maranhão, Cearȧ, and Matto Grosso. In the meantime, the parties were outlined: the “exalted”, with republican tendencies; the “moderates”, who were the support of the regency; and the “restorers”, also called caramurus, who hoped for a return to the past, and who had in their ranks the most illustrious citizens of the time, such as Giuseppe Bonifacio, the Cayrú, the Paranaguá. The partisan fights were bitter and had their repercussions also at court, where the party of the caramurús had to yield before the triumph of the moderates: the tutor Giuseppe Bonifacio was forced to resign, and was later arrested, coinciding his arrest with the death of Pedro I (1834), and therefore with the definitive fall of the restorers. According to Justinian Giuseppe da Rocha, an acute political writer of that time, the undisputed democratic triumph took place between 1831 and 1836; from 1836 to 1840, the struggle of monarchical reaction, which ends with Don Pedro’s coming of age; from 1840 to 1852, the domination of the monarchical principle over democracy, who knows how to react only with violence and is crushed; from 1852 to 1855 (the year in which Da Rocha wrote), a transitory period of calm and anxiety for the future. In 1853, with the personal interest of the sovereign, there was a conciliation of the parties, repeated with the League of 1862, gradually transformed into the “progressive” party, with a preponderance of liberals, allied with moderate conservatives, not joining, however, the so-called “historical liberals”. The progressives fell in 1868 and the two liberal groups merged, forming the first nucleus of the Republican party.
In 1834 an Additional Act brought some changes to the constitution of 1824, not of great importance, except where a notable enlargement of the provincial and municipal autonomies was granted: a wise measure of decentralizing policy, which at that moment saved the unity of Brazil. But later an opposite centralizing conception prevailed, begun with the law of May 12, 1840, which, pretending to interpret the Additional Act, greatly limited the competence of the provincial legislative assemblies. In 1835, the Congress entrusted the regency to only one, the Feiió, very popular and well-liked, but who found himself in the arms of the federalist revolution of Rio Grande do Sul, known as the war of the farrapos (ragged), which broke out on 10 September 1835, and lasted, under the leadership of Bento Gonçalves, with various events (in which, for a time, Giuseppe Garibaldi participated), until 1845, when Caxias managed to subdue the rioters, who laid down their arms and accepted the imperial amnesty. In the elections of 1836, the conservative party triumphed, born from the union of the “restorers” with the moderate liberals, and which had as its leaders Bernardo de Vasconcellos and Araujo Lima, later Marquis of Olinda. This resulted in the resignation of Feijó, who designated Araujo Lima (1837-40) as his successor.