Brazil History Part 22

Such a great fervor of agricultural, commercial and industrial activity was not disturbed by the captivating foreign policy, which occurred during the reign of Pedro II, who worked wisely towards the Río de la Plata, contributing to the fall of the tyrant Rosas; but then he let himself be drawn into the internal affairs of Uruguay, intervening in favor of General Flores, head of the Colorado party, and then president of the republic (1865), and causing the war against Brazil by Paraguay, then ruled by the fanatic and autocratic president Francesco Solano Lopez. A part of the Paraguayan army invaded the Matto Grosso while another part occupied Corrientes, in the Argentine Republic. A triple alliance was thus formed between Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, united against the republic of Paraguay (1 May 1865). After a series of setbacks (1866) due to differences of opinion among the allied generals, the command of the Brazilian army, which remained almost alone to support the struggle, was entrusted to the marshal duke of Caxias, who in Tuyuty (3 November 1867), with a nice victory, he avenged the Brazilian defeat of the previous year, in the same place; and then, in 1868, after the naval victory of Humaytá (February 19), with a series of brilliant operations in Avahy (December 11) and in Lomas Valentinas (December 21-27), the Lopez fleeing, the way was opened in Assunción, where it penetrated on 10 January 1869. The war was virtually over; but it was revived by Lopez with a recollected army and lasted for more than a year, in guerrilla form, until Lopez was surprised and killed in Aquidaban, on the border of the Matto Grosso (1 March 1870).

In 1868, the conservatives went to the government, to whom we must acknowledge the merit of having been able to diplomatically liquidate the Triple Alliance, with great skill, and of having restored religious peace to Brazil, composing a series of unpleasant incidents that had been deplored in the previous years. In 1871, as the second step towards the complete abolition of slavery, which was desired by the immense majority of the country and had become its main political problem, the so-called “free womb” law was approved, which declared free the unborn children of slaves. But the liberal opposition, united under Nabuco de Araujo, gave no respite to the conservatives and in 1869 founded the “Liberal Center”, in whose manifesto was the threatening phrase: “Either the reform, or the revolution”, considering itself the very first, among the reforms, the electoral one, long desired. During this period, the country continued its economic ascension: coffee took the lead in production, leaving sugar, rubber, skins, cotton and tobacco far behind. The production center moved from the north to the south, and with it the political center: São Paulo and Minas became a seedbed of advanced ideas and political personalities. Republican associations and newspapers multiplied (there was also a congress of republicans) under the eyes of the emperor who, in his amiable fatalism, went to Europe (1871-72), where, more than with politicians, he liked himself ” meeting with philosophers and poets: visiting, among others, Victor Hugo and Manzoni.

According to HEALTHINCLUDE, the liberal opposition became very strong, and by now considering with fear the development of republican germs in it, the emperor, in 1878, called the liberals to power (Saraiva cabinet), who immediately advanced their favorite theses: naturalization, civil marriage, secularization of cemeteries, etc., and especially the new electoral law (direct elections), which, after being approved, and having given a true constitutional function to the Chamber, did not take long to show the strengths and weaknesses of the system. In less than a year and a half, there were three liberal ministries (Martinho Campos, Paranaguá and Lafayette Rodrigues Pereira), all equally unable to govern due to the conservative opposition; a subsequent Dantas ministry, albeit a liberal one, obtained the dissolution of the chamber and called the elections (1885). The new chamber – which proves the correctness with which the liberals held the elections – was made up of 67 liberals, 55 conservatives and 3 republicans: that is, with the conservatives on the rise. After the Dantas cabinet was discharged, a second Saraiva cabinet fell, in the same year 1885 the conservatives resumed power, and, after the Chamber was dissolved, they called the new rallies which gave a very strong conservative majority and just about twenty opponents. There was the Cotogipe cabinet, reactionary, opposed to abolition. But he was succeeded by the cabinet Joāo Alfredo, during whose government the regent Isabella, in the absence of her father, signed, amid the delirious popular enthusiasm, the law of the immediate abolition of slavery (May 13, 1888). Immediately after the republican idea, which until then had spread relatively slowly, flared up. The liberals were recalled to power in June 1889, on the eve of the revolution: the head of the government, viscount of Ouro Preto, presented an important program of reforms, especially economic ones, but it was too late to save the monarchy. The law abolishing slavery was very unpopular with the prominent god caste farmers and among the class, albeit large, of average farmers, worried about the labor problem, not yet resolved by the ever-increasing European immigration. The republican ideas were also joined by some liberal, anti-abolitionist factions; but above all the new generations, students and even cadets of military schools adhered eagerly. The fate of the monarchy was decided: the emperor, now old, no longer had the old prestige; he lacked male children; his daughter Isabella, and her son-in-law, Count d’Eu, enjoyed a reputation for excessive clericalism; however, there was nothing to predict the catastrophe so swiftly. The agreement between the republican extremists, Beniamin Constant, Aristide Lobo, Quintino Bocayuva, and the dissident military element contributed to hastening it. represented by Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. The latter, a personal friend of the emperor, had organized a “pronouncement” against the Ouro Preto ministry, without thinking of the republic, indeed declaring that he would not have thought of it until after the death of Don Pedro as emperor of Brazil. But little by little he allowed himself to be influenced by the ardent pressures of Constant and his companions, and led to the revolution of November 15, 1889, which consisted in a lifting of the Rio de Janeiro garrison, and in the subsequent proclamation of the republic, placing the Fonseca in head of the provisional government. The emperor was in Petropolis: he promptly went down to the capital, he understood that the situation would not normalize with a ministerial change: he accepted, without grandeur, the circumstances, and on November 17 he embarked with his family for Europe, nobly refusing the 5 thousand contos (8 million) that had been offered to him. Never again, in exile, did he nurture ideas of restoration.

Brazil History 22