Brazil History Part 23

Fifteen months passed before the new state of affairs was finally settled. Power remained entrusted to the provisional government chaired by Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca: the government made decisions of great importance, establishing the separation of the church from the state and introducing civil marriage. Finally, on February 24, 1891, the Constituent Assembly consecrated, in a new constitutional charter, the federative republic of the United States of Brazil – in the image of the United States of North America. The Constituent Assembly itself appointed the first president of the republic, in the person of Marshal da Fonseca (according to the decisions of the Assembly, the president of the republic was to remain in office for four years, be elected, like the vice president, by direct election, by absolute majority). But the action of da Fonseca was to lead to new contrasts. An authoritarian man with clearly dictatorial tendencies, he, on 3 nov. 1891, with a coup d’etat he dissolved the parliament, with which he had put himself in open contrast. But his act caused a violent reaction in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and in the fleet, headed by Admiral Custodio de Mello; so that on 23 November he had to resign and leave the office to the vice-president, Marshal Floriano Peixoto (1891-1894). But not even the new presidency could take place in peace. There were new riots in 1892, culminating in the exile of several soldiers. In 1893, the fleet, always under the command of the Mello, rebelled. The revolt was put down in March of the following year;

According to HEALTHVV, the pacification of the parties was achieved only by the third president, a bourgeois, Dr. Prudente de Moraes (1894-1898), of São Paulo. But the most urgent and serious political problems have also been resolved; even when calm was brought back to where for six years there had been a continuous effervescence of discontent and riots, the new state still found itself having to solve difficult questions, especially in the financial field. Indeed, the situation of public credit is precarious, deeply shaken by civil strife; The whole financial situation of the country was precarious, as demonstrated by the crisis of 1900. In this field, the credit for the arrangement goes to the fourth president, dr. Manuel Ferraz de Campos Salles (1898-1902). The successor of Campos Salles, Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves (1902-1906), was responsible for the rehabilitation of the capital, Rio de Janeiro, which has become such that it can compete, even if its natural beauties are not taken into account, with the major European capitals. Dr. Alfonso Penna (1906-1909), who, who died before the expiry of his mandate, was replaced by the vice-president, dr. Nilo Peçanha (1910). In 1910, Marshal Hermes da Fonseca, a grandson of the first head of the Brazilian republic, was elected president; in 1914, Dr. Wenceslau Braz. Strengthened internally, Brazil had also achieved remarkable successes in foreign policy, thanks to the skill of the Foreign Minister, Baron de Rio Branco (1902-1912): especially interesting was the fact that, in 1906, the third Pan-American Conference met in Rio de Janeiro, protesting against certain interventions by European states in America. First, the symptomatic position of Brazil, which, the maximum power of South America, was beginning to appear as a center of convergence of common South American interests.

Thus Brazil came to the world war, with its own considerable political strength. It too was dragged into the storm, after two years of neutrality and dissension between those who sympathized with the Entente and those who leaned towards Germany. The decision was provoked, in April 1917, by the sinking of the Brazilian steamship Paraná, on the coasts of France, by a German submarine. On 11 April, diplomatic relations with Germany were broken; on 1 June, the decree of neutrality was revoked; on October 26, the official declaration of war on Germany followed. In the same month of April the United States of North America had intervened in the war, alongside the Entente. And certainly the greatest American power exerted a decisive influence on the attitude of the southern Latin American state. Brazil’s participation in the World War consisted of the confiscation of German steamers in Brazilian ports and the dispatch of medical missions and airmen to the Western European front and a team in the Atlantic. Together with the other states of the Entente, Brazil signed, on June 28, 1919,

After the war Brazil found itself facing serious financial difficulties, due to the sharp increase in public debt, due to the fall of the milreis, which reached even lower limits than those reached in 1898. The problem under the presidency of Dr. Arturo Bernardes (1922-1926), who succeeded Dr. Epitacio da Silva Pessôa (1918-1922), and who was followed by Dr. Washington Luis Pereira de Sousa (1926-1930). Nor was there no lack of political turmoil: always under the presidency of Bernardes, we must especially remember a serious revolt in San Paolo (1924). Finally, he warned that on 13 June 1926 Brazil left the League of Nations, for not having obtained a permanent seat on the Council of the league itself. Political act, this, which caused a great sensation.

Brazil History 23