Deodoro da Fonseca government: context, how it was and end –

Deodoro from the Fonseca was the first president of Brazil and assumed this position shortly after the Proclamation of the Republic, an event that took place on November 15, 1889. Deodoro da Fonseca’s administration is part of the period of consolidation, since it was the first republican government of our country. country. He was president for two years and resigned due to disputes with the Legislature.

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Historical context

Deodoro da Fonseca’s government began shortly after Brazil became a republic. This event took place on November 15, after Deodoro himself led a small troop that dismissed the Ministerial Cabinet occupied by the Viscount of Ouro Preto. At the end of that day, the republic was proclaimed by Joseph of Sponsorship.

The Proclamation of the Republic was an event resulting from the dissatisfaction, especially among the military, with the monarchy. They were dissatisfied due to multiple factors, mainly because they considered themselves unfair due to the way they were treated by the monarchical regime. From the 1870s onwards, a republican movement emerged which, with the support of São Paulo coffee growers, managed to overthrow the monarchy.

The great involvement of the military in the movement made them protagonists in the first years of the Brazilian republic, and, therefore, Deodoro da Fonseca was appointed to preside over the provisional government. His government, however, was not absent from problems and disputes, the result of a (republican) regime implemented on the basis of improvisation.

How was Deodoro da Fonseca’s government?

After the Proclamation of the Republic, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca was appointed provisional president of Brazil.

Deodoro da Fonseca’s government was, to say the least, controversial. This administration was inserted within the transition phase and, because of this, the transformations that the country faced were intense, as were the tensions inherent to them. This command was strongly marked by a large crisis policy and economical.

In the first months of the republic, there was a huge dispute between positivists and liberals about the direction the country would take. Positivists (many of them were part of the Army) argued that the country should be governed by a republic authoritarian which would promote its modernization by force. The liberals, in turn, defended the need to form a Constituent Assembly, which would draft a liberal constitution with a focus on the federalism and in freedoms individual. As we will see throughout this text, the liberal solution was victorious.

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Another important point is to specify that Deodoro’s government had a phase provisional is phase constitutionalwhich began after the new Constitution of Brazil was promulgated.

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Once the new government was established, the first major concern was to erase symbols and institutions linked to monarchy. Therefore, monarchical institutions, such as the Ministerial Cabinet and the State Council, were abolished, and toponyms (names of public places) that had an association with the monarchy were replaced.

The new regime also abolished the Constitution of 1824and the administrative positions were held by republicans of different trends. The idea was clearly to exclude the monarchy from the population’s imagination and weaken it politically, since monarchists would not enjoy any political involvement with the new regime.

Other changes that took place over the 15 months of the provisional government were the separation of state and church affairs and the Big Naturalization, the naturalization of all immigrants who were in Brazil at the time. This determination was instituted after the decree nº 58-ADecember 14, 1889.

During the provisional government a terrible economic crisis which affected the country throughout the 1890s and became known as Encilhamento. This crisis was the result of the economic and banking reform promoted by the Minister of Finance, Rui Barbosa. In this reform, the minister authorized private banks to issue unsecured paper money. This generated a gigantic financial speculation crisis and resulted in high inflationary in the country.

The Encilhamento was a crisis caused by the economic and banking reform carried out by Rui Barbosa, Minister of Finance.

The political direction that the country took led to the call for an election to form a constituent Assembly, the institution responsible for drafting a new constitution for Brazil. This call came out on June 22, 1890, through the decree no. 510. The election was scheduled for September 15, and the inauguration of those elected to the Constituent Assembly took place on November 15, 1890.

The Constitution of 1891 was promulgated on February 24, 1891 and instituted considerable changes for the country. First, it is important to say that she was liberal in orientation, but reinforced the exclusionary character of the elites that governed the country, as it did not address issues related to social rights and limited citizenship in Brazilian territory.

The Constitution of 1891 was directly inspired by the Constitution of the United States. That established a significant change that generated profound changes in the country, such as the federalism. With this new development, the former provinces, now called states, began to enjoy significant political freedom.

It was the institution of federalism that made oligarchies and the colonels gained significant political powers in the First Republic. Another noteworthy point regarding the 1891 Constitution is that it was inspired by an “essentially conservative liberalism”, as established by historian Maria Efigênia Lage de Resende|1|.

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This is because in the issue of political rights, that is, in the issue of citizenship, the Constitution of 1891 excluded a considerable part of the Brazilian population. She determined that the illiterate people did not have the right to vote because it was understood that the population’s access to this right would be harmful to the country.

You social rights they were also not addressed in the Constitution of 1891. This lack of interest on the part of the rulers of the First Republic demonstrated in the constitution was reinforced by statements made by presidents, such as Washington Luís (1926-1930), who considered social rights a “police case”, and Campos Sales (1898-1902), who said that the government of the republic came from the states above the crowd, that is, for Campos Sales the opinion of the population (and their rights) did not matter|2|.

Therefore, it is clear that the intention of those who drafted the first republican constitution was secure your own interests, to the detriment of collective interests. For this reason, the right to political participation was restricted to a minority in the country.

In any case, some of the main determinations of the 1891 Constitution were:

  • Institution of federalism;

  • Institution of presidentialism, with the president having the right to a four-year term without the possibility of re-election;

  • Official separation between State and Church;

  • Guarantee of some individual freedoms, such as freedom of assembly;

  • Universal male suffrage, although there were limitations already mentioned;

  • Establishment of three powers: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.

  • Constitutional government

The constitutional government began with the holding of a election indirect one day after the Constitution of 1891 was promulgated. In this election, the parliamentarians who formed the Constituent Assembly had to vote separately for president It is vice president. Candidates for each position were:

  • Deodoro da Fonseca and Prudente de Morais, for the presidency;

  • Floriano Peixoto (supported by Prudente) and Eduardo Wandenkolk (supported by Deodoro), for vice-presidency.

The result of this election determined the victory of Deodoro da Fonseca with 129 votes and Floriano Peixoto with 153 votes. The first constitutional government in our country was formed by representatives of different electoral slates. Deodoro’s constitutional government was quite troubled because he wanted govern without the Legislature interfering in your wishes.

O authoritarianism de Deodoro undermined the president’s position and led the country into a political crisis in less than a year after he was elected. In addition to the president’s ambition to govern in a centralized manner, the political crisis also includes the disputes that existed within the country’s political frameworks between deodorists (supporters of the president) and florianists (Vice supporters).

In addition to being authoritarian, we can say that Deodoro was also unable to perform the function. Certain political decisions he made contributed to damaging his position in the presidency. One of the main ones was the appointment of “indemnities” for the presidency of states and other government positions. Indenistas were not popular among historic republicans (those converted to the ideal since 1870).

This unpopularity of the indenistas is due to the fact that they were former monarchists who converted to republicanism after the abolition of slavery, on May 13th. The main case was that of Baron of Lucena, former monarchist appointed to the Ministry of Labor. Dissatisfied with the government, parliamentarians ended up acting to try to remove powers from the president.

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End of the Government of Deodoro da Fonseca

Cornered by parliamentarians, Deodoro decided to radicalize and, following his authoritarian tendency, decided close the National Congress, on November 3, 1891. This began a political crisis that brought the country to the brink of civil war. This is because Deodoro’s act violated articles of the 1891 Constitution and the reaction was immediate.

There was resistance civil to the president’s attitude, such as the case of the railway workers at Central do Brasil who went on strike. In addition Armada (Navy) rebelled against the president and turned the cannons of warships towards Rio de Janeiro. The sailors began to demand the resignation of the ruler and the reopening of Congress and threatened to bomb the capital, Rio de Janeiro.

Pressured and fearing the start of a war, Deodoro da Fonseca resigned from the presidency in day November 23, 1891. With that, Floriano Peixoto took over it in an agreement made with the São Paulo oligarchs.


|1| RESENDE, Maria Efigênia Lage de. The political process in the First Republic and oligarchic liberalism. In.: FERREIRA, Jorge and DELGADO, Lucilia de Almeida Neves. Republican Brazil: the time of oligarchic liberalism: from the Proclamation of the Republic to the Revolution of 1930. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2018. p. 89.

|2| NEVES, Margarida de Souza. You…