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The foreign policy of the Brazilian Empire and the War against Oribe and Rosas: a study about the debates of the 1851 intervention

Grant number: 17/07287-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): June 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Miriam Dolhnikoff
Grantee:Rafael da Fonseca Tamae
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This project's objective is to study the political debate, in the various institutions of the Brazilian Empire, about the relations between Brazil and the Platine nations - Argentina, Parguay and Uruguay - during the decade of 1840, especially concerning the decision of intervening in 1851 in the so called "Guerra Grande", a conflict that had started as a civil war in Uruguay and rapidly became a regional conflict. This intervention has put an end to a decade of Brazilian neutrality towards the conflict in Argentina and Uruguay and marked the beginning of a new period for the Brazilian foreign policy. This study proposes to analyze the existing interaction between a number of institutions that are pointed out by the bibliography as relevant actors in the Brazilian Empire policy formulation, including the foreign policy. Furthermore, it aims to examine the political relations between these institutions and the way their political views and opinions transited. Hence, the first institution to be studied is the Foreign Affairs Ministry, responsible for the foreign policy execution. Then, the Parliament will be analyzed, a space for the formulation of foreign policy principles and doctrines and responsible for overseeing the Ministry actions. The interaction with the Conselho de Estado will also be focused, an important institution of the Imperial politics, particularly its Seção dos Negócios Estrangeiros e Justiça. The debates on the Legislative Assembly of the Rio Grande do Sul province will also be studied, given its importance for the provincial elites of the Rio Grande do Sul to resolve local issues and to organize as a pressure group. Finally, the position of the Monarchy will also be studied trough the study of the Falas do Trono and the parliamentarians' reactions. Therefore, the hypothesis that will guide this project is that the Brazilian government decision to intervene in the Platine conflict in 1851 was the result of the interaction between the aforementioned institutions, according to the political dynamic of the constitutional monarchy, where various political actors debated, negotiated and confronted. On the other hand, the Rio Grande do Sul elites pressured the imperial government, as pointed by the historiography, having an important role in the decision of launching the War against Oribe and Rosas. This pressure has originated in the Legislative Assembly of the Rio Grande do Sul, and has relied on the Rio Grande do Sul representatives in the Parliament. In the Parliament, the challenge would have been to present an issue - the vexations and abuses committed by Oribe and its troops - that directly affected the Rio Grande do Sul as an attack to the properties and the possessions of Brazilian citizens. The construction and legitimation of this reasoning should have been debated in the Brazilian institutions, where the Rio Grande do Sul elites should have convinced the other provinces' representatives of the national importance of protecting those citizens. Furthermore, it was necessary to deconstruct the neutrality position, built and legitimated during the decade of 1840 on the various institution here presented as an answer to concrete Brazilian issues and interests, as well as foreign and local circumstances. (AU)