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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: May 2009

1 - Politics in Brazil Under Vargas, 1930–1945




The fifteen years between the Revolution of October–November 1930 that brought the First Republic (1889–1930) to an end and the military coup of October 1945 that ended the Estado Novo (1937–1945), a period dominated by Getúlio Vargas who was president throughout, were a watershed in the political, economic and social history of Brazil.

In his classic A Revolução de 1930: historiografia e história (São Paulo, 1970) Boris Fausto effectively demolished the view, prevalent in the 1960s, that the Revolution of 1930 represented the definitive end of the hegemony of the coffee-producing bourgeoisie of São Paulo and the rise to power of the industrial bourgeoisie and the urban middle classes. The conflict in 1930 was interregional, interoligarchical and, not least, intergenerational rather than intersectoral, much less interclass. The Revolution began on 3 October 1930 with an armed rebellion by dissident members of the political elite, especially in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais but also in the Northeast, and disaffected army officers, unwilling to accept the victory of the ‘official’ candidate, Júlio Prestes, the representative of the landed oligarchy of São Paulo, in the presidential elections of March 1930. The rebellion triggered a golpe (military coup) on 24 October by senior army generals who removed President Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa from office. On 3 November the military transferred power to the defeated candidate in the March elections and leader of the rebellion, the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Getúlio Vargas.