Introduction
the brazilian republic, getúlio vargas, and
metaphors of war
On 15 November 1889, the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil received word
that a handful of high-ranking military officers had joined ranks with
disgruntled civilian elites to proclaim the Republic. Under direct orders
from Field Marshal Manoel Deodoro da Fonseca (1827–1892) to seek im-
mediate exile, the emperor quickly assembled the imperial family and set
sail for Europe. The deposed monarch soon discovered that Fonseca had
issued a ban on all members of the House of Bragança. Pedro quietly re-
signed himself to his new fate as persona non grata in his Brazilian home-
land, greatly diminishing the prospects that those still loyal to the Bragan-
ças might mount a monarchist resistance to the new regime. The second
and last Brazilian emperor would be dead within two years, making res-
toration of the monarchy all the more improbable. The republicans were
clearly relieved to see the empire (1822–1889) pass without bloodshed or
civil disturbance.
The consolidation of republican rule proved much more contentious,
because Fonseca, named chief of the Provisional Government, and his
civilian allies failed to reach consensus over the character of the new politi-
cal order. Relations between the field marshal and the republicans were
especially tense regarding the question of military rights, a sore spot among
the political elite well before November 1889. The civilian-military alliance
proved itself to be unable to resolve other disputes over states’ rights, con-
stitutional law, and presidential powers, while dissident factions openly re-
volted against theyoung republic. In the first half-decade of republican rule,
federal troops had to put down a separatist rebellion in Rio Grande do Sul
and a monarchist naval mutiny off the coast of the capital. By 1896, in the
arid backlands (os sertões) of the northeastern state of Bahia, federal troops
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