Dados vol. 28 n. 2 Rio de Janeiro 1985

República e Cidadanias

Carvalho, José Murilo de


The author discusses the advance of the leading socialist and workers' parties to spring up in the city of Rio de Janeiro between 1890 and 1893, the years immediately following the proclamation of the Republic. He draws on sources from the working-class press of the time to show that the hopes raised by the change of regime were the decisive stimulus for republican intellectuals and labor leaders to promote the creation of these parties, with the object of introducing the working class as a political force in the republican elections. The fact that the break with the earlier monarchic order occured before the complete emergence of a new order, opened a political space which allowed these parties to play an important role on the political and social stage of the period. Predating the formation of virtually insignificant labor unions, these parties of necessity performed the complex and difficult task of combining trade union activities (mediating labor demands and disputes with the public authorities) with the beneficent (organizing educational and medical assistance programs, relief funds, and a highly successful Workers' Bank), the social (promoting public entertainments and functions) and the political (electoral participation, with the election of a representative to the 1890 Constitutional Assembly). Finally, the author inquires into the causes that led to the collapse of these political party experiences in 1893, citing the increase of internal conflicts, mistrust generated by the actions of the republican elite who were consolidating their power and, especially, the involvement of these leaders in the political-military struggles between republican factions which disturbed the new regime during its early years.

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República e Cidadanias