Portugal History – The Republic

The rotation of constitutional parties. – The reign of Peter V (1853-1861) was a period of pacification, of improvements in public services, of progress in education. A concordat was concluded with the Holy See for the Portuguese patronage of the East (1857), a question then definitively settled in 1886. Peace and progress also lasted under the reign of Louis I (1861-1889). The king ruled constitutionally and two parties took turns in power; the regime of the majorascato was abolished (1863), the civil code (1867) and an additional act to the charter were published (1885), the death sentences and forced labor in the territory of the kingdom were abolished (1867) as well as slavery in all the Portuguese territories.

According to smber, the decadence of constitutionalism manifested itself under Charles I (1889-1908): for a long time the alternation (rotativism) of two parties in power prevailed, but the republican party gained the cities, and especially Lisbon and Porto.

Decay and fall of constitutionalism. – One of the causes of the progress of the republican party was the English ultimatum of 1890, provoked by the revolt of the indigenous people of the Chire and Niassa territories in East Africa, which, supported by the English missionaries established there, had been severely repressed by the major explorer Serpa Pinto, who had raised the Portuguese flag in those regions. England claimed that it was a territory under an English protectorate and ordered the withdrawal of Portuguese troops from Chire. Having the government accepted the ultimatum, a wave of indignation spread throughout the country, reaching the monarchy. The “progressive” party, which was in government, was replaced by the “regenerator” party, which nevertheless limited itself to repressing the riots that occurred, of which the most notable was the republican revolt in Oporto (January 31, 1891). The party rotation continued.

For some time (1903-1905) Charles I managed to create friendships between foreign powers: the alliance with England was renewed, Portugal received visits from the kings of England and Spain, the emperor of Germany and the president of the french republic. The king pursued a personal policy, finding the right man in João Franco, head of the new “liberal regenerator” party. A very bitter struggle was unleashed by the ancient parties against the king and against Franco, who dissolved parliament and ruled dictatorially. The question of allowances to the royal family, resolved by Franco in favor of the king, was the main reason for the campaign undertaken by the republicans. Charles I signed a decree for the deportation of republican leaders to Timor: the following day (February 1, 1908) the royal car, returning to the palace from Vila Viçosa, was shot and the king and crown prince, Louis Philippe, were killed. The second son Manuel II ascended the throne. But the disorganization of the dynastic parties and the growing republican propaganda led, after just two years, to a change of regime.

The Republic. – On October 4, 1910, a revolution broke out in Lisbon, in which the army and navy took part. On the 5th the republic was proclaimed, and the royal family, having taken refuge in Cintra, embarked for Gibraltar. The constitution of 1911 established the parliamentary system with two chambers, the senate and the deputies, and various legislative reforms were carried out, such as the mandatory register of marital status, divorce, separation of the Church from the state, the law on accidents at work, compulsory social insurance, higher elementary education, the creation of the universities of Lisbon and Oporto, the administrative autonomy of the colonies. The republican party soon split, but, alongside some tiny fractions, there is a large party, the Democrat, which almost always holds power: the smaller parties try to wrest it from him by frequent revolutionary acts. Democratic Minister Alfonso Costa had achieved a balanced budget when the world war broke out. The republic, which had renewed its alliance with England, sided with the Entente, during the presidency of Bernardino Machado, and Portuguese troops fought in Flanders and Africa until the armistice of 1918. There was, however, one party against the war, who overthrew the democratic party with the revolution of December 5, 1917, giving power to Sidonio Pais, former minister in Germany, who was elected president of the republic by plebiscite. However, the expeditionary force in France continued to fight. Sidonio Pais fell victim to an attack in December 1918; L’ The following year, a monarchical revolution that broke out in Oporto had dominance in the north of the country and was also supported in Lisbon by a part of the army. But the people and the navy defeated the monarchists and, a few days later, the republican troops re-established the regime throughout the country. On October 19, 1921, a radical revolution overthrew a ministry of the republican right: Prime Minister Antonio Granjo and Machado Santos, one of the founders of the republic, were killed.

In 1926 a reaction against parliamentarism and the democratic party led to the military dictatorship. In 1928 Oliveira Salazar, finance minister of the dictatorship, inaugurated a policy of rigid economies, reaching balance and making improvements in public services.

Prevailing character in the dictatorship, Salazar in 1932 assumed the presidency of the ministry and also reorganized the navy; in 1933 he presented the country with a new constitution, laying the foundations for the corporate state.

Portugal History - The Republic