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between a republic and one of the best of monarchies, tended to hasten recognition of the new order in Brazil. Another consideration which urged this policy was a desire to secure and retain the friendship and the markets of the largest and most populous Hispanic American state. Consequently, as soon as news of the revolution reached Washington the minister of the United States in Brazil was instructed to maintain diplomatic relations with the provisional government. Moreover, a few days later he was directed to give the republic "a cordial and formal recognition” as soon as the majority of the people of Brazil signified their acceptance of the new regime.17
The proposed delay in formal recognition was deemed by the administration a wise precaution in view of the fact that such a step, if taken before the real nature of the revolt had become manifest, might succeed only in strengthening a military despotism whereas its true design would be to advance the cause of popular government in the New World. Yet President Harrison's announcement of his policy to Congress occasioned a somewhat vigorous attempt on the part of aggressive members of the democratic party to force the executive to move more rapidly. They argued that immediate recognition would strengthen the hands of the republicans of Brazil and do much toward discouraging any designs of interference which might be entertained in Europe. The friends of the administration in Congress were able to delay precipitate action, however.18
With reference to this policy public opinion was divided, but apparently the majority was in accord with the administration; and although decided partisan coloring may be detected in the press, both parties made it clear that they had the true interests of the Brazilian people at heart. A few quotations will set forth the various motives and cross currents which were operating at the time.
17 Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States (1889), pp. 61-63.
18For the discussions and procedure of Congress, see Congressional Record, 51 Cong., 1 sess., pp. 216, 313ff., 323, 871, passim.
Among the newspapers which advocated immediate recognition were the New York World, the Indianapolis Sentinel, the Savannah News, the New Orleans Picayune, the Atlanta Constitution, and the Omaha Bee. The following excerpts will reveal their attitude:
The United States Government recognized the republic of France within a few hours after it was proclaimed ... in 1870. It recognized in 1873 the Spanish Republic on the very day that Amadeus was kicked off his throne. And yet the Republican statesmen in Washington insist that the Brazilians must hold an election before it can be determined that their republic is entitled to our recognition. Encouraged by this cowardly policy the reactionists of Brazil are trying to stifle the republic and restore the empire. What a sneaking, pottering, cowardly republic we are having under the rule of the Republican plutocracy.19
What hope and good cheer a prompt and cordial recognition of the new republic by the United States would have sent to the hearts of the lovers of freedom the world over! What an electric thrill the presence of half a dozen American men-of-war in the harbor of Rio Janeiro at this moment would give to republicans and democrats all around the globe! And what a tremendous and decisive significance it would have for kings and their ministers everywhere! But Mr. Harrison and Mr. Blaine and the Republican Senators say we must not pay any attention to the new republic. We must wait until the people of Brazil have formally given it their adherence. We must wait until his imperial majesty, the Czar of Russia, and her royal majesty, the Queen of England, and his imperial majesty, the Emperor of Germany, and all the rest of their ... majesties, have concluded that “the jig is all up” with the divine right in the New World, and have condescended to permit the Brazilians to try governing themselves. The attitude of the Government at Washington in this matter is enough to make every patriotic American hang his
19The New York World (Democratic), December 26, 1889.
head with shame. If the Republic of Brazil falls, it will be because the United States withholds its recognition.-Oh, for one week of an Andrew Jackson or a Grover Cleveland in the White House !20
While it is true that there may be a great deal of trouble in Brazil before the republic is established upon a firm basis, there is no probability of the re-establishment of the empire. The empire is a thing of the past, and the fact that little or no opposition has been made to the republic justifies the conclusion that there is no desire for the return of the deposed Emperor or any member of his family. There does not appear to be any good reason, therefore, for delay in recognizing the republic. Indeed, there are good reasons why there should be haste. Affairs in Brazil are now in a very chaotic condition, and there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with those who are exercising power. Recognition by this Government might help the true patriots to put the republic upon a firm foundation. Delay in extending recognition may encourage those who have no love for the republic, and who may be plotting for its ruin.21
Professing, as we Americans do, the utmost zeal and devotion to republican institutions, it would have been the most natural and graceful thing to have promptly recognized the new regime in Brazil, an act that would have greatly encouraged the patriots in that country and exerted a sobering effect on those European powers that have shown an inclination to interfere in behalf of the deposed imperial family.22
The people of Brazil, who desire to follow in the footsteps of the people of this country, have not received the slightest expression of sympathy from the United States, and they have no means of knowing whether they have the moral support of this country in their efforts to establish a popular government.23
20 The Indianapolis Sentinel (Ibid.), December 22, 1889.
It is both the duty and the interest of the United States to, in every legitimate way, encourage the new republic, and by its countenance, friendship, and influence to strengthen it in the confidence of its own people and in the respect of the world. Recognition would go far toward bringing about these desirable results, and it would undoubtedly have the very general and hearty approval of the American people.24
Among the journals which counseled moderation and delay were the Chicago Herald, the Philadelphia Ledger, the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, the Washington Star, the Boston Advertiser, and the New York Sun. Space permits only very brief quotations from these.
It would do no harm for the United States Senate to make haste slowly in the recognition of the new regime in Brazil. Sufficient time has not elapsed to permit the succession to attain stability or permanency. Unavoidably, affairs are yet in a more or less chaotic condition. This Nation has not forgotten the vexation which was caused by the proposed recognition of the Confederacy almost before the smoke had disappeared from the rebel gun which opened on Sumpter. The cases are not exactly parallel, although it is a fact that England had quite as much knowledge of the Confederacy as we have now of the Brazilian Republic, and no more.
It would be miraculous if the scattered population of Brazil, with all its variety of blood, interests, and civilization, should pass from a monarchy to a republic without delay or disturbance.25
It is well that the holiday recess of Congress brings Senator Morgan's rather too precipitate resolution for the recognition of the Brazilian revolutionary government to a halt till next month and next year, for by that time we may have some authentic information that will show us which is the right course to pursue.
Before any measure of recognition should be finally acted upon by
24 The Omaha Bee (Republican), December 19, 1889. 25The Chicago Herald (Democratic), December 23, 1889.
our Congress, we should have one or other of two things—either an official declaration of the real condition of affairs from the American Minister at Rio, that can be published for the information of the people of the United States; or unmistakeably vouched dispatches from the agents of the Associated Press at Rio Janeiro (sic), Bahia, Para, and Pernambuca—that the wires are open and free to all who wish to send or receive telegraphic messages. Till we have one or other of these assurances or something else in all respects equivalent, Congress should not move one step. It will be nothing better than taking a leap in the dark unless we have them. Instead of helping the people of Brazil to a good republican government such as we would wish to see them have, we may be helping to fasten upon them a regime of selfish and grasping military adventurers. Let us have at least a chance to look before we leap. The Brazilian people are not asking us to "hurry up."26
It seems to us that the Democrats of the Senate are making a mistake in insisting upon the immediate recognition of the Republic of Brazil. In fact, there is no such republic. The government in existence is a military despotism, much less liberal in character than the imperialism which the army overthrew.
Under the old regime Brazil was governed by a ministry responsible to a Parliament elected by the people. The Emperor was not an active governing force. Under the new regime there is no Parliament, no representatives of the people, and the governing power is lodged solely in the hands of certain persons supported by the regular army. The old government was much more of a republic than the new, in spite of the fact that it had an emperor at the head of it. . Our Government stands as the best example and defender of representative institutions, not of despotisms which may falsely call themselves republics. We can not afford to champion shams; it is our duty to support every genuine attmept to establish representative institutions.27
26 The Philadelphia Ledger (Independent), December 23, 1889. 27The Macon Telegraph (Democratic), December 23, 1889.