Rodrigo in liberalism: a political biography

Rodrigo in liberalism: a political biography

I conceived this biography as a study in the limits of human freedom. Under this view, the case of Rodrigo da Fonseca Magalhães is very interesting.  He was certainly one the most important statesmen of 19th century and his name remained  closely  associated with Regeneration (1851), a new political era that put an end to seventeen years of instability and political violence. In a certain sense, Rodrigo, who died in 1858, was the Regeneration, which materialized what he has always thought and ambitioned: a period of political orderly competition in which the means of insurrectional struggle were finally proscribed. Regeneration began with a giving up to the left which Rodrigo strived - with success  - to maintain strictly controlled: a constitutional revision that, by annihilating the conservative dogma of the intangibility of the Constitutional Chart, nevertheless basically and in essence kept the regime  the same way the Chart defined it. The left considered itself satisfied and, through this, the agreement on the constitutional norm was finally established. From there on, Regeneration closed the doors to any other political reform. In exchange for the collaboration of the left (or part of it), it promised economic development. To develop without democratization would in fact be the Leitmotiv of Regeneration and Rodrigo's motto. For him, however, material progress was less valuable than political progress which he identified with the appeasement of passions, the orderly parliamentary discussion, the acceptance of laws and public quietness. This was the program of Rodrigo since 1834. He has always defended it. He has always invited radicalism to moderation, to peace and, in 1835, when he first reached the position of minister, he tried to integrate it in the regime - to constitutionalize it - offering a share, though limited, of the State apparatus. But until 1851, radicalism would refuse to collaborate, making useless in this way Rodrigo's projects.            It happens that Rodrigo's projects were premature. Since the revolution of July 1830 in Paris, revolutionarism had aroused again. The faith in Revolution reached its climax in 1848, when  the revolution of February, also in Paris, gave rise to the Second Republic in France and the "Spring of Peoples" began. As long as the left had hope in the Revolution, it would not collaborate with constitutional monarchy and it would not be satisfied with less than a drastic democratization of the regime. But the "Spring of Peoples" would not last long. The Revolution began to recede immediately since June 1848. In 1851, total defeat was complete and Europe was again in peace. The left  was ready to collaborate with constitutional monarchy and to abandon the revolutionary methods through which it had wanted to open its way to Progress. Progress, after all, did not depend on the articles of the Constitution. It depended on roads, railways and channels. Economic development would bring with it civic progress and political emancipation.            This way, Rodrigo's time came, rendered favourable due to the failure of the Revolution in Europe. From having been premature, his ideas became opportune and feasible. Human freedom has limits.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
No

I conceived this biography as a study in the limits of human freedom. Under this view, the case of Rodrigo da Fonseca Magalhães is very interesting.  He was certainly one the most important statesmen of 19th century and his name remained  closely  associated with Regeneration (1851), a new political era that put an end to seventeen years of instability and political violence. In a certain sense, Rodrigo, who died in 1858, was the Regeneration, which materialized what he has always thought and ambitioned: a period of political orderly competition in which the means of insurrectional struggle were finally proscribed. Regeneration began with a giving up to the left which Rodrigo strived - with success  - to maintain strictly controlled: a constitutional revision that, by annihilating the conservative dogma of the intangibility of the Constitutional Chart, nevertheless basically and in essence kept the regime  the same way the Chart defined it. The left considered itself satisfied and, through this, the agreement on the constitutional norm was finally established. From there on, Regeneration closed the doors to any other political reform. In exchange for the collaboration of the left (or part of it), it promised economic development. To develop without democratization would in fact be the Leitmotiv of Regeneration and Rodrigo's motto. For him, however, material progress was less valuable than political progress which he identified with the appeasement of passions, the orderly parliamentary discussion, the acceptance of laws and public quietness. This was the program of Rodrigo since 1834. He has always defended it. He has always invited radicalism to moderation, to peace and, in 1835, when he first reached the position of minister, he tried to integrate it in the regime - to constitutionalize it - offering a share, though limited, of the State apparatus. But until 1851, radicalism would refuse to collaborate, making useless in this way Rodrigo's projects.            It happens that Rodrigo's projects were premature. Since the revolution of July 1830 in Paris, revolutionarism had aroused again. The faith in Revolution reached its climax in 1848, when  the revolution of February, also in Paris, gave rise to the Second Republic in France and the "Spring of Peoples" began. As long as the left had hope in the Revolution, it would not collaborate with constitutional monarchy and it would not be satisfied with less than a drastic democratization of the regime. But the "Spring of Peoples" would not last long. The Revolution began to recede immediately since June 1848. In 1851, total defeat was complete and Europe was again in peace. The left  was ready to collaborate with constitutional monarchy and to abandon the revolutionary methods through which it had wanted to open its way to Progress. Progress, after all, did not depend on the articles of the Constitution. It depended on roads, railways and channels. Economic development would bring with it civic progress and political emancipation.            This way, Rodrigo's time came, rendered favourable due to the failure of the Revolution in Europe. From having been premature, his ideas became opportune and feasible. Human freedom has limits.

Objectivos: 
See 'Abstract'
Parceria: 
Unintegrated
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
02/01/2007
End Date: 
31/12/2009
Duração: 
35 meses
Closed