Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca (1889)

Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca (born August 5, 1827 in Alagoas da Lagoa do Sul (today Marechal Deodoro in the state of Alagoas ), † August 23, 1892 in Rio de Janeiro ) was a Brazilian military and politician . He proclaimed the republic on November 15, 1889 and then headed the provisional government. Deodoro da Fonseca was the first elected President of Brazil from February 25, 1891 to November 23, 1891 .


Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca was born in Alagoas as the son of the officer Manuel Mendes da Fonseca (1785-1859) and his wife Rosa Maria Paulina da Fonseca (1802-1873). His brothers were the military and politicians Hermes Ernesto da Fonseca (1824-1891) and Joãno Severiano da Fonseca (1836-1897). They also took part in the overthrow of the emperor on November 15, 1889.

Fonseca attended the military school in Rio de Janeiro from 1843 to 1848. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1852 and to captain in 1856. On April 16, 1860, he married Marina Cecília de Sousa Meireles. In 1864 Fonseca took part in the military actions of Brazil against Uruguay , which ended with the overthrow of the Liberals (Blancos) in Uruguay and led to the declaration of war on Brazil by the President of Paraguay , Francisco Solano López . Then Fonseca took part in the war of the Triple Alliance ( Argentina , Brazil, Uruguay) against Paraguay from 1865 to 1869 and rose quickly to colonel due to his military skills. In 1874 he was promoted to brigadier general and in 1884 to field marshal . In 1885 he was appointed arms commander of the Rio Grande do Sul province .

The victory over Paraguay strengthened the army's position in Brazilian society. The predominantly republican-minded military increasingly saw themselves as an alternative to the traditional ruling classes and their parties. Because of their training in positivist- oriented military academies, most of the officers rejected the monarchy . They demanded the abolition of slavery for Brazil and a new republican order based on technocratic and scientific principles.

The Paulistani Republican Party was founded in São Paulo in 1873 as a split from the Liberal Party. The regional focus of Brazilian republicanism was in the provinces of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. These provinces had an increased military presence due to their proximity to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. But Pedro II was still very popular in Brazil and was supported by both the Conservatives and the Liberals. As a result, the Republicans remained a minority who, above all, could not agree on how to change the regime.

Fonseca headed the army in 1886. As a result of budget cuts for the military, there were repeated clashes between the army and the government in 1887. Thereupon officers founded the military club to safeguard their interests, as its first president Deodoro da Fonseca acted.

After the meanwhile regent Isabel signed the “Golden Law” ( Lei Áurea ) on May 13, 1888 , which freed all 700,000 slaves in Brazil, the emperor lost the support of the conservative planter oligarchy. The Republicans allied with the military took advantage of this. On November 15, 1889, Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca and the republican leaders Ruy Barbosa (1849-1923) and Benjamin Constant (1836-1891) took power in Brazil in a military-civil coup . Emperor Pedro II had to abdicate and go into exile.

Fonseca proclaimed the Republic on the Praça Quinze de Novembro in Rio de Janeiro and headed the provisional government that adopted the first republican constitution on February 24, 1891. The centralist empire was transformed into a federal republic with a presidential system following the example of the USA . The election of the president should be done every four years by a small minority of eligible male adults. The constitution, which was in force until 1930, granted the former provinces, now called states, extensive autonomy vis-à-vis the Union. The central government was only given powers that affected the United States of Brazil as a whole. The positivist motto “order and progress” (Ordem e Progresso) was included in the national coat of arms.

On February 25, 1891, Deodoro da Fonseca was elected President of the Republic. His rapprochement with conservative groups led to considerable tension and culminated in the dissolution of parliament (national congress) by the president. As a result of this measure, the “legalist” movement was formed under the leadership of Vice President Floriano Peixoto , and under pressure Fonseca had to resign from the office of president on November 23, 1891.

Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca died on August 23, 1892 in Rio de Janeiro. During his reign some important reforms were implemented, such as the separation of church and state, the secularization of the cemeteries and the reform of the criminal law.

Hermes Rodrigues da Fonseca (1855-1923), who served as President of Brazil from 1910 to 1914, was a nephew of Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca.


  • Biographies on World History - Lexicon ; VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften; Berlin 1989; ISBN 3-326-00218-1
  • Hans-Joachim König; Little History of Latin America ; Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co., Stuttgart 2006; ISBN 978-3-15-010612-9

Web links

Commons : Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

predecessor Office successor
President of Brazil
Floriano Peixoto