The Brazilian sociologist and historian Oliveira Viana (1883–1951), correctly labeled a racist and proponent of authoritarianism, has been marginalized into oblivion in his own country. Yet no student of Brazil’s interwar period can deny Viana’s central importance. Moreover, Viana’s written legacy, composed of his analyses of Brazil and his contributions to paternalist labor legislation, remains influential.1 Indeed, one can argue, as this essay will, that Viana’s positions regarding Brazil’s problematic political realities still dominate much of contemporary Brazil’s political discourse. Viana’s racist historical sociology was fundamental to his condemnation of liberal democracy and his call for a nationalist statism. Today, too many Brazilians still fear mass participation in political life; too many still look to authoritarian solutions for the challenges posed by political mobilization born of “modernization” and by an age of carnivorous international imperialism.2

Despite Viana’s continuing importance, he and his work are more often noted than known. The reasons for this are, at first glance, hard to discern; after all, although his origins were profoundly provincial, he had risen to national prominence by his thirties. His career as an obscure law professor and provincial public servant was early overshadowed by increasingly influential writing, initially (in the 1910s and 1920s) in the daily papers (which maintained their traditional roles as intellectual reviews for the elite and middle sectors), and then in the form of anthologies and monographs.3

By the 1920s, Viana had achieved preeminence as a publicist, social theorist, and historian. Although he was challenged in the 1930s, especially for his racial views, Viana reached a special brilliance as an established intellectual and a respected servant of Getúlio Vargas’ successive regimes in the era after the Revolution of 1930. Viana served on a special commission to revise the constitution and as a juridical consultant to the Ministry of Labor after 1932. He rose to head the Ministry of Accounts in 1939, after the Vargas-led coup establishing the authoritarian Estado Nôvo (1937–1945). Viana was therefore a key source of the thinking and legislation that triumphed after the Revolution of 1930, which ended Brazil’s first republican era.

Thus, by the end of his middle age, Viana, despite his personal attachment to a life of scholarly retirement in a quiet house in Niterói, had become a noted public presence, a speaker at learned and public meetings. He was also a consecrated intellectual, a member of both the established and exclusive Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasiliero (1921) and the Academia Brasileira de Letras (1940). Viana’s intellectual importance for the broader public is indicated by edition after edition of books first published in the 1920s and 1930s. He published a culminating synthesis as late as 1949, and posthumous publication of manuscripts continued after 1951.

Yet a long subsequent period of relative neglect has only recently ended with a conference of both old followers and younger critics. Indeed, one of the latter, José Murilo de Carvalho, aptly compared the effort to discuss Viana to Orpheus’ descent into hell.4 The neglect that damned this theorist and public figure for so long clearly relates to the marked shift toward liberalism and the Left that has characterized Brazilian intellectual and university life since the 1950s. Interest in the unhappy success of many of the ideas associated with Viana is undoubtedly what has lately turned attention in his direction once again, as Brazilians seek to understand the authoritarian era from which they are now emerging.

This preliminary study is offered as part of that reexamination of Viana’s thought.5 It will attempt, first, a biographical analysis, to recover Viana’s place in his historical and intellectual context as a central figure in the 1920s critique of liberalism in Brazil. Second, it will attempt to show the significance of race in Viana’s influential historical sociology, an analysis fundamental to understanding his explanation of Brazil’s unique sociopolitical dilemma. It will conclude by analyzing Viana’s authoritarian political recommendations in light of that dilemma. Thus it will try both to explain Viana’s importance for his contemporaries and to explore the basis of his legacy.

With regard to that legacy, recent scholarship has generally focused on either race or authoritarianism in Viana’s writing, or has treated them separately. This essay will bring these elements together again by demonstrating that Viana’s racism was central to his historical analysis and reactionary reconstruction of Brazil’s nineteenth-century monarchy, and therefore that his racism was central to the “modern” version of that monarchy he proposed in the 1920s—corporatism.6

The Passing of the Old Ways

Francisco José de Oliveira Viana was a central figure in the intellectual generation that came of age during the Old Republic (1889-1930). As such, his perception of the monarchy (1822–1889) was both learned and secondhand. He was brought up among people who had known it in decline and was schooled by intellectuals who may have helped to bury it (however much they may have come to regret the failures and corruption of the succeeding republican regime). The monarchy had emerged over the long rule of Dom Pedro II (1840–1889) as a centralized regime in which national direction and government patronage were disputed between two traditional parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals. The party chieftains were members or representatives of the great planter and merchant families that dominated provincial society and the national economy. These statesmen were particularly sensitive to the interests of the provinces most powerful at the beginning of Dom Pedro’s reign: Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco, whose coffee, sugar, cotton, and less lucrative exports were grown and harvested on large plantations worked by African and Afro-Brazilian captives and their free descendants.7

In this regime, so beholden to the social and economic traits of the colonial era, nepotism, patronage, and life-tenure appointments locked new groups and recently wealthy provinces out of power. Just as the elite presided over a stable neocolonial order much like that of the old Portuguese colonial realm, it also represented an obstacle to elements that increasingly identified themselves with change, “modernity,” and national regeneration: the entrepreneurs and planters of São Paulo, the urban middle sectors, and the technical-school graduates in the army officer corps. Many of these people would become republicans after 1870; many, abolitionists after 1879; many would become both, associating the political and social traditions of the monarchy with their own political marginality and the nation’s incapacity to achieve the Civilization and Progress attributed to the liberalism of republican France and the United States.

A good deal of the criticism that sapped the prestige of the old regime emanated from the elite’s educational bastions, the traditional law faculties in São Paulo and Recife. At the latter, German and French materialism inspired a generation known as the School of Recife, and more generally as the Generation of ’70. Members of this group of elite intellectual critics participated in the struggle for abolition (1879–1888) and figured among the founders of the Republic in 1889.8

After a decade’s domestic struggle, however, that regime emerged as something quite unlike the republic of their dreams. Its federalist structure was dominated by the state of São Paulo, which turned over local affairs to allies among the local oligarchies dominating each state in exchange for acquiescence to paulista hegemony in national financial affairs and domestic peace. The contradiction between the 1870 political ideals of local democracy and “modern” sociopolitical reform and the fin-de-siècle reality of oligarchy, persistent backwardness, and increased regional disequilibrium provided the rich and humid soil in which the criticisms of Viana’s generation flourished. Indeed, from the civil wars and financial collapse of the 1890s on, the failures of the present often suggested the need for reevaluation of the past and radical reform for the future.9

Oliveira Viana’s family circumstances may well have encouraged a particularly sensitive appreciation of this era as one of threatening transition and decadence. He was born into a planter family of modest means and some local prestige near Saquarema in the Province of Rio de Janeiro.10 Saquarema was distinguished among the province’s towns by its association with the most intransigent faction of the old Conservative Party. Several of the party’s founders had plantation interests near the town; the party and its first leadership were known as the Saquaremas on that account. Viana prized his rural roots throughout his life, holding on to the family plantation long after coming to live in Niterói, and returning there frequently. Abolition, of which he never approved in his historical analyses, was an event that took place in his fifth year; the decline of the fluminense rural economy associated with it was the milieu of his childhood and youth. The velha província—seat and splendor of the old regime, cradle of Brazilian coffee planting and export and the country’s leading coffee producer until 1883, Conservative bastion, rural setting for many of the monarchy’s wealthiest, most aristocratic families—had staggered into an economic and then a political decline in the era 1870–1900 that was irreversible and relatively sudden. Great landholders and proud, slaveholding planters, many with imperial titles, neoclassical city mansions, and plantation great houses boasting imported European luxuries, found themselves and their children reduced to seeking an urban livelihood as liberal professionals and rentiers.11

In Viana’s case, the relative modesty of the family plantation shortened the distance of decline. Still, his biography suggests the general pattern noted. After his father’s death, Viana’s mother moved the family to Niterói to give Viana a better education in preparation for an urban profession. They had enough money to purchase a good deal of urban real estate, as well as to pay for Viana’s private schooling. The young man, whose lifelong respect for science was clear by adolescence, chose engineering at the Escola Politécnica in Rio, the sprawling federal capital across Guanabara Bay. A mishap involving the time of registration changed his life—he arrived too late to enroll at the school and instead was forced to settle for Rio’s law faculty.12 There he studied for several years, precisely as the challenge of “modernity” and imperialism was being engaged by the Republic’s presiding generation of the elite.

The idea that Brazil was lagging behind the pioneers of Civilization and Progress, a key problem for the Generation of ’70, emerged with special urgency after the civil wars, riots, and revolts were smothered under the paulista-led oligarchical alliances associated with the Campos Sales administration of 1898–1902. The capital’s elite in particular spoke of this era as one in which the nation could come forth in the new peace to realize its potential as an emerging great power. The administration of the paulista Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves, profiting from Campos Sales’ political triumph and restored international credit, embarked in 1903 on an extensive renovation of the capital, obvious symbol of the nation’s potential, and of its port, the country’s most important.13

The administration made such gestures of symbolic and practical “modernity while grappling with the world’s great powers during what was also an era of vigorous imperialism. Britain’s financial, commercial, and diplomatic hegemony in Brazil, which predated independence, remained preeminent in Brazilian diplomatic considerations. Indeed, Manoel Ferraz de Campos Sales had secured Brazil’s recovery from international ignominy with a pilgrimage to London’s financial markets even before taking office.14 Some astute members of the elite had feared British intervention during the civil wars and financial collapse of the 1890s; many now saw the United States, which had emerged as a great power by that decade, as a new potential threat.15

The Baron do Rio Branco, Rodrigues Alves’ minister for foreign affairs, ably aided by Joaquim Nabuco, the Brazilian ambassador in Washington, successfully sought to link Brazil to the United States, an adroit move that not only looked beyond the old dependency on Britain but also strengthened Brazil’s position relative to Argentina, Brazil’s traditional regional rival. (Argentina saw its own extraordinary economic success as the basis for a hemispheric competition with the United States.16) The culmination of this diplomacy was the 1906 Pan-American Conference in Rio, where Viana joined other youths in mass demonstrations celebrating the diplomatic triumph.17

If Viana’s provincial childhood had shown him the passing of the society associated with the monarchy, his youth in Rio allowed him to weigh the Republic’s best attempts at meeting the challenges of “modernization” and imperialism. Like many of his generation, the Republic’s first, Viana, over time, came to find the regime’s responses profoundly incompetent. In 1905 he took his law degree, began teaching mathematics at the Colégio Abílio in Niterói, and apparently continued his studies privately. In 1916 he was appointed a law professor at the Faculdade de Direito do Estado do Rio de Janeiro in Niterói. By then he had established his name as a publicist in the dailies of Niterói and Rio. In one of these newspaper essays from the end of this early phase of his career, he argued that the nation’s ruling elite preferred grand ideas rather than engagement with the specificity of Brazil’s problems.

We always base ourselves on systems, theories, doctrines, established ideas . . . we found all our arguments on these theoretical materials, without thinking about mixing them with the least portion, the most insignificant trace of our realities, of the concrete facts of our milieu and of our life.18

The problems associated with “modernity” and imperialism in Brazil were not to be resolved by building Parisian boulevards or informal international relations of dependence. The Republic, with its superficial solutions and false liberalism, would have to be radically reformed—and its elites must understand the national socioeconomic reality if they would construct appropriate political institutions. By 1918, Viana’s thinking had matured to the point where he felt ready to guide the nation toward that construction by providing an analysis of the realities of which he wrote; by providing a historical sociology of Brazil. To grasp the nature and intent of this step requires an understanding of the intellectual milieu in which Viana had been prepared.

Viana’s Historical Sociology: Personal Influences

Materialism in general and scientism in particular, both strongly associated with the Generation of ’70 and the North Atlantic nation-states, pervaded the intellectual and cultural milieu of Viana’s studies. Indeed, Viana’s attraction to the certainties of science apparently figured in the education he got in law school, despite his failure to matriculate in the Escola Politécnica. In the first decade or so of the Republic, the scientism and positivism of many republican militants was a central element in all educational reforms and institutions.19

In Viana’s case, the influence of the earlier generation is clear in the identity of two of Viana’s instructors: Inocêncio Serzedelo Corrêia and Sílvio Romero. Corrêia was a noted positivist, nationalist, and militant—a key figure in the officers’ conspiracy central to the coup of 1889, a minister of state with several portfolios in the dictatorial regime of Floriano Peixoto (1891-1894), and Floriano’s prisoner in 1893. He was also a federal deputy to the Constituent Congress of 1890 and several subsequent legislatures, and a noted orator and economic and financial thinker. He may well have served as a kind of statesman role model, in that he was celebrated for his integrity as well as for his nationalist devotion to public affairs. A defender of statist intervention to protect industrialization, Corrêia taught Viana political economy.20

Romero, however, was far more influential. One of the nation’s two most prestigious literary critics (in an era when literature carried intellectual prestige and national significance), a noted exemplar of the School of Recife, a founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, and a ferocious, scientistic social critic, Romero introduced Viana to Frédéric Le Play’s school of post-positivist sociology, which was so central to Viana’s social thinking in the formative 1910s.21 Like Corrêia, Romero suggested in his personal style and public position a model for the young student—the integrity and devotion of the engagé intellectual.

The third most influential figure in Viana’s youth, Alberto Tôrres, followed the same general pattern; but Tôrres exercised his influence over Viana after law school, in the 1910s, when Viana, in his thirties, had already begun publishing essays. Tôrres was another noted republican militant profoundly influenced by positivism, a one-time governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and a Supreme Court justice. Like Corrêia and Romero, Tôrres distanced himself from the oligarchical corruption triumphant in the Republic after 1894. Retiring to his study, he wrote the nationalist social and political criticism that would prove increasingly influential posthumously, in the 1920s and 1930s (he died in 1917).22 Again, Tôrres embodied a combination of personal integrity, selfless public service, and a principal devotion to intellectual work directed toward Brazilian regeneration. Something of this is clear in Viana’s private correspondence with his mestre in 1915.

Your Excellency asks me to help in “the work of legitimizing this people, foreign in spirit and alienated in character, giving it an ideal for direction and organization.” On this score, to the extent possible, your Excellency may believe, I will act with decided enthusiasm and sincerity. All depends on the opportunities that are opened to me to discuss the nationalist program of which your Excellency is the greatest founder here.23

Each of these three mentors seemingly resonated with Viana’s own temperament and ambitions. Their example suggests much more of Viana’s self-concept and purpose than the more purely intellectual influences that were to follow or the Catholicism that remained a profoundly private part of his life. The important elements might be summarized easily: an intellectual vocation grounded in scientism and devoted to national regeneration, and a career of private study and publication in which public service was secondary and subordinate to the political principles derived from the intellectual work.24 Viana might have disagreed with the actual conclusions they reached: Romero was devoted to democracy and adverse to authoritarianism, and Tôrres was a pioneering opponent of the ideas of racial inequality and determinism.25 Yet although Viana’s disagreement with such points was fundamental, much that is essential to his thought—his scientism, his advocacy of state intervention, his preoccupation with sociology as a key to public policy, his criticism of the Republic’s oligarchies, and his central concern with Brazil’s emergence as a strong nation-state—are very much those men’s legacy.

The Issue of Race

In none of these influences was racial determinism fundamental the way it would be for Viana.26 Beginning with his first and most celebrated monograph, Populações meridionais do Brasil (1920), Viana made Brazil’s racial composition and prospects a basis for his most essential conclusions. He introduced the second edition of that work by proclaiming that the Afro-Brazilian matuto, the rural type from the states of Rio, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo, was

a type perfectly characterized. His influence on the nation’s evolution ... is of the greatest, most accentuated, and flagrant. The present study is entirely dedicated to him, to the investigation of his history, to the analysis of his structure, to the definition of his mentality. In this book, I reveal faults, accentuate defects, demonstrate lines of inferiority and destroy, with a certain frankness, numberless illusions of ours regarding ourselves, regarding our capacities as a people.27

Viana himself would later disclaim the centrality of some details of his racial analyses, yet the thrust of them remained.28 It remained pivotal in his most influential books—the first few of which established his reputation and his decisive stature in the intellectual and political milieu of the 1920s: Populações meridionais, Pequenos estudos de psicologia social (1921), and Evolução do povo brasileiro (1923).29 Although O idealismo na evolução política do Império e da República (1922), O ocaso do império (1926), O idealismo da constituição (1927), and Problemas da politica objectiva (1930), which were specifically political rather than social analyses, obscure this racial preoccupation in his basic work, Viana himself stated that his political works necessarily presumed the earlier conclusions about Brazilian society (in which his racial analysis was basic).30

Part of the reason Viana began with a racial focus was his commitment to sociological and historical analysis as the necessary prelude to political conclusions. He completed his introduction to Populações meridionais by stating:

The problem of our salvation must be resolved by other criteria than those heretofore dominant. From now on, we must grapple with facts and not hypotheses, realities and not fictions, and by a force of heroic will, renew our ideas, remake our culture, retrain our character.

This work of retraining, which is also a work of organization and construction, we can only undertake and conclude successfully, if we apply to ourselves the nosce te ipsum of the ancients and subject our people to a cold and severe analysis of its composition, its structure, the particular tendencies of its mentality and its character.31

Thus, as his mentors Romero and Tôrres had, Viana sought to move beyond the political façades to the social realities of his country. There he was forced to confront the nation’s racial complexity.

Viana’s mentors bequeathed him different lessons about race. Romero, as Thomas Skidmore has noted, pointed to miscegenation as a central reality.32 Although he valued Afro-Brazilian culture and contributions, Romero accepted the racism common in European thinking of the time and presumed racial inequality.33 Tôrres, writing at a later time, was able to take advantage of the beginning of the shift in scholarly racial assumptions associated with Franz Boas.34 He gave his social analysis a more optimistic tone than Romero’s by rejecting scientific racism. While Romero argued that the formation of Brazil’s racial identity through a process of “whitening” would take centuries, Tôrres rejected race as an obstacle to national formation and progress by attacking the presumption of African racial inferiority, and thereby the notion of Brazil’s African legacy as an impediment.35

Viana accepted the dominant scientific racism of his era—despite Torres’ influence—but with greater optimism than was common. He posited that the pernicious racial heritage of Africa would be overcome relatively fast by “whitening,” speeded, first, by the natural weakness and greater mortality of blacks and mulattoes; second, by increased European immigration; and third, by the sexual selection imposed by white men.36

Critics have attacked the basis for his beliefs about Africans and Afro-Brazilians since the 1930s, attributing it to outdated, late nineteenth-century, post-positivist anthropology and sociology.37 Yet such critics may be indulging in anachronism. Scientific racist thought had only been challenged, not overcome, as late as 1911, when Boas, who had first sparred with racial determinism in 1894, finally offered a more developed version of the cultural explanation of human differences with which he is generally associated.38 Indeed, Viana was far from alone in his racial analysis, and as late as the 1930s could refute cultural explanations of racial differences, as well as archaeological defenses of African civilizations, with citations from respectable sources dating from the foregoing decade.39

Thus the oft-repeated argument that Viana’s racism was obsolete in the 1930s is debatable. The racism established in prestigious European circles by 1900 endured into the interwar period, and with it Viana’s unhappy conclusions. In Brazil, the pioneer of “scientific” Afro-Brazilian study, Nina Rodrigues, accepted such theories; it was Tôrres and a few others, notably Edgar Roquette Pinto, who stood alone against the generally accepted racism in the 1920s. Only with Gilberto Freyre’s Casa grande e senzala (1933; translated as The Masters and the Slaves, 1946) was something like a generally accepted challenge to scientific racism launched in Brazil—and Freyre’s own analysis was hardly free of racism.40

Race and Brazil’s Peculiar Historical Burdens

Leaving aside, then, the issue of race in regard to Viana’s intellectual context and relative timeliness, the focus turns to his particular use of race. In Viana’s work, like that of many post-1870 Brazilian thinkers, the question of race was pivotal because he accepted the idea that African influence was demographically and socially central to Brazilian history.41

For Viana, given the racist assumptions of African inferiority and mulatto degeneracy, the conclusions to be drawn from black centrality in Brazilian society were singular. First, the work of Brazilian civilization and nation building had to be understood as the labor of Europeans and their purebred descendants, with only a few notable exceptions (who were mixed-race descendants inclined toward their European heritage). Second, the inherent weakness of people of mixed race would lead to the survival of those with a greater number of European traits and the effective integration of these superior types into the European-descent group. Viana made this point carefully in his fundamental work, Populações meridionais, as he set up the historical ethnology basic to his oeuvre.

All of the historical evolution of our collective mentality has been nothing else but the continuous molding, through known processes of social logic, of the ethnically inferior elements of the popular masses to the Aryan morality, the Aryan mentality, that is, to the spirit and character of the white race. Superior mixed-bloods, those who triumph or rise in our milieu ... do not do so as such, that is, as mixed bloods, by an affirmation of their mixed-blood mentality. . .. They only ascend when they transform themselves and lose their [hybrid] characteristics, when they abandon being psychologically mixed-bloods: because they Aryanize.

Inferior mixed-bloods—those who, by virtue of atavistic regressions, are incapable of ascent and lack the desire to work out this ascent—these remain within their mixed-race type. In the composition of our collective character, they enter, but only as a repellent and troublesome force. Never, however, as a force applied to a superior function: as an element of synthesis, coordination, direction.

That superior function falls to the pure Aryans with the help of the already Aryanized superior mixed-bloods. It is these who, possessing the apparatus of education and discipline, dominate this inchoate, pullulating mob of inferior mixed-bloods and, maintaining it by social and legal repression within the norms of Aryan morality, slowly assimilate it to the mentality of the white race.42

A third conclusion was that Afro-Brazilians, essentially inferior, would forcibly diminish to extinction in the inevitable conflicts with superior groups of European descent or recent immigrant origin. It was this process, which Viana felt was occurring at a relatively rapid rate, that would provide a racial basis suitable for Brazil’s emergence as a competitive nation-state. The alternative was sobering: citing Lapouge in reference to the colonial roots of Brazil’s miscegenation and European racial hegemony, Viana noted:

Any variation in the quality of these component elements—the predomination of such and such a race, of such and such a social type—could have seriously altered our destiny. From the predomination of the Negro and of the mixed-blood in the ruling class of Haiti derives its present disorder.43

A fourth point to be made was that the historical incapacity of the nation’s majority and the vast size of the country predisposed Brazil to an authoritarian, centralized political solution imposed by an enlightened, patriotic elite. This elite authoritarianism, this statism alone had created and preserved the nation in the past and still embodied the best resolution of Brazil’s dilemma for the present and the near future. Indeed, Brazil had no alternative—the state had made the nation; the state alone could preserve it.

The vast perspective of our national public powers was not formed . . . by the slow and profound action of historical agents, which imposed their creation and enduring quality as the basic condition of collective survival. It was organized as such, on the contrary, only as the result of a grand ideal—the ideal of a small minority of great men. . . . The great syncretizing movement . . . developed in our people . . . the consciousness of the omnipotence of State power. . .. That great movement, however, did not lay foundations, it has not had the time—given the deficiency among us of factors of collective integration—morally to found in the people the perfect and clear consciousness of its national unity and the prophetic sentiment of a high historical destiny. . . . That. . . will only be realized by the slow and continuous action of the State—a sovereign, incomparable, centralized, unitary State capable of imposing itself over all of the country by the fascinating prestige of a great national mission.44

Race, the Monarchy, and the Nation’s History

These four conclusions profit from explication. Viana argued that the historical elite credited with successes in colonial pioneering and planting were racially superior, “Aryan” types. Such men, along with other European strains, had laid the nation’s foundations; their descendants, eugenically selected and tested generation by generation, continually appeared in the nation’s elite.45 Those who mixed racially generally reverted to the inferior racial type, although enough European blood might favor an assimilation toward European traits.46 As his opponents liked to note, Viana himself (like Nina Rodrigues) was perceived to be mulatto. If this is so, he must have explained his own position to himself in that fashion.47

Viana’s prediction of a relatively rapid “whitening” stemmed from his study of census data and prevalent notions of miscegenation and genetic degeneration. The census material demonstrated a progressive “whitening,” which Viana took as confirmation of the accepted idea that mulattoes’ reproduction was naturally inferior and that blacks, as a weaker race, were losing to their natural superiors in the struggle for life that the era’s Social Darwinism assumed. Viana predicted the extinction or absorption of people of African descent within a few generations.48

It was in this perceived context that Viana understood the mission, past and present, of the European-descent elites. Elitism was not unusual in the post-positivist milieu of the era, especially given the manifest failure of Brazilian democracy under the Old Republic.49 Elitism, moreover, found fertile ground in Brazil’s political traditions, both those Viana emphasized and those that subsequent research has verified. Furthermore, other critics of the Republic attempted to understand the failures of its ideals through analysis of the national context, of Brazil’s “reality,” by which they meant its socioeconomic problems.50 What distinguishes Viana’s elitism and contextual analysis is that Viana appealed to history. He sought grounds for his political criticism not only in the contemporary realities behind the façade of political institutions but in the past realities of the country. Moreover, he claimed that this, the only useful way to understand contemporary predicaments, also pointed to contemporary solutions. It is indicative that Viana emphasized the primacy of history on the first page of his first book, in explaining his choice of field.

I undertook . . . a work, arid at times, at times full of ineffable enchantment: to investigate in the dust of our past the seeds of our present ideas, the first dawn of our national psyche. The past lives in us, latent, obscure, in the cells of our subconscious. It is it which directs us still today with its invisible, but inevitable and fatal influence.51

The great weight of Viana’s social analysis of race in Brazilian history was balanced by his political analysis of the state’s historical role and the associated issue of the failure of liberalism. For Viana, the racial weakness of the Brazilian people required the strong hand of an enlightened, selfless elite. Brutish, lacking the capacity for political participation, socially and economically dependent, naturally predisposed to follow their patrão, Brazilians had neither the genetic capability nor the historical tradition necessary for liberal democracy. The latter depended on superior racial stock, enlightened public opinion, a tradition of local political participation; in sum, the heritage organically created in the specific historical contexts of England and the United States.52

Brazil’s tradition had been rural patriarchy and racial hierarchy, barely soldered together across the vast half-continent by the colonial government of the Portuguese crown. Indeed, for Viana, the great political solution to the perennial dilemma of social chaos and national dismemberment lay with the crown—specifically, Brazil’s nineteenth-century monarchy. The Republic, through the devolution of power to the state oligarchies and the broadcast fantasy of liberal democracy, continued to risk a hard-won social order and national unity. This crisis, palpable by the 1920s, was a result of the elites’ bewitchment with ideologies born of others’ historical experiences; it could only be resolved by seeking Brazilian solutions derived organically from Brazilian political experience. In the preface to his most focused attack on elite liberalism, Viana put it this way:

Of the democratic constructions raised on our soil . . . none really succeeded in surviving in their original form: all were condemned to failure. One searches, however, for the cause of this failure—and one sees that it is exactly in that none of these constructions was built on foundations rising out of the soil of our living reality—of our social reality—of our national reality.

This national reality teaches us much. Among the matters taught is this: that, yesterday as today, the problem of democracy in Brazil has been poorly stated, and this because it has been stated in the English manner, the French manner, the American manner; but never in the Brazilian manner.53

In Viana’s view, the monarchy had successfully suppressed the threat to unity posed by selfish local elite interests while creating and maintaining the social order. Viana made his argument best, perhaps, in a discussion in which he identified the monarchy in Brazilian history with the institution of the state itself, and defined the state/monarchy’s role.

Because of the absence, in the history of our national formation, of effective agents of social integration and political integration at the moment of independence, the principal problem of our organization is . . . on the one side—a problem of authority and discipline; on the other— a problem of concentration and unity.

A problem, as one sees, of the building and the framework of the nation: one treats of giving our national aggregate mass, form, fiber, nerve, bone, character. A problem, then, of condensation, of concentration, of unification, of synthesis. A problem, then, whose solution would only be possible through the conscious action of organized force. That is: by the institution of a centralized State, with a national government powerful, dominating, unifying, incomparable, provided with the means sufficient to realize in their fullness its two great capital objectives—the consolidation of the nation and the organization of its legal order.

That is the rational, organic, essentially New World solution to the problem of our political organization. A solution practical and concrete, in which all of our national necessities are reflected.54

Viana argued that the state/monarchy’s mission was carried out through the charismatic quality of the emperor, the sage advice of his selfless councillors and ministers, and the highly centralized mechanisms of the state, which effectively created enlightened authoritarian rule under the guise of a constitutional monarchy. Viana concluded his analysis of the crown in his first work by noting of Dom Pedro II:

During the half-century of his reign, he exercised the most noble of dictatorships—that “dictatorship of morality, ” of which a historian speaks, and that is, doubtless, the most powerful force of moral rectification in the public and private order that our people ever knew.55

Viana’s conclusions are clear. A centralized state, organized and directed by white men; men of character, patriotism, and experience; under the hand of a subtle and devoted prince—it was these that had made and preserved the nation against the dissolving forces of local patriarchs and their violent, unstable, Afro-Brazilian dependents. Society and state alike had been the work of whites, who had cut through the rain forests, discovered the mines, settled the wilderness, enslaved people of color and begotten more; who held freedmen and slaves in check and in turn were checked in their local ambitions only by the crown and its servants, under the watchful eye and stern authority of a veiled but effective conservative dictatorship.

The problem had been and still was a society sapped by racial weakness. Liberalism, meant for superior peoples elsewhere, would not do. The solution was enlightened, nationalist authority to preserve the country against its people while the process of “whitening” continued. History, the only true field of study for the social theorist, demonstrated both the origins and the solution of the national dilemma. Now the challenge was to discard the Europhile idealism of those seduced by liberal constitutions and seek a modern response that conformed to successful Brazilian traditions.

Viana’s Political Response: The Appeal of Corporatism

For Viana that solution and search led to a form of corporatism. While this development is clear, why and how it happened is central to the present analysis. To begin with, an authoritarian political tradition was clearly manifest in Viana’s milieu despite the vogue for liberal republican constitutionalism between 1870 and 1891. Such a tradition would surely support a turn to corporatism. The nature of that tradition and its influence, however, are subjects for debate.

It has been argued, for instance, that Viana arrived at his political position by way of the Catholic labor paternalism of the era, which in turn reinforced Iberian traditions of organic hierarchy and patriarchal authority.56 It has also been argued that Viana was influenced by reading Paulino José Soares de Sousa, viscount do Uruguai. The viscount, a premier statesman and publicist of the monarchy’s Conservative Party, had articulated the party’s early political theory, which turned on the principle of monarchical authority and a highly centralized state in Brazil’s specific sociopolitical context.57

Although the Catholic and Conservative traditions may have been influential in Viana’s era, it is difficult to demonstrate their direct impact on Viana himself. Certainly, they had little to do with Viana’s arguments as he made and supported them. Viana mentions Uruguai and the Conservatives only en passant or refers to them as emblematic of the political elite and its work; his references to Catholic thought are negligible. In effect, his work shows no consistent pattern of reference to or acknowledgment of either as a central influence.58 This lack of explicit acknowledgment cannot be dismissed. Viana’s work conveys the impression of an intellectual who was very clear on the origins and logic of his thought; he makes the continuities and sources patent in his published writings. If either the Catholic or Conservative influence were fundamental for him, he could be expected to have made it clear.59

Still, even though no clear acknowledgment of influence is made, there are indirect grounds for such claims that should be examined. It is true, for instance, that Viana was well read in Catholic theology, familiar with contemporary Catholic remedies for the “Social Question,” a member of the Legion of the Sacred Heart, and a speaker at one Catholic public meeting at least. Such Catholicism, however, does not necessarily make him a Catholic thinker or a thinker formed by Catholic social thought.

Indeed, Viana mentions Catholic social thought only twice, in two speeches; and on the one occasion when clarity on the issue might have been expected, ambiguity was marked. In 1945, addressing a Catholic audience about the inspiration for Vargas’ social legislation, Viana very carefully walked around the issue of his own intellectual debt to the church. While happy to point out to this audience how his thinking—as well as the legislation and the Vargas regime he represented—was congruent with papal dicta, he did not assert that the former originated with the latter.60

He argued instead that the congruence of church teachings and the paternalist labor legislation with which he was closely associated was a natural coincidence: the parallels originated in his successful understanding of Brazilian society. The legislation, so he argued, was inspired by the study of Brazil’s specific realities; it coincided with church thinking derived from the reality that Brazilian society was organically Catholic. Thus Viana declared to his audience that the church’s position on the “Social Question” was, in contrast to Communism, the only one appropriate to Brazil; but he justified this position in sociological terms.

Brazil is a country entirely drunk with Catholicism and its spirit. . . . The Catholic spirit has surrounded it, for nearly five centuries, like a radiant fluid and has been absorbed within it through all the pores of its moral sensibility. . . .

It matters little that there may be dissidents who question the Catholic inspiration of this legislation; who deny that the spirit of the Church’s social doctrine might have presided over its elaboration. . . . These negativists forget. . . the fact of the immanence of the Christian and Catholic spirit in our people. . . .

I have already said elsewhere . . . concerning our social policies, and I repeat it now: in its substance and in its direction, our social policy has attempted to respond to the great impositions of the moral conscience of our people.61

In a phrase, although Viana cited Catholic social thought opportunistically in political speeches, it did not inform his work as a whole.62

With regard to the Conservative tradition and its influence, salient parallels can be traced between the Viscount do Uruguai’s centralized authoritarianism and particularism and Viana’s positions. Those parallels, however, might have more to do with a kind of common neocolonial intellectual sociology. Both Uruguai and Viana attempted to help protect a specific social order and build a particular nation while individually engaged with, and seeking support from, the social and political thinking of two different epochs of the North Atlantic world. For Uruguai, the solution for Brazil was a liberal, constitutionalist monarchism derived from the French postrevolutionary thinking so fashionable in the early nineteenth century.63 For Viana, the solution for Brazil was a post-positivist corporatism and technocracy that derived from the North Atlantic thinkers and political statists fashionable in the early twentieth century.

Yet however parallel some aspects of their social and political thinking, the two thinkers differ fundamentally. Often their differences have to do with their distinct intellectual contexts. However embittered by contemporary politics, for example, Uruguai remained a liberal constitutionalist who assumed the principle of individual rights and liberties and the necessity that Brazilians be prepared for self-government.64 Viana, on the other hand, argued that individualism, constitutional idealism, and the possibility of local self-government were a façade at best. Instead, Viana held that society and its constituent productive groups came first as Brazil chose the path of the future—corporatism.

Of course, to deny primacy to Catholicism or the Viscount do Uruguai as influences on Viana’s corporatism is not to argue that Viana owed nothing to Brazilian thinkers or traditions. Rather, here the argument is that Viana was part of a more recent trend in Brazilian intellectual circles. As indicated earlier, Viana had explicit debts among the Generation of ’70 and the post-positivist Europeans on whom it drew. As Bolivar Lamounier has argued, specific authoritarian, organicist, statist elements were at play in the social and political thought of the era 1870-1914, elements that informed the assumptions of many in Brazil.65

The appeal of corporatism for Brazilian intellectuals of Viana’s generation is easy to discern. The common scientism and positivism, combined with the authoritarian quality of the nation’s political traditions, might easily condition a favorable response to corporatism. In Viana’s case, as someone personally affected by the decline of the old authoritarian society of the monarchy and someone trained by people suffused with the positivism and scientism common to the Generation of ’70, the predisposition is patent.

This generational context is easily illustrated. Trabalhismo, the labor paternalism of the 1890s, for example, was practiced by post-positivist militants in Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul, who were influenced by Comte’s authoritarian, inclusionary attitudes toward workers.66 Both Corrêia and Tôrres also express the idea of a strong state intervening in society to promote material progress and national competitiveness in the struggle for survival.67 This is also a generation in which the appeal to the elites to undertake national regeneration, a positivist commonplace, is assumed. The celebrated anthology to which Viana contributed along with younger critics, A margem da história da República (1924), is emblematic of the era. It was organized by Vicente Licínio Cardoso, a positivist intellectual and the son of an orthodox positivist, as a critical analysis of the regime and an implicit appeal to the nation’s elites by a new generation.68

Viana’s fundamental belief in the centrality of a social-scientific appeal to the elites, a belief and an appeal stated explicitly throughout his first works, is therefore hardly peculiar to him. He was not alone when he concluded his introduction to Populações meridionais by noting that the work’s “intention . . . [was] that of bringing to those responsible for the guidance of the country, for the objective understanding of our people, a small contribution. . . .”69

Authoritarianism, positivism, and scientism; inclusionary attitudes toward the working class; statist nationalism; statist intervention for material progress; and a presumption of elite-led sociopolitical renovation were virtually in the air Viana breathed, very much the legacy of the Generation of’70. Corporatism, a European post-positivist ideology that predated and apparently informed fascism, simply pulled all these threads together, with the panache of association with modern political movements many admired in the 1920s and 1930s.70

Corporatism has been variously defined, and its antecedents and origins thus remain correspondingly disputed.71 For the purpose of this essay it means the vague, eclectic proposals Viana promoted, based explicitly on the theoretical propositions of interwar writers, especially Mihai Manoilescu, Sergio Panunzio, and François Perroux, and the examples provided by Italy, Germany, and the United States.72 Vieira has traced Viana’s idea of a corporatist solution to Brazil’s dilemmas to the era 1925—1928, and research has verified this.73 But Vieira, whose study focuses precisely on corporatism and authoritarianism in Viana, has persuasively argued that Viana’s use of corporatist theory and foreign example was opportunistically eclectic. Viana himself was remarkably frank in regard to ideological influence, coherence, and theory per se at his career’s beginning in 1921.

Before all and every doctrinal system, social, juridical, or political, the best attitude ought to be a pragmatic attitude. These systems, these doctrines, are only worth something according to their results: if these are good, the doctrine is good; if bad, the doctrine is bad. We ought never worry ourselves with knowing if a doctrine is theoretically good.74

In a phrase, as an intellectual, Viana took what served his purpose.75

From surveying his writings of the 1920s and 1930s, it seems that his purpose was to argue for a nationalist, authoritarian statism in which the individual was subordinate to the functional or productive group, which was vertically organized to include workers and management. The group, in turn, conveyed its interests to the state executive through a representative assembly and through technical advisory councils. Thereby informed and advised, the state executive led the nation toward material progress; the public good defined social and economic policies. Law was to correspond to social context rather than to abstract, individual rights.76

Although much of this is compatible with the church’s late nineteenth-century social thought, and although one of the church’s principal spokesmen, the corporatist and monarchist La Tour du Pin La Charge, had much in common with Viana, the parallels with the church seem coincidental and superfluous.77 Viana’s explicit statements and intellectual choices show that the intellectual origins of his political response lie within the compass of late nineteenth-century post-positivist sociology.78 Thus the reason for a corporatist solution from a thinker of Viana’s background can be expected to be derived not from church social doctrine or the Conservative political tradition but from the “scientific” study of the organic process of society— from the study of its history.

History and the Corporatist Solution

It is to be expected, then, that Viana should come to corporatism as he extended from his historical sociology (ca. 1900 to early 1920s) to his focused analysis of the historical failure of the Old Republic and its liberalism (Pequenos estudos, 1921; O idealismo na evolução política, 1922; O idealismo da constituição, 1927) and the virtues of the monarchy (O ocaso do Império, 1926). As he pursued his analysis, Viana came to ascribe these failures to the fundamentally alien quality of liberalism vis-à-vis Brazil’s social formation (that is, a historical evolution marked by racial weakness and consequent social pathology). Thus it is logical that he would explore and celebrate the apparent successes of the regime that liberalism supplanted. He argued that the monarchy—organic, authoritarian, centralizing—had constructed and preserved the nation’s foundations. By the mid-i920S, he had begun to couple this historical analysis with a proposed return to the tried, successful solution the monarchy embodied—by way of an elitist renovation through a nationalist, authoritarian corporatism.

To elaborate a bit, it should be recalled that Viana, in his reconstruction of the monarchy, emphasized an authoritarian, centralized state in which the emperor, advised by councils and served by ministers of tested experience and patriotism selected from the society’s natural elite, preserved the nation’s integrity and promoted progress appropriate to Brazil’s socioeconomic realities.79 In most essentials, the corporatism Viana proposed was parallel—with its emphasis on the executive, on councils and representatives of the nation’s elites, on national unity, progress, and national specificity. Of course, much had changed in Brazilian society between the nineteenth century Viana celebrated and the twentieth century with which he grappled. Brazil now confronted “modernity,” the challenging realities born of the dramatic development of commerce, urbanization, and industrialization.80 Yet it was precisely these realities that Viana sought to contain by proposing corporatism as a response to their challenge to the old social order. Corporatism’s social and economic controls could serve the new Brazil in much the same way Viana believed the monarchy did in the old. Corporatism was the monarchy adapted to modern Brazil.

After all, Viana perceived himself and was perceived by others as a modern, scientific thinker—not a nostalgic reactionary.81 Corporatism served him admirably: its theorists and foreign exemplars were up to date while suggesting a way to return to the organic certainties Viana found in the past. It should be noted in this regard that although clearly an apologist for the monarchy, Viana was no monarchist—that would have been backward.82 Thus, while Viana’s reading of history provided the analysis of the social and political problems of racial inadequacy and failed liberalism and suggested the correct political model in the triumph of the Empire, contemporary corporatism provided the congenial new medium for the same success the monarchy had achieved: social order, material progress, national strength. In an essay (republished just before the Revolution of 1930) in which Viana sought to rehabilitate Alberto Tôrres’ political thought for a new generation, he pulled much of this together explicitly.

Really, Tôrres saw the problem with foresight. He felt, 20 years ago, that which everyone feels today: that everything in our present is imposing the creation of some powerful center of firmness, of stability, of coordination for our political life. . . . This center . . . needs to come, needs to be invented, needs to be discovered. For 40 years, our political life has run without continuity, incoherent, very unstable, changing every minute. . . . This instability . . . derives precisely from the absence of a permanent center of direction and balance at the upper reaches of the regime. . . .

During the Empire . . . our great statesmen of the Conservative school [constructed] as an effective means for regulation and repression, three essentially political powers—the Crown, the Senate, and the Council of State. They were three colossal powers because of strength, because of prestige, [and] because of their origins from a long historical tradition.

The republican constitutionalists . . . did not hesitate to take down, one by one, without the least attention to our realities . . . these admirable constitutional apparatuses . . . with which the Empire achieved, for a half-century ... a bit of continuity, permanence, [and] order.83

An Enduring Legacy

In the 1920s, Viana, scion of a lesser provincial planter family trained in the scientistic sociology of the late nineteenth century, addressed the problem of contemporary political failure. His analysis knit racism to a reaction against liberalism. He argued that white elites had created Brazil by using the labor of people of color inherently incapable of higher civilization. He asserted that the monarchy, a conservative, centralized, authoritarian regime, had unified the nation and brought it progress despite the incapacity of its masses and the selfish ambitions of local potentates, negative forces to which the monarchy and its statesmen were the organic, necessary response.

Viana concluded that liberalism, which presumed a racial capacity for and traditional practice of self-government and public opinion, was clearly and logically inappropriate for Brazil, and that its superficial institutionalization in the Republic had resulted in an unsurprisingly radical failure. Viana proposed instead that the nation turn to a more modern version of the monarchy: corporatism, which, by its emphasis on the state, authority, the public good, national progress, elite direction, and class harmony, would provide institutions appropriate to Brazil’s political instability, social incoherence, and international vulnerability.

Although explicit racism has faded from Brazil’s public political discourse, much of what Viana argued still rings true for many in the Brazilian elites and middle sectors. Many of the principal intellectual and political leaders during the military regime of 1964-85 were young men during the interwar period, when Viana was most influential.84 The argument for the post-1964 regime recalled many of Viana’s points: the political incapacity of the masses; the need for an authentically Brazilian solution to the problems of development; the fundamental hypocrisy and incapacity of liberalism and its politics; the necessity of enlightened statist intervention for the good of the nation; the identification of the nation’s best interests with the leadership of the elites.85

Viana’s solution—authoritarian, nationalist statism—persists; only its fundamental justification—racial incapacity—has been obscured. Yet although seemingly absent, probably because of the general opprobrium attached to racism by association with the Axis regimes, the argument of racial incapacity may still survive—and perhaps become more dangerous because it is no longer a subject of public debate.86 Freyre, who did so much to celebrate African contributions to the nation and who stressed a national predisposition for racial harmony, contributed much to this shift. The reasons for presumed mass political incapacity are now commonly ascribed to a vague notion of a wretched historical apprenticeship.87 The appeal to the past continues—it is what is found there that has changed.

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the American Philosophical Society, the Division of Sponsored Research of the University of Florida, and the National Endowment for the Humanities for part of the research on which this article is based. The author also thanks Mark D. Szuchman and the anonymous HAHR reviewers for their valuable criticism. This study derives from a paper delivered at the Latin American Studies Association meeting, December 1989, and a longer piece presented at the American Historical Association meeting, December 1992. The author is grateful to Randal Johnson, Dain Borges, and Robert M. Levine for their interest and encouragement.


On Viana’s marginalization, see José Murilo de Carvalho, “A utopia de Oliveira Viana,” Estudos Históricos 4:7 (1991), 83. On Viana’s importance, see Wilson Martins, História da inteligência brasileira, vol. 6 (São Paulo: Cultrix, 1978), 194, 197, 261, 396, 409, 410, 488, 489; and the chapter on Viana in idem, The Modernist Idea: A Critical Survey of Brazilian Writing in the Twentieth Century (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1970), 240–43. See also Bolivar Lamounier, “Formação de um pensamento politico autoritária na Primeira República,” in História geral da civilização brasileira, ed. Boris Fausto (São Paulo: DIFEL, 1977), t. 3, v. 2, pp. 365–66; Vanilda Paiva, “Oliveira Viana,” Encontros com a civilização brasileira 3 (Sept. 1978), 127-56; João Cruz Costa, A History of Ideas in Brazil (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1964), 267–68. An analytical résumé of the era’s trends and recent historiography is Dain Borges, “Brazilian Social Thought of the 1930s,” Luso-Brazilian Review 32:2 (Winter 1994), 137-50.


The concept of “modern” is often assumed to be value-free when actually it is profoundly laden with values and associations derived from the historical experience of the United States, England, France, and Germany. “Modern” should mean something contemporary; it really means something associated with the material and cultural achievements of the most industrialized nations. Hence its placement in quotation marks in this essay.


Viana discusses his beginnings as a writer in “So a fe constroe,” O Estado (Niterói), Aug. 18, 1940, clipping in Arquivo Oliveira Viana, Niterói (hereafter AOV), 3981.6.


Carvalho, “A utopia,” 82, 83. Carvalho also offers a recent bibliography, 97–98. The conference for which Carvalho prepared this paper was organized by the Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas da Unicamp, Mar. 12–14, 1991. Personal communication from Carvalho and Lúcia Lippi Oliveira. The conference papers have since been published as O pensamento de Oliveira Viana, comp. Elide Rugai Bastos and João Quartini de Moraes (Campinas: Unicamp, 1993).


This study is preliminary in the sense that it anticipates part of a longer one, an examination of Brazilian conservative social and political thought between 1830 and 1940.


See, e.g., Antonio Candido, “Radicalismes,” Estudos Avançados 4:8 (1990), 17; Carvalho, “A utopia,”; José Honório Rodrigues, História da história do Brasil, v. 2, t. 2, A metafísica do latifúndio: o ultrareactionário Oliveira Viana (São Paulo: Nacional, 1988); Antonio Paim, introduction to Populações meridionais do Brasil e instituições políticas brasileiras, by Oliveira Viana ([reprint ed.] Brasília: Camara dos Deputados, 1982); Jarbas Medeiros, Ideologia autoritària no Brasil, 1930–1945 (Rio de Janeiro: Getúlio Vargas, 1978), 155–217; Evaldo Amaro Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo no Brasil (São Paulo: Cortez, 1981). Our only biographical monograph is Vasconcellos Torres, Oliveira Viana: sua vida e sua posição nos estudos brasileiros de sociologia (Rio de Janeiro: Freitas Bastos, 1956), a disciple’s hagiography. Candido alludes to the link between race and authoritarianism, and Medeiros notes the theme of racism and elitism in his résumé of Viana. Two polemical pieces also emphasize a link: see Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, “Cultura e política,” [ca. 1949] in his Tentativas de mitologia (São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1979), chap. 1, esp. 8–14; and Paiva, “Oliveira Viana,” who attacks Viana’s racism as pivotal to his alleged apology for class oppression and imperialism. Bastos and Moraes, O pensamento de Oliveira Viana (note 4) came to the author too late for review here.


The historiography of the monarchy is undergoing something of a renaissance. The classical account is Joaquim Nabuco, Um estadista do imperio, 3 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1898-99). A résumé of the 1930s analyses is Clarence Haring, Empire in Brazil (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1958). The recent harvest includes José Murilo de Carvalho, A construção da ordem (Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 1980), and Teatro de sombras (Rio de Janeiro: Vertice and IUPERJ, 1988); Emília Viotti da Costa, The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1985); Roderick J. Barman, Brazil: The Forging of a Nation (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1989); and Richard Graham, Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1990). See also the chapters by Bethell, Carvalho, Graham, and da Costa in The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 4, C. 1870-1930, ed. Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985).


See Nabuco, Um estadista do imperio, and Minha formação (Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1899); Cruz Costa, History of Ideas in Brazil; Roderick J. Barman and Jean Barman, “The Role of the Law Graduate in the Political Elite of Imperial Brazil,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 18:4 (Nov. 1976), 723–50; Richard Graham, Britain and the Onset of Modernization in Brazil, 1850–1314 (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1968); Robert E. Conrad, The Destruction of Brazilian Slavery, 1850–1888 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1972); da Costa, Brazilian Empire, and her essay on Brazil from 1870 to 1889 in Bethell, Cambridge History, vol. 4; and Jeffrey D. Needell, “A Liberal Embraces Monarchy,” The Americas 48:2 (Oct. 1991), 159–80.


For recent analyses of the Republic’s early ideological and political development, see José Murilo de Carvalho, Os bestializados (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1988); idem, A formação das almas (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1990); and Jeffrey D. Needell, “The Revolta Contra Vacina of 1904: The Revolt Against ‘Modernization’ in Belle-Epoque Rio de Janeiro,” HAHR 67:2 (May 1987), 233–69. On the regional-federal issues, see Joseph Love, Rio Grande do Sul and Brazilian Regionalism, 1882–1330 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1971) and idem, São Paulo in the Brazilian Federation, 1883–1337 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1978), as well as the companion studies of Pernambuco and Minas Gerais published simultaneously by Robert M. Levine and John Wirth, respectively. On the ideological crisis of the 1920s, see Peter Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis (Boulder: Westview, 1978), chap. 3; and Needell, “Liberal Embraces Monarchy,” 174–77.


Interview with Eunimar Barros, Viana’s grandniece, Feb. 5, 1991, Niterói; see also V. Torres, Oliveira Viana.


On the Saquaremas, see limar Rohloff de Mattos, O tempo saquarema (São Paulo: Huicitec, 1987). On Viana’s attachment to his fazenda, Rio Seco, Barros stated that Viana returned weekly. Interviews with Barros, Feb. 5, 15, 1991. On abolition and fluminense decline, see, e.g., Oliveira Viana, Populações meridionais do Brasil, 2d ed. (São Paulo: Monteiro Lobato, 1922), viii-ix. All subsequent citations of Populações meridionais refer to this edition. Cf. Stanley J. Stein, Vassouras: A Brazilian Coffee County, 1850–1900 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1957), chaps. 10, 11, who notes the state’s partial economic recovery along other lines. On shifts in the elite’s fortunes, see Jeffrey D. Needell, A Tropical Belle Epoque: Elite Culture and Society in Turn-of-the-Century Rio de Janeiro (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), chaps. 2, 3. An appraisal of the state’s political fortunes after 1889 is Marieta de Moraes Ferreira, ed., A República na velha província (Rio de Janeiro: Rio Fundo, 1989).


Interview with Barros, Feb. 5, 1991.


Needell, Tropical Belle Epoque, chap. 1.


On British hegemony, see Allan K. Manchester, British Preeminence in Brazil, 2d ed. (New York: Octagon, 1964); and Graham, Britain and the Onset of Modernization. On the Campos Sales administration and its financial concerns, see the memoir by Tobias Monteiro, O presidente Campos Salles na Europa (Rio de Janeiro: Briguet, 1928), lxxxiii, 16, and chap. 7; Manoel Ferraz de Campos Salles, Da propaganda à presidência (São Paulo: n.p., 1908), chap. 5. A critical analysis is Francisco de Assis Barbosa, “A presidência Campos Sales,” Luso-Brazilian Review 5:1 (June 1968), 3–26.


See, e.g., the 1890s correspondence of Joaquim Nabuco in Cartas a amigos (São Paulo: Progreso, 1949), vol. 1. Cf. idem, A intervenção estrangeira durante a revolta (Rio de Janeiro: Leuzinger, 1896), 109–12, and Balmaceda (Rio de Janeiro: Leuzinger, 1895), 212–15. See also Eduardo Prado, A illusão americana, 2d ed. (Paris: Colin, 1895). A résumé of the diplomatic situation is ably presented in E. Bradford Burns, The Unwritten Alliance: Rio Branco and Brazilian-American Relations (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1966).


See Burns, Unwritten Alliance; Alvaro Lins, Rio-Branco, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1945), vol. 1, chap. 11; Carolina Nabuco, A vida de Joaquim Nabuco (São Paulo: Nacional, 1928), pt. 4, chaps. 4–6; Thomas F. McGann, Argentina, the United States, and the Inter-American System, 1880–1914 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1957).


Viana recalled the episode in his celebration of “Joaquim Nabuco,” in Pequenos estados de psicología social (São Paulo: Monteiro Lobato, 1921), 192–206.


Idem, “Nacionalismo e questão social,” in ibid., 87–98.


See Robert G. Nachman, “Positivism, Modernization, and the Middle Class in Brazil,” HAHR 57:1 (Feb. 1977), 1–23. The transition is clear in the curricula of the Colégio Pedro II, premier secondary school of the Second Reign and the first years of the Old Republic and official model for national public schooling. See [Imperial Collegio Pedro II] Programa . . . 1862, or Plano e programa . . . 1876 (Rio de Janeiro: Nacional, 1882); and [Gymnasio Nacional] Programa de ensino . . . 1892 (Rio de Janeiro: Nacional, 1892); and Collegio Pedro II, “Regulamento do Collegio” [1911], in Annuario do Collegio Pedro II . . . 10 anno (Rio de Janeiro: Revista dos Tribunaes, 1914).


See Dunshee de Abranches, Governos e congressos da república, los Estados Unidos do Brasil, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Abranches, 1918), 1:74–75; and Washington Luis Neto, introduction to O problema econômico no Brasil, 1903, by Inocêncio Serzedelo Corrêia (Brasília: Senado Federal, 1980).


Sílvio Romero’s great work is História da literatura brasileira, 1888 (various eds.). Viana mentions Romero’s formative influence in “Urn leplayano dissidente,” Correia da Manhã (Rio de Janeiro), Feb. 2, 1929. On Romero himself, see M. García Mérou, El Brasil intelectual: impressiones y notas literarias (Buenos Aires: F. Lajouane, 1900); João do Rio, O momento literarias (Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1908), 35–49; Antonio Candido, O método crítico de Silvio Romero, 2d ed. (São Paulo: Editora Univ. de São Paulo, 1988); Cruz Costa, History of Ideas in Brazil, 187–97; Carlos Süssekind de Mendonça, Sílvio Romero: sua formação intelectual, 1851–1880 (São Paulo: Nacional, 1938); José Veríssimo, Estudos de literatura brasileira, 6 vols. (Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia, 1977), vol. 1, chap. 3, vol. 6, chap. 1. On Romero’s sociology and racial thought, see Thomas E. Skidmore, Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1974), 32–37. On the literary milieu, see Needell, Tropical Belle Epoque, 185–233. José Verissimo was the other major critic. See João Alexandre Barbosa, A tradição do impasse (São Paulo: Atica, 1974). Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play (1806–1882) was a noted French sociologist and the author of La constitution essentielle de l’humanité and La réforme sociale en France déduite de l’observation comparée des peuples européens. See Michael Z. Brooke, Le Play, Engineer and Social Scientist: The Life and Work of Frédéric Le Play (Harlow: Longmans, 1970).


On Tôrres, see Barbosa Lima Sobrinho, A presença de Alberto Tôrres (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1968); and the introductions to the recent editions of his work by Francisco Iglesias. See also Dalmo Barreto, Alberto Tôrres: sociólogo ejornalista (Niterói: Oficial, 1970), which focuses on Tôrres’ influential journalism. Viana notes Tôrres’ influence in his “Guiza de prefacio” to As idéas de Alberto Tôrres, 2d ed., ed. Alcides Gentil (São Paulo: Nacional, 1938), iii–vi. There Viana also states that he was the Tôrres disciple most often in disagreement with the mestre. His respect for Tôrres is palpable in his correspondence. See, e g., F. J. Oliveira Viana to Ex. Sr. Dr. A. Tôrres, draft copy, Niterói, 1909, AOV, 1023.1.


Viana to Alberto Tôrres, Niterói, Jan. 27, 1915, uncatalogued letter, Estate of Alberto Torres, Itaborai.


See, e.g., Viana to Oswaldo Aranha [probably Niterói, ca. 1935], AOV, 1023.29.


On Romero’s politics, see the essay by Evaristo de Moraes Filho and the texts in pt. 1 of Romero’s Realidades e ilusões no Brasil (1893–1913; reprint, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1979). On Tôrres’ attitude toward race and Brazil, see Alberto Tôrres, O problema national brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Nacional, 1914), 47–49, 59–60, 136–37, and A organização national (Rio de Janeiro: Nacional, 1914), 81, 82–84, 197–98. It is notable, however, that Tôrres was unable to free himself entirely from the racist assumptions of his age. See Gentil, As idéas, chap. 13.


This statement must be qualified with regard to Romero, who was greatly preoccupied with race. Yet Skidmore notes that however central race and racial determinism were to Romero’s concept of Brazilian reality, Romero did not come to a firm conclusion regarding their impact. They were characteristic motifs in his work, but they did not inform consistent conclusions. Skidmore, Black into White, 35–37.


Viana, Populaçõs meridionais, v–vi. On the ethnology of the matuto, see chap. 6.


Viana argued that his claims for the significance of Georges Vacher de Lapouge’s Homo europeus among the pioneers of São Paulo were hypothetical and that their importance was exaggerated by critics’ bad faith. Viana, preface, Evolução do povo brasileiro, 2d ed. (São Paulo: Nacional, 1933), 1-14.


See Populações meridionais; Pequenos estudos, pt. 2; and Evolução do povo, pt. 2, the central portion of his analysis. It is notable that Evolução do povo was initially published as a preface to the census of 1920 by the Biblioteca do Ministério da Agricultura.


E.g., in Problemas da politico objectiva (São Paulo: Nacional, 1930), Viana cites Populações meridionais frequently, particularly in political conclusions derived from the social and ethnic analysis central to the book. Cf. O ocaso do imperio, 2d ed. (São Paulo: Melhoramento, 1938), 6-7.


Populações meridionais, xii.


Skidmore, Black into White, 32–37.




For Tôrres and the Boas school, see ibid., 118. Tôrres cited Boas’ conclusions on the impact of environment on somatic characteristics (see Viana, O prohlema nacional, 49), doubtless a reference to Boas’ study of U. S. immigrants, Changes in the Bodily Form of Descendants of Immigrants (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1911). See also George W. Stocking, Jr., ed., The Shaping of American Anthropology, 1883–2911 (New York: Basic Books, 1974), 189–91ff.; and Michael Banton, Racial Theories (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), 79. On Tôrres’ ideas on race, see Gentil, As idéas.


See Skidmore, Black into White, 32–37, 118–28. Skidmore’s conclusions about Tôrres’ impact on racism (p. 123) are clearly more sanguine than mine.


See Evolução do povo, 4th ed., pt. 2, chap. 1, esp. 153–56, 158, 183. See also Viana, Raça e assimilação, 2d ed. (São Paulo: Nacional, 1934), chap. 6.


For the quarrel between Viana, Roquette Pinto, and Artur Ramos regarding Afro-Brazilians, see Raça e assimilação, 182–99. Viana privately dismissed Gilberto Freyre’s ridicule and exaggeration of his conclusions as scandalous bad faith. See Viana to [Augusto Schmidt], Rio de Janeiro [Jan. 1934], AOV, 1023.33. Skidmore notes that after Freyre’s derision and the increasing popularity of the cultural explanation for racial differences, Viana never published the works on race that he had announced in the early 1930s. Black into White, 278-79, n. 88. Over time, criticism of Viana on racial and other grounds mounted, coming to include Astrojildo Pereira (1929), Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (1940s), Dante Moreira Leite (1954), and Nelson Wemeck Sodré (1960s).


See Stocking, Shaping of American Anthropology, 190-91, 219-21.


See Raça e assimilação, esp. 195–206, where Viana cites Pitirim A. Sorokin (1928), Ellsworth Huntington (1923, 1927), Octave Frédéric François Meynier (1921), Maurice Delafosse (1928), and Augustus Henry Keane (1920) on racial differences and African civilization in his support.


On Brazilian trends, see Skidmore, Politics in Brazil, 57, 118–23, 98, 200–203; cf. Nancy Leys Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1991), 36-39, 44, 46–55, 153–69. On the heyday of European scientific racism, see Banton, Racial Theories, 78; and Eric J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875–1914 (New York: Vintage, 1989), 32, 252–54. On Freyre’s explicit ambivalence regarding cultural explanations of racial differences, see Casa-grande e senzala: formaçâo da familia brasileira sob o regimen de economia patriarchal (Rio de Janeiro: Schmidt, 1933), 321, n. 2. Freyre, moreover, had the notable advantage of studying with Boas in 1921–22.


Evolução do povo, 149–51.


Populações meridionais, 121–22. See also chaps. 4–6, 10–12; and Evolução do povo, pt. 2, chaps. 13–16.


Populações meridionais, 120–21. This process of “whitening” was the burden of chap. 6 and of Evolução do povo, pt. 2. On African racial inferiority, see Populações meridionais, 154-55 The reference to Haiti carried weight among Viana’s contemporaries because the black republic was under U.S. occupation at the time, garrisoned by Marines following armed intervention after the violent overthrow and mob dismemberment of Haiti’s president in 1915. The U.S. occupation continued until 1934.


Ibid., 315.


Ibid., 103-10. See also “O eugenismo paulista,” Correia Paulistano (São Paulo), Mar. 5, 1927; and Evolução do povo, 126-35.


Populações meridionais, 115-22.


I have never encountered a statement by Viana regarding his own racial identity. Viana was identified as mestiço (in the sense of mixed African and European descent) by Gilberto Freyre in Sobrados e mucambos: decadéncia do patriarchado rural no Brasil (São Paulo: Nacional, 1936), 372; and described as um mulato róseo by José Honório Rodrigues, who knew him as a youth, in História da história, v. 2., t. 2, p. 1 and passim. See also Holanda, Cultura e política,” 12; and Nelson Werneck Sodré, A ideologia do colonialismo (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1965), 195-96. I suspect that many Americans might find that Viana’s photographs suggest nothing particularly African. The whole issue raises interesting questions about Brazilian sensitivities to the appearance and importance of African descent.


Populações meridionais, 115-16, 119; Evoluçào do povo, 170-71, 176-90. See also Viana’s comments on the methodological problemática of the census in “Raça e pesquizas estatísticas,” Correio Paulistano, Sept. 25, 1926. On “whitening,” Viana, and Social Darwinism, cf. Skidmore, Politics in Brazil, 51-52, 64-69, 199-203. On the issue of degeneration, see Dain Borges, “Puffy, Ugly, Slothful, and Inert’: Degeneration in Brazilian Social Thought, 1880—1940,” Journal of Latin American Studies 25:2 (1993), 235–56.


On this post-positivist milieu, see general remarks of Nicolau Sevcenko, A literatura como missão (São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1983), 148-49; and Nachman, “Positivism, Modernization, and the Middle Class.” Viana’s frequent citation of Vilfredo Pareto is also notable.


See the celebrated essay by Gilberto Amado, “As instituições políticas e o meio social no Brasil,” and the other essays collected in A margem da história da república, comp. Vicente Licínio Cardoso (1924; 2d ed., Brasília: Univ. of Brasília, 1981); as well as Amado’s memoir, Minha formação no Recife (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1955), 118–28; and Sílvio Romero’s “Discurso de recepção [do Euclides da Cunha],” Revista da Academia Brasileira de Letras 2 (1911), 469 and passim. Cf. Cruz Costa, History of Ideas in Brazil, 261-71.


Populações meridionais, i. Note that both this and Viana’s second major monograph, Evolução do povo, are conceived in terms of historical, positivist analysis: both move from social and racial to political themes and develop each theme historically; both culminate in the celebration of the state.


Populações meridionais, chaps. 6, 7, 9, 11, 12-17; cf. “O papel dos governos fortes no regime presidencial,” in Pequenos estudos; Problemas da politico objectiva, chaps. 4–6; or, finally, “Opinião e governo,” in O idealismo da constituição.


O idealisms da constituição, 12–13. On the role of the crown and the organic necessity of the centralized state, see Populações meridionais, chaps. 12, 14, 16. On the illusion of liberalism, see O idealismo da constituição; and O ocaso, pt. 1, pp. i-ix.


Populações meridionais, 354.


Ibid., 373–74. The reference to a historian is to Oliveira Lima and his Formation historique de la nationalité brésilienne (Paris: Garnier, 1911).


Carvalho, “A utopia,” 89–96.


Ibid., 85-87. On Uruguai, see José Antonio Soares de Souza, A vida do visconde do Uruguai (1807-1866) (São Paulo: Nacional, 1944); R. Barman, Brazil, chaps. 7, 8; Graham, Patronage, 52-53, 54. Uruguai’s chief works are Ensaio sobre o direito administrativo, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Nacional, 1862), and Estudos práticos sobre a administração das províncias no Brasil, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1865). On the role of the monarch’s authority, see, e.g., Ensaio, vol. 2, chaps. 27-30; and cf. Barman. The relations between the monarch, state authority, and society under the monarchy’s Constitution of 1824 continue to exercise scholars. Viana’s position, that the constitution allowed the monarch and his political elite to conduct a veiled dictatorship, was noted earlier. Recent analyses include Murilo de Carvalho, in Teatro de sombras and A construção da ordem, da Costa, Brazilian Empire, Graham, Patronage; and Eul-Soo Pang, In Pursuit of Honor and Power: Noblemen of the Southern Cross in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1988). Joaquim Nabuco, in his classic Um estadista do imperio, clearly assumed the emperor’s centrality. See, eg., 1:346-53. 3:178-79. He maintained continuity with his abolitionist pamphlet, “O erro do imperador” (1886), in Campanhas de imprensa (São Paulo: Progresso, 1949), 233-48. The 1824 constitution itself drew able analysis from contemporaries aside from the Viscount do Uruguai. See Joaquim Rodrigues de Sousa, Analyse e commentario da Constituição Politica do Imperio do Brazil, 2 vols. (São Luis: n.p., 1867); and José Antônio Pimenta Bueno [marqués de São Vicente], Direito público brasileiro e análise da Constituição do Império (1857; reprint, Brasília: Senado Federal, 1978).


While Carvalho, in “A utopia,” 85, notes this lack of explicit acknowledgment in regard to Uruguai, he argues (p. 89) that the church’s inspiration is clear, citing two speeches included in Viana’s Direito do trabalho e democracia social (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1951). 81, 169. With respect to the church speeches, their late dates (1939 in Rio, 1945 in Niterói) and their context argue against the idea of Catholicism being of great intellectual importance to Viana in his early and most influential works. In each speech, Viana is attempting to argue for Vargas’ labor policies by urging that one can support syndicalism without supporting Marxism because syndicalism can be understood as a movement of class harmony, rather than conflict, a harmony both traditionally Brazilian and explicitly embraced by the church.


See Populações meridionais, ii–iii, or the credit Viana gave Romero or Tôrres, previously mentioned. Viana’s discussion of methodology is forthright in the introduction to Populações meridionais, and he was explicit in his oeuvre about the continuities and trajectory of his intellectual work.


Cf. Carvalho, “A utopia,” 89, who argues that Viana “reconhecia explicitamente a inspiração católica,” based on the two speeches cited in n. 58. On Viana’s Catholicism, see V. Torres, Oliveira Viana, 164. Viana’s grandniece noted the private character of his religious behavior, describing him as ‘não praticante” in terms of ritual, although “teve muita fé, fervor para Deus.” She pointed to Viana’s membership in the Legion of the Sacred Heart in connection with his sister’s membership in the women’s parallel oganization, as an important gesture of familial character. Viana’s sister lived with him and supervised his domestic affairs. Interviews with Barros, May 1988 and Feb. 1991.


“O comunismo, a doutrina social da igreja e o dever dos católicos brasileiros . . . , Conferência pronunciada ... na grande concentração católica realizada em Niterói a 29 de julho de 1945,” clipping, AOV, 1093.6. The reference to having said the same thing elsewhere is to a 1921 text on syndicalism that was anti-Communist (rather than pro-Catholic).


In another instance, Evaldo Vieira shows how Viana used the corporatist François Perroux, known for his association with church social thought, to justify his own position with regard to the precedence of the social over the individual. Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo, 47, 48-49, 62-63. Seemingly, believer or not, for Viana the important point was finding support for positions he came to through his social and historical analysis.


See, e.g., Uruguai, Ensaio, vol. 2, chaps. 27-30, esp. the discussion of Benjamin Constant. Carvalho makes the apt reference to the July Monarchy. “A utopia,” 85. The link between Second Reign political theory and French Eclecticism has been made earlier, too. See, e.g., Cruz Costa, History of Ideas in Brazil, 53-59.


See Uruguai, Ensaio, 2:267, 273-75.


Lamounier, “Formação de um pensamento,” 360-62, 365.


On trabalhismo in the 1890s, see Boris Fausto, Trahalho urbano e conflito social, 1890-1920 (São Paulo: DIFEL, 1977), 41-62; cf. the 1930s phase in Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis, 109, 110-16. On Rio’s political milieu ca. 1900, see Needell, “Revolta Contra Vacina,” 244-49; on Rio Grande, see Love, Rio Grande do Sul.


See Corrêia, O problema econômico, chaps. 1-5; A. Tôrres, “Nacionalismo, in O problema nacional, and Organização nacional, pt. 2.


On Cardoso and A margem, see Alberto Venáncio Filho’s introduction and the commentary by Tristão de Ataíde to the 1981 edition (see note 50). See also Cruz Costa, History of Ideas in Brazil, 263-65. On positivism and the milieu, see Nachman, Positivism, Modernization, and the Middle Class”; Ivan M. B. Lins, História do positivisme no Brasil (São Paulo: Nacional, 1967). On positivism in Latin America at the time, see Charles A. Hale, “Political and Social Ideas in Latin America, 1870-1930,” in Bethell, Cambridge History, 4:382-414.


Populações meridionais, xii.


See Lamounier, “Formação de um pensamento.” On the relations between positivism, corporatism, and fascism, see A. James Gregor, The Ideology of Fascism (New York: Free Press, 1969), 293, 295, 297-301; and idem, Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1979), 11, 47, 53-73.


There is an established tendency to conflate the more formal ideology of the early twentieth century with its antecedents and parallels. See, e.g., Howard J. Wiarda, Corporatism and National Development in Latin America (Boulder: Westview Press, 1981). Cf. Fredrick Pike and Thomas Stritch, eds., The New Corporatism (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1974). Recent reviews of corporatism’s origins and variations include Carl Landauer, Corporate State Ideologies (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press/IIS, 1983); and Peter Williamson, Corporatism in Perspective (London: Sage, 1989).


Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo, 31. The U.S. influence on Viana was first indicated to me by Amaury de Sousa in 1985. See Viana, Problemas da politico objectiva, pt. 4, and Problemas da direito corporativo (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1938).


Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo, 29. The timing is confirmed in the essays dating from 1924 in the 2d ed. of O idealismo da constituição (São Paulo: Nacional, 1939); and in newspaper essays such “as O nosso problema politico,” Correio da Manhã, Apr. 18, 1926; “Ainda o problema politico,” Correio da Manhã, May 25, 1927. An note of anticipation appears as early as the pre-1922 essay “O papel dos governos fortes no regime presidencial,” in Pequenos estudos.


“Nacionalismo e questão social,” in Pequenos estudos, 90–91. Viana reworded the passage and italicized the concluding phrases to give the statement a more personal tone and greater emphasis in the 3d ed. of this collection (1942), p. 113.


Cf. Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo, chap. 2, esp. 42, 48-49, 52-53, 59, 67-68.


On the economic and political organization of the new state, see Problemas da politica objectiva, pt. 4; “O papel politico das clases econômicas” and “Organização democrática das clases econômicas,” in O idealismo da constituição (as well as the additional post-1927 pieces in the 2d ed., 1939). On the appropriate understanding of corporatist law, see Problemas de direito corporativo. The best overview is Vieira, Autoritarismo e corporativismo, chap. 2.


See Landauer, Corporate State Ideologies, 23–28.


Vieira, who analyzed all Viana’s corporatist reading, makes no mention of La Tour du Pin La Charge and, as noted earlier, suggests that Viana used church social doctrine to legitimate positions he had taken independently. Autoritarismo e corporativismo, 47, 48-49, 62-63.


The origins of this identification between the monarchy, the organic, and authoritarian corporatism can be glimpsed in Populações meridionais, chaps. 12, 14, 16; “Feijó, ministro da justiça e regente,” in Pequenos estudos; and Evolução do povo, pt. 3, chaps. 18–20, pt. 4, chaps. 34-36.


Carvalho sees Viana’s concern with these new elements as a post-1932 development, derived from Viana’s new juridical position with Vargas' Ministry of Labor. “A utopia,” 94. Carvalho emphasizes this as a turning point, a break with Viana’s nostalgia for the rural past. I would argue that Viana assimilated his new preoccupations into his cumulative understanding of the lessons of the past and his enduring values. The “patriarcalismo rural” that Carvalho holds was “totalmente abandonada” in 1932 seems to surface effortlessly in Viana’s public speech “So a fe constroe,” printed in O Estado, Aug. 18, 1940; it is also the basic theme of Viana’s 1940 acceptance speech at the Academia Brasileira de Letras. See “Recepção do sr. Oliveira Viana,” Revista da Academia Brasileira de Letras 39:60 (1940), 3–42.


See the estimate of Viana’s influence among contemporaries in Martins, História da inteligência brasileira, 6:194, 261. 396, 409, 410, 488, 489; idem, Modernist Idea, 241–43.


Note Viana’s dismissal of the contemporary monarchist party in “O papel dos governos fortes.”


Problemas da politica objectiva, 25-27.


See Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis, 71-75, 376; Carvalho, “A utopia,” 82. See also Robert M. Levine, The Vargas Regime: The Critical Years, 1934-1938 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1970), 22–23; idem, “Perspectives on the Mid-Vargas Years: 1934–1937.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 22:1 (Feb. 1980); 57, 75; and Skidmore, Politics in Brazil, 9, 24, 29-33. This link between Viana and the elements that imposed the military regime is the chief burden of Rodrigues, História da história. It is also glimpsed in analyses of the regime’s ideology by Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Francisco Weffort. See Cardoso, “Associated Dependent Development and Democratic Theory,” and Weffort, “Why Democracy?” both in Democratizing Brazil: Problems of Transition and Consolidation, ed. Alfred Stepan (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), 312, 347. In The Military in Politics: Changing Patterns in Brazil (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1971), chap. 8, Stepan’s analysis of the military ideology evokes some aspects of Viana’s discourse but fails to mention Viana’s influence.


See the survey in Flynn, Brazil: A Political Analysis, chap. 10. Alfred Stepan stresses the national security theme and its links to statist development and anti-Communism in Military in Politics, chap. 8; and Flynn suggests (p. 376) how the tradition associated with Viana fits into that scheme. The essays by Cardoso and Weffort in Stepan, Democratizing Brazil, suggest a broader and deeper analysis of the historical conflicts in modern Brazilian politics between democratic theory and the authoritarian tradition of which Viana is a preeminent exemplar. See also Paim, introduction to Populações meridionais, 1982 ed., 26, 30-31.


See, e.g., Skidmore, Politics in Brazil, 206-7. Of course, I do not mean that racism is no subject of debate; I mean that the charge of racial incapacity is no longer explicit in attacks on mass participation in politics.


Ibid., 190-92, 203; da Costa, Brazilian Empire, 234-35, 244. Cf. George Reid Andrews, Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil, 1888-1988 (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1991), 200-201, where he notes the essentially racist subtext of the ideologic de vadiagem that undercuts belief in Brazilian democracy.