History of South America

Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932

The Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932 , Revolution of 1932 or Guerra Paulista was the first major uprising against the administration of Getúlio Vargas and also the last major armed conflict that took place in Brazil.

The elites of São Paulo sought to regain the political command they had lost with the 1930 Revolution, calling for elections to be called and the promulgation of a Constitution.

The day of the Constitutionalist Revolution is celebrated on July 9 and is a public holiday in the state of São Paulo.

Causes of the 1932 Revolution

The 1930 Revolution deposed President Washington Luís (1869-1947) and prevented Júlio Prestes (1882-1946) from taking office, bringing Getúlio Vargas to power.

Although they had lost their political hegemony, the Paulistas supported Vargas with the hope that he would call for elections for the Constituent Assembly and for president.

However, time passed and this did not happen. In this way, a strong opposition to the Vargas government was initiated by the São Paulo landowners.

In addition, there was also a large participation of university students, businessmen and professionals, who demanded that elections be called.

Thus, on May 23, 1932, a political act in favor of elections took place in downtown São Paulo. The police repress a group of protesters and cause the death of four students:Martins, Miragaia, Dráusio and Camargo.

The fact revolts the São Paulo society and the young people's initials - M.M.D.C. - become one of the symbols of the movement.

Summary of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932

For many historians, the term "revolution" for the constitutionalist movement of 1932 is not the most appropriate. That's because it was a movement planned by the elites, and the term "revolt" fits better to describe it.

The revolt, which took place in the state of São Paulo against the government of Getúlio Vargas, was a São Paulo response to the 1930 Revolution, which ended the autonomy of states guaranteed by the 1891 Constitution.

The insurgents demanded that the Provisional Government draft a new constitution and call for presidential elections.

Mobilization for the Constitutionalist Revolution

The revolt began on the 9th of July and was led by the intervenor of the state - a position equivalent to that of governor - Pedro de Toledo (1860-1935).

The people of São Paulo made a great campaign using newspapers and radios, managing to mobilize a good part of the population.

There were more than 200,000 volunteers, 60,000 of whom were combatants. On the other hand, as the movement gained popular support, 100,000 soldiers from the Vargas government set out to face the Paulistas.

Military Combat

The Paulistas expected support from Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul. However, both states did not join the cause.

Before long, São Paulo, which was planning a quick offensive against the capital, found itself surrounded by federal troops. Thus, they appealed to the population to donate gold in order to buy weapons and feed the troops.

In total, there were 87 days of fighting, from July 9 to October 4, 1932, with the last clashes taking place two days after the surrender of São Paulo.

On October 2, in the city of Cruzeiro, the troops from São Paulo surrender to the leader of the federal offensive and on the following day, October 3, they sign the surrender.

Consequences of the Constitutionalist Revolution

An official death toll of 934 was recorded, although unofficial estimates put up to 2200 dead. Despite defeat on the battlefield, politically the movement achieved its goals.

The struggle for the constitution was strengthened and, in 1933, elections were held, placing the civilian Armando Sales (1887-1945) as Governor of the State, in 1935.

Likewise, in 1934, the Constituent Assembly was convened to create the country's new Constitution, promulgated in the same year. This would be the shortest of the constitutions that Brazil has ever had, as it was suspended with the coup that instituted the Estado Novo, in 1937.

Until today, the 9th of July is a date celebrated throughout the state of São Paulo and remembered in several monuments.

The Ibirapuera Obelisk, for example, is the funerary monument of the movement and houses the remains of those who died in the Revolution. There are also the bodies of Martins, Miragaia, Dráusio and Camargo.

Read Also :Constitution of 1934