Since the beginning of the century, the supposed Europeandecline and the ascend of emergent countries, such as Brazil, have been widelydiscussed. However, it appears as if the country has found itself stagnated inthe status of “emergent” for most of the past fifteen years, not progressing orbeing able to achieve a “higher” status in the international sphere. But thishas been (to a certain extend) an everlasting historical struggle.
It wasduring the 19th century, when Brazil first started to negotiated itsaccess and recognition as a member of an international society of European andglobal expansion. It sought to establish itself as an independent country in asystem deeply marked by asymmetry of power, status, and ranking, developing inthe process, instruments to access the world of diplomacy1. Thisessay aims at briefly analyzing how Brazil came to be part of the European –andlater global– international society.For the authors of the English School, such as Hedley Bulland Adam Watson, the transformation from system to international society was ahistorical process. According to them, the ancient world had several systems ofstates but these have eventually evolved into a European international societyand, finally, into our “universalinternational society of the present”2.The most diverse regions of the planet were incorporated into the mold ofEuropean society, extending this configuration to the whole world following theSecond World War and decolonization3.
For the “classical” authors of the English School, Brazil adhered, aspart of the process of independence of European colonies, as a kind ofNeo-Europe -an admission free of greater obstacles4.There were confrontations not only in political, economic, or military terms,but above all in terms of civilizations and cultural patterns. The core of thisclashes was the “standard of civilization” by which differentcivilizations identified and regulated their international relations. Thepractices that became accepted as “civilized” were those coming fromEuropean countries and soon became demanded by the international systemcentered in Europe, being used to distinguish those who belong to a particularsociety from those who do not. Membership was conditioned to a degree ofhomogenization, requiring non-European states to make social and politicalreforms and to accept the rules and principles of international society5.
In the mid 19th century, Brazil and other non-European entitiesbegan to demand or be required to join a European core international society.This was an important period of the British “imperial turn”, in whichthe planet had been scrutinized, occupied and Europe’s relations with the worldhad been redefined based on European interests6.At the time, it was not easy to classify Brazil as barbarianor savage, but the domestic government and political elites worked hard to gainrecognition of civilization and thus belong to the “civilized” group.
Eventually,this was only to a certain extent successful, since even if a state was to berecognized as independent and legitimate, celebrating treaties and establishingdiplomatic relations did not mean, however, necessarily to be seen as a fullmember of international society7.Brazil was a former member of the Portuguese Overseas Empire officiallyindependent in 1822 in the form of a constitutional monarchy. To “allow”, evenif recognized as legitimate and sovereign state, extraterritorial rights toWestern powers, was seen as an important indicator of inferiority andsubordination status and that the sovereignty of the country was only partial89.Brazil officially only maintained it for a certain period, until 1844, as aninheritance of the Portuguese Overseas Empire. Thus, although it was formallyrecognized as independent and sovereign, it was not a full member of Europeancore international society, because it lacked the so-called “standard ofcivilization”.
It is interestingto notice that the option for the title “empire”10 can beperceived as a statement of affiliation greater to the Old than to the NewWorld11.In 1889, when the Republic was introduced, Brazil underwent a new phase of”renovation”, distancing itself to a certain degree from Europe and turning tothe Americas12. Inshort, during the 19th century, Brazil was a newly independentpolitical community in search of recognition. Another huge impediment to Brazil’s annexation to theinternational society was the fact that it continued and even came to increaseduring mid 19th century its dealing with slavery, an institution whichplayed an important domestic role at a time when it no longer had a place in theinternational society. In other words, it did not meet the “standards ofcivilization” required. In relation to that, a historical event worthmentioning is The Paraguayan War (1864-1870).
The war helped the BrazilianEmpire to reach its peak of political and military influence, becoming theGreat Power of South America, besides also helping to bring about the end ofslavery in Brazil13.However, it also caused a ruinous increase of public debt, which took decadesto pay off, severely limiting the country’s growth. The war debt, alongside along-lasting social crisis after the conflict, are regarded as crucial factorsfor the fall of Empire and proclamation of the First Brazilian Republic14.Thede facto suppression of slave trade, camewith the Eusébio de Queiroz Law (July 12, 1850)15.For the British, Brazil finally fulfilled its previously signed treaties andfollowed “the common principles ofhumanity and the fundamental precepts of the Christian religion”16.
The process of Brazilian independence dragged on insuccessive stages between the arrival of the Portuguese crown in Rio de Janeiroin 1808, the formal British and Portuguese recognition between 1825 and 1827,until Dom Pedro I’s return to Europe in 183117.The period coincided with the process whereby the Congress of Vienna came toaccept new members, nominally the “new states of settlement” of theAmerican continent. European recognition was formalized through treaties andthe establishment of diplomatic relations18.It is interesting to consider that due to the fact that Brazil inherited great experiencein diplomatic matters from the Portuguese, this expertise made all thedifference in the formation of borders, in the management of rivalry withSpanish American neighbors and in obtaining European recognition19.The recognition of Brazilian independence, was first made by the Africankingdoms of Benin and Lagos and the United States, then by Portugal and GreatBritain and other European states, with the recognition of the old metropolis,Portugal, and the main power of then, Britain, certainly being most importantcases20.During the second half of the 19th century,despite the economic and political weaknesses that it still had, Brazil beganto a certain point to participate in the international economic order that wasestablished, being present at conferences, adhering to multilateral agreementsand to the first technical and economic treaties that established cooperationamong States21. TheBrazilian participation in the Second Hague Convention (1907), which wasresponsible for dealing with formal issues of war and the creation of a permanentarbitration court, was important for bringing the public a discourse thatcalled for equality between States in relation to international society22.
It is significant, therefore, the understanding of Brazil as an average powerof then.Its participation in World War I, on the British side, moresymbolic than effective, finally granted the country a pass which enabled it toparticipate in the negotiations of the Paris Conference, and, finally, a ticketas a representative in the congress of the League of Nations. This can beconsidered to have been the definitive internationalization of Brazilianpolitics then23. TheBrazilian participation in the universal exhibitions of the second half of the 19thcentury can also be seen as an effort to be perceived as an equal partner ofthe international society of that time24.Another interesting contemplation, is how the other nationsconsidered the nation’s sovereign and how this was a strong indicative of theinternational positioning of Brazil then.
D. Pedro II was the monarch of the”young sister nation,” a Christian, and though he was a native ofBrazil, he descended from the most important European lineages. The fact thathe did not “look like a king,” wearing ordinary clothes, wearing astraw hat and preferring to give up “benefits” from his position,rather than disappoint, attracted the American public interested in this”monarch of the New world”25.Brazil, which in the beginning of the 20th century started to takepart in international events, increased its participation to the point of hostingthe III Pan American Conference in 1906, in the then capital city of Rio deJaneiro26.
With the destruction of the European internationalsociety after WWI and with the restructuration of the system in the interwarperiod, Brazil was finally able to found itself a place of (more) equalityamong the members of the new and global international society formed afterWWII, with diplomacyand international law proving to be fundamental instruments for a militarilyweak state. It is questionable however, to what degree the country is (evennowadays) fully equal to its European and American counterparts in the globalinternational societyTo conclude, it itsnecessary to remark that even though there was a continuous pursuit ofadherence to European diplomatic rituals, practices and symbols since itsindependence, this process parallel lead to the creation of asymmetricalrelations with the center of European international society which still exist.For example, Brazilians still commonly refer to Europe and the U.S. as the “firstworld”, praising and considering superior everything that comes from the OldContinent and the American leader. The embedded feeling of inferiority, rootedin the past experiences and relations with the European international societyhave not yet completely disappeared.
But the question is,will they ever disappear in the current international order or is the birth ofa new one needed?1 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Centro de Pesquisa eDocumentação de História Contemporânea do Brasil (CPDOC), August 2012, Rio deJaneiro, p. 20.
2 BULL, H.;”A Sociedade Ana?rquica”, Imprensa Oficial do Estado, Editora UnB; Sa?o Paulo, Brasi?lia,2002, p. 15. & WATSON, A.; “Aevoluc?a?o da sociedadeinternacional”, Editora UnB,Brasi?lia, 2004, p. 37.
3 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 34.4 Ibdem, p. 35.5 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p.
38.6 Idem.7 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, pp.
39 and 40.8 Ibdem, p. 40.9 Extraterritoriality refers to the legal regime in which aState claims jurisdiction over its citizens residing in another country (GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 40).10 The term apparently responded to several local demands: itsymbolized the continental extension of the territory; the distinction fromPortugal, the old metropolis, which called itself Reino and did justice to the political preferences of Dom Pedro I,a deep admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte.
(GOLDFELD SOCHACZEWSKI,M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 43)11 Ibdem, p. 44.12 A Brazilian peculiarity is the fact that the country hadcloser ties to Europe than to the American region during most part of the 19thcentury (GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 47).
13 DORATIOTO,F.; “Maldita Guerra: Nova História da Guerra do Paraguai”, Companhiadas Letras, 2nd edition revised by the author, 2002, pp. 47-52.14 DORATIOTO,F.; “Maldita Guerra: Nova História da Guerra do Paraguai”, pp. 47-52.
15 BETHELL, L.;”The Abolition of the Brazilian SlaveTrade: Britain, Brazil and the slave trade question, 1807-1869″, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,1970, p. 341.16 Ibdem, p. 344.17 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 54.
18 Idem.19 GOLDFELD SOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “OBrasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International:Contrastes e Conexões (1850-1919)”, pp. 55 and 56.20 Ibdem, pp. 56 and 57.21 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.
; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, pp. 74 and 75. 22 Ibdem, p. 75.23 CARDIM, C.H.; “A Raiz das Coisas.
Rui Barbosa: OBrasil no Mundo”,Civilizac?a?oBrasileira, Rio de Janeiro, 2007, p. 52.24 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 78.25 Ibdem, p. 85.26 GOLDFELDSOCHACZEWSKI, M.
; “O Brasil, o Império Otomano e a Sociedade International: Contrastes e Conexões(1850-1919)”, p. 85.