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The First Portuguese Republic

Between Liberalism and Democracy (1910–1926)

Miriam Pereira is emeritus professor of Contemporary History at ISCTE/University Institute of Lisbon). She is the founder of the scientific journal Ler História. In 2016, the Ministry of Science and University Education awarded the Medal of Scientific Merit. Her many publications are detailed on the press website.

In the series
The Portuguese-Speaking World: Its History, Politics and Culture

The first Portuguese Republic stood between 1910 and 1926. A characteristic of the Republican period was the strong civil participation, particularly by the urban population. Freedom of press and of association became constitutional rights and incentivized a powerful and very diversified associative movement in which trade unions and friendly societies stood out in the political spectrum as they promoted popular education and culture.

The time-span studied is characterized by Portugal’s colonial expansion in Africa, an important factor in Portugal’s involvement in the Great War. As changes in education, in the concept and structure of family and in the status of women linked with the new politics, so emerged a different relationship between State and Church, new avenues for the development of economic activity, an increased focus on better labour conditions, and emigration to Brazil.

Miriam Halpern Pereira provides a clear overview of the Republic’s many achievements and the internal political and wider international limitations resulting in its downfall. The political, social and cultural causes of the military overthrow of the first Portuguese Republic are analyzed against the backdrop of the concomitant rise of fascist regimes in other European countries in the years preceding the 1929 Depression. The work provides a much needed updated synthesis of the myriad circumstances of the period, and is intended for both the general public and students of modern Europe. In a clear and concise style Between Liberalism and Democracy sheds new light on a controversial epoch of Portuguese history.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-929-6
Hardback Price: £55 / $69.95
Release Date: March 2019
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Series Editors' Preface

1.  A Step of No Return: The Fall of the Constitutional Monarchy
2.  The Republic: The Political Narrative Revisited
2.1. The “Strong Republic” and the Presidents Teófilo Braga, Manuel de Arriaga and Bernardino Machado
2.2. The “New Republic” of Sidónio Pais
2.3. The “New Old Republic” and the Presidents Canto e Castro, António José de Almeida, Teixeira Gomes and Bernardino Machado

Chapter 1  Secularization and Citizenship: The Cultural and Political Project
1.  Secularization and Anticlericalism
2.  State and Religion
2.1. The Scope of Secularization
2.2. The Law of Separation of the State from the Churches
3.  Educating for Citizenship
3.1. From Primary School to University Education
3.2. The Spread of Public Reading

Chapter 2  State and Citizenship
1.  Delayed Democracy
2.  The New Political Elite
3.  The Citizen and the Defence and Security Forces
3.1. The Armed Forces
3.2. The Public Security Forces
4.  The State and Labour Relations
5.  Feminism and Citizenship

Chapter 3  The Public and Civic Sphere
1.  The Media and Public Opinion: The Press, Images and the Radio
2.  On the Margins of Power
2.1. In Search of the "Social Republic"
2.2. In Search of Order and Authority with the Catholic Church
3.  Associativism
3.1. The Employers’ Associations
3.2. From Workers’ Associations to Trade Unions
3.3. Popular Protest
3.4. Other Forms of Sociability: Mutualism
4.  From Mutual Aid to Compulsory Social Insurance: the New Frontiers between
the Public and the Private Spheres

 Chapter 4  From the Economy to Finance
1.  Tradition, Innovation and the Diversification of Markets
1.1. The Agricultural World
1.2. Factories and Workshops
1.3. International Economic Relations
2.  Under the Aegis of the Escudo

Chapter 5.  Empire and Emigration
1.  The Republic and Colonialism
2.  Emigration Policy


General Bibliography
Thematic Bibliography

Review excerpts and sources from the Portuguese edition

According to Pereira, the reason for the appearance and disappearance of the First Republic is a result of the tensions existing during the period between the last phase of liberalism and the emergence of Salazar’s dictatorship: a period that encompassed the First World War when Portugal was one of only three republics in a Europe of monarchies…. In synthesis, how can the evolution of the First Republic be explained? To Miriam Halpern Pereira, a decade and a half long, with interventions in a world war on two continents ‘it has proved insufficient time for republican liberalism to stabilize in a liberal context by resolving the conflicts that have arisen’. Moreover, many republicans, although temporary, became permeable to the authoritarian regime idea, something that coincided with the authoritarian ideologies in other countries of Europe, namely in Spain and Italy.
Portuguese Journal of Social Sciences,vol. 16, 3, 2017, Intellect books

The Portuguese Republic overcame many limitations and engaged in a liberal modernising effort, but failing to achieve a rapid change in people’s mentalities, the reactionary forces overthrew it, and, in the subsequent lengthy period of Salazar’s dictatorship, launched a series of unjust attacks upon it. It therefore merited a good study such as this one.
Irene Vaquinhas, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Centre for the History of Society and Culture (CHSC), University of Coimbra, Portugal, in Ler História, Lisbon 71 (2017)

In my view, this small book is the best available synthesis about the history of the First Portuguese Republic. […] It is written with the steady hand and clear language of one of the great figures of Portuguese contemporary historiography. Furthermore, the emeritus professor Miriam Halpern Pereira embellishes her historical exposition with details of her own biographical experiences and those of her ancestors.
Diego Palacios Cerezales, University of Stirling, in Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea, 40 (Universidad Complutense, 2018)

Miriam Halpern Pereira’s account of the Portuguese First Republic attempts to furnish readers with a general understanding of this short-lived regime whose eventual replacement, Salazar’s Estado Novo, remorselessly castigated it in order to bolster its own doubtful legitimacy. The First Republic was the victim of the expectations that years of aggressive propaganda had raised among numerous sectors of Portuguese society, leaving it stranded, as Halpern Pereira suggests, somewhere between what she considers the flagging liberalism (some would dispute this) of the constitutional monarchy that had preceded it and a democracy that, although heralded, never materialized. Evidence of this abounds, not least in the failure to deliver universal male suffrage (never mind universal suffrage) and to question if the reality of the Republic’s colonial policies was consistent with its progressive, perhaps tellingly, paid to social and economic protests.
Reviewed by Filipe Ribeiro de Meneses, Maynooth University, in the Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Spring 2020) 

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