Did Getulio Vargas Improve Employment In Brazil History Essay


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This essay topic, is an important topic for study, it reflects on how a dictator improved the working conditions in Brazil, and also made people's life better. After making all these changes, today what does these changes mean to the Brazilian working conditions today, and even how those changes have affected the country. This essay contains information collected from other books, which describe and analyses Getulio Vargas life and also the history of Brazil. After noticing some important improvements among the poor in Brazil, and also researching on Vargas life and progress, it's notable that Vargas improvements also effect on the way that people saw him, he was a populist, loved by some and hated by others. But even by being a populist by pleasing the poor's wishes and not solving the problems from the root, because of those improvements that he made, today the working conditions in Brazil are different. This essay is narrowed in four parts that are of great importance to understand. Who was Getulio Dornelles Vargas? How were the working conditions in Brazil before Vargas? What did Vargas government did to improve the working conditions, how those changes had affected people on those days and also today, and how those changes affect today. By clarifying this, a question was formulated, that being; to what extent did Getulio Vargas improve employment among the poor in Brazil? After research was made on this topic is noticeable that Getulio Vargas improved working conditions in Brazil what might had helped many people, and the conditions today are different then before thanks to him, but still not perfect. But even improving, he was a populist and dictator that placed limits on people's freedom.

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Before him the working conditions were bad, and people had to work really hard in order to survive or even feeding their own family, they dint have many working rights, and many people prefer to work on rural areas. Vargas on that time doubled the minimum salary, Vargas gave people holidays, Vargas allowed one union per economic sector, Vargas industrialized Brazil by creating the National Motor Factory, Vargas promoted many new jobs, and many other changes as well.

Who was Getulio Dornelles Vargas?

In April 19 of 1882, Getulio Dornelles Vargas was born in a really small Brazilian city called Sao Borja, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. He was raised on a rural area by a traditional Brazilian family. Even spending his childhood on the rural area having a limited education it did not stop him to progressing on his studies and political life.

He entered in the politics world in 1909 as a state representative for the PRP (Partido Republicano Rio-Grande). From 1922 to 1926, Vargas fulfilled the mandate of the federal parliament. In 1928 the Finance Minister, Washington Luis resigned his duty to become the state governor. Vargas was the commander of the "Revolução de 1930" (Revolution of 1930) that later on took over the power in Brazil and toppled the current President, Washington Luis. As Vargas ruled Brazil, his time at the power was divided in 3 phases "Governo Provisorio"

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(Provisional Government), "Governo Constitucional" (Constitutional Government), and "Estado Novo" (New State).

As Getulio Vargas became president and later on dictator, he accomplished many achievements that improved some aspects in Brazil making him receive the nick name of "o pai dos pobres" (father of the poors), but by repressing some rights and not giving total freedom to people, some did not agree with his ideas and dictadorship, what led to the decline of the "Estado Novo" and later on turned in to Getulio Vargas committing suicide in august 24 of 1954.

Vargas until today is the person that most held the power in Brazil directly, a total of 15 years from November 3 of 1930 to October 29 of 1945, and then he had a second mandate from January 31 of 1951 to August 24 of 1954.

How was Brazil before Getulio Vargas?

Before Vargas, Brazil was on a period called "A Primeira República Brasileira" (The first Brazilian Republic) also known as "Republica Velha" (Old Republic) that lasted from 1889 to the Revolution of 1930 , since the Old Republic was really close to the slavery abolition, people was still taking advantage over others, primarily African-Brazilian people. Since they have not still adapted to the salaries, their bosses would explore them, and give them really small wages. The factor of instability is also expressed in relation to labor exchange, because the introduction of free labor had to face some difficulties of adaptation: the worker was free, not tied to an

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employer and therefore did not need to accept and constant exploration in their work, such as low wages, the worker could choose a position that was more favorable for him in another place. To force the worker to remain in his job, in Brazil a scheme was spread to pay lower wages to the workers and sell for high prices the necessary tools, food, and etc needed for their sustenance, always keeping workers indebted and unable to their leave work. The low cultural level of the working masses of the country, so recently out of slavery facilitated the manipulation of the workers accounts, making them always in debt.

Over time the obstacles that were supposed to prevent the free movement of workers, did not ensured its stability. Brazil came to know, instead of the passive attitude of the former slave, the ongoing struggle for rights and claims that seriously affected the a normal work relation bond, the problem was even worst because most farmers were generally accustomed to the servile regime, what made them have even greater issues dealing with free workers.

In Sao Paulo, there was the main center of foreign immigration, the government took the initiative to adopt new measures in order to protect the agricultural worker against excesses abuse of their bosses, also not comprising the good name of the country, and ensuring the continuity of immigration waves in Brazil necessary for prosperity. There were established judicial and administrative centers to ensure the continuous fulfillment of employment contracts by the owners.

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Thus began the replacement of the large property by a small property, which was an important tool for Brazil to reshape its economic structure and give new bases for the development of its productive forces.

In this way, one can see that it was under the influence of conflicting factors that evolved Brazilian economy: on the one hand there was a development of the system of agrarian property, which had its maximum expression to the large increment of few economic activities but in large scales and the exclusion of everything else and different, the results of that development compromised and destroyed the country's traditional economic structure: the great agrarian property.

On the Old Republic period, people used to work around fourteen hours per day; there was great issues with child labor exploitation in factories; working places suffered of total hygiene lack and were unhealthy (heat, noise, moisture, chemicals, etc.);there was a lack of protection for workers so frequent accidents occurred, the machines did not have any kind of protection. there was no social support for injured, disabled and sick children

Women and children suffered constant harassment and abuse by their bosses. There were no worker rights, such as being paid for the extra hours you worked, paid holidays, minimum wage, weekly rest, retirement, and compensation for work accident. Woman and children salaries were much smaller then men's salaries, so employers prefer to hiring women and children.

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What have Getulio Vargas achieved and changed through the time that he held power?

In the end of 1929, there were almost two million unemployed across the country. The profound globular crises triggered by the crash from New York Stock Exchange, with serious consequences for the Brazilian economy, it left a bad balance: 579 factories had closed their doors in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, by the lack of buyers from their products. [1]

After the Wall Street Crash, coffee exports plummet, unemployment rises, and imported goods become much more expensive. [2] Brazil faced many economic issues, people were being fired constantly from their jobs, and there was still no sign of improvements on the working conditions, and education.

As 1929 passed by the election for president were coming in 1930, at that moment Washington Luis was the former President. Most people were not happy with his actions since he hasn't improved any social-economic conditions in Brazil, but Luis was supporting other candidate Julio Prestes for president. In that time a form of opposing for that candidature the "Aliança Liberal" (Liberal Alliance) was founded, the AL supported Getulio Vargas. As the election ended Julio Prestes was elected in March as the Republican President. [3]

Since Julio Prestes wasn't dealing with the problems that Brazil was facing at the moments, the economy and unemployment rates were increasing, if nothing was maded fast the whole country could collapse. "A revoluçao estorou em Porto Alegre e Belo Horizonte em 3 de outubro, e um

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pouco depois no Nordeste, neste caso sob o commando do tenente Juarez Tavore."[4] (The revolution exploded in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte in October 3, and then in them northern, in that case by the command of the tenant Juarez Tarvore).

This revolution led to many changes of Presidents and vice presidents in short period of time, one year, and this period was called "Governo Provisorio" (Provisional Government). As soon as the AL takes over the power, Vargas even still not being the president made a really big change on the legislation that immensely changed life in Brazil and the way people see Vargas today.

(January) Vargas calls for legislation for urban and rural workers to guarantee education,

Health, housing, vacations, leisure, minimum salary, consumers' cooperatives, pensions,

social security and protection for woman, children, the infirm, and the elderly. [5]

After other four changes in the presidency, Vargas finally became president, but not yet took over the power.

In Novermber of 1930, the civilian leader of an armed opposition movement, Getulio Vargas became the president of Brazil in provisional character. The most graduated military, ten days earlier, had overthrown the legal government of President Washington Luis. [6]

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After officially taking over the power, Vargas start forbidding some rights such as freedom of speech, but he still keeps investing in the country. From 1930 to 1931 Vargas sucessfully created the Labor and Educational Ministries. [7]

After all these improvements many immigrants start coming to Brazil in search of a new life. The six countries that had the most immigrants coming to Brazil from 1929 to 1945 were Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Russia [8]. As the immigrants came they start competing with native-born Brazilians for jobs, and this became an issue for many people, since employers paid smaller wages for immigrants they preferred to hire then instead of the native-born. So what Vargas did to fix this problem was by passing the "Two-thirds" law in 1931, which required two-thirds of a firm's employees' to be native-born Brazilian. [9]

Vargas made the pension service in Brazil efficient, and planted many jobs non-related to the government that would give you the right to claim a pension. After many years had passed and many laws had passed, some people was starting to goes against since he had been in the power for so long, factories and people were making propaganda against him. Even his own army was agiants him and wanted to drop out.

August 23, 1954 11:00 pm. In the Palace, seat of the federal government in the federal capital, the military generals climbed the stairs into the hall where Vargas was making his ministerial meetings. The tension of recent days afflicted the president. The military gave to Getulio a brief document which showed the loss of support of the Army, signed by 37 generals, the "Manifesto

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de Solidariedade aos Brigadeiros" (Manifesto of Solidarity with the Brigadier) advised the president to resign saying it would be the only way to "reassure the people and hold together the

Armed Forces. "Two days earlier, something similar had happened: the Air Force and Navy had demanded his departure. The response to Vargas, however, was blunt: "Só morto sairei do Catete!" (Only dead I will leave the power!).

Reunited with his ministers, Vargas seemed to have found the solution: it said it would leave the Presidency if the military ministers would ensure order and respect for constituted authorities. "Otherwise, the insurgents will find here my dead body," stated the president. The meeting ended. The President retired to his room. Moments later, a shot is heard, Vargas was dead.

With the announcement of his death and the dissemination of his letter-testament, this evoked for the last time the nationalist and populist line, thousands of people left to the streets of major cities raging against the enemies of Vargas. Newspapers, radio stations and headquarters of the opposition parties were smashed. On the streets, U.S. flags were burned. With suicide, Vargas managed to keep the flame of the "father of the poor."[10]


When analyzing the given facts, it's notable that "Like others populists and dictators, Vargas popularity was a creation fomented primarily by idealized advertising and on the centralized and authoritarian power of the Estado Novo. During the dictatorship of Vargas, large consecutive

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acts of censorship against the opposition and propaganda of his achievements was established."[11]. Today, even after being aware of the bad acts committed by Vargas, such as the punishment of imprisonment for those who opposed to his ideas, and the constant neglecting of human rights , we still have to observe the consequences of his good deeds'.

Today in Brazil, after the many changes in the constitution, new political parties were founded, such as the PTB, Partido Trabalhador Brasileiro (Brazilian Worker's Party), that was created after many struggles between the people and the big business, the falling of the Estado Novo is one of the great influences to the creation of this party, that has held many Brazilian presidents. In this past time, even by having new laws and rights being added to constitution, the laws created by Vargas still exist, and they are the infrastructure of all working rights that Brazilian have.

In the time that he still lived, he started many projects for generating new jobs and better country developments. One of this projects being Petrobras, that today is one of the biggest oil companies in the world and also wide-spread around the globe. Thanks to the creation such as this one, Vargas achieved to create a continuous improvement for Brazil and for their people.

Because of all the new laws created by Vargas, regarding workers' rights, today all workers, but exclusively the economically disadvantaged ones, have a better life, in a physical way and also mentally way. Now that workers have higher wages, and children are not allowed to work anymore, workers now don't need that their whole family works in order to survive, this gives a mental stability what leads to them being more productive. Now that workers don't need to work

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as much as before, they can spend more time with their families, not being always overcharged a before, this gives a mental stability, because it makes workers less concerned and less stressed, but also gives a physical stability, because workers now have more time for themselves, rather them be carrying boxes and bricks. By allowing workers to make a syndicate and to protest for their rights, it makes the chances of having an unfair or bad working condition lower, what leads to a better outcome in the economy.

By prohibiting children to work, this made that children now have more chances of enrolling and participating in a school. This is really important because those children are the future of the country, and different than before, with a new generation that has more people that know to read and write, people that are able to analyze facts, people that are able to take choices and being aware of the consequences, all of that makes a country to have higher chances of accomplishing a stronger economy and culture.

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Works Cited

[1] Civita, Victor "Nosso Seculo: Brasil 1930/1945 (1)" Abril S.A. Cultural (1985): 31

[2] Levine, Robert M. "Father of the Poor? Vargas and his Era" Cambridge University Press (1998): 140

[3] Fausto, Boris "Geulio Vargas: O Poder e o Sorriso" Companhia das Letras (2006): 207

[4] Fausto, Boris "Geulio Vargas: O Poder e o Sorriso" Companhia das Letras (2006): 40

[5] Levine, Robert M. "Father of the Poor? Vargas and his Era" Cambridge University Press (1998): 141

[6] Skidmore, Thomas "De Getulio a Castelo" Oxford University Press & Editora Paz e Terra (1976): 21

[7] Levine, Robert M. "Father of the Poor? Vargas and his Era" Cambridge University Press (1998): 141

[8] Civita, Victor "Nosso Seculo: Brasil 1930/1945 (1)" Abril S.A. Cultural (1985): 15

[9] Levine, Robert M. "Father of the Poor? Vargas and his Era" Cambridge University Press (1998): 141

[10] Hidalgo Ferreira, Joao Paulo M. & Fernandes, Luiz Estevam O. "1954-2004: 50 anos do fim da Era Vargas" Geografia e História (2004): Os últimos dias de Vargas

[11] Hidalgo Ferreira, Joao Paulo M. & Fernandes, Luiz Estevam O. "1954-2004: 50 anos do fim da Era Vargas" Geografia e História (2004): O "pai dos pobres": o mito Getúlio Vargas

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