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Until 1815 Brazil was a Portuguese colony. The invasion of Portugal by Napoleon in 1807 forced the royal family to seek refuge in Brazil, which continued for several years to be the seat of government of the Kingdom. By decree of 16 December 1815, Brazil ceased to be a colony and became an integral part of the “Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves.” The revolution which broke out in Portugal in 1821 forced King John VI to return to Lisbon, leaving his son, Dom Pedro, as regent. The sentiment in favor of separation had been growing for some time, and when orders were sent to Dom Pedro to return to Portugal he declared his intention of remaining in Brazil. Brazilian independence was declared, Dom Pedro became Emperor on 12 October 1892 and an imperial Constitution was promulgated on 25 March 1824. Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil in 1825.

The movement for the establishment of a republic began to gain strength after 1870, but was held in check by the popularity of Dom Pedro II. In 1889, however, the republicans felt strong enough for action. On 15 November of that year a bloodless revolution occurred, the Republic of the United States of Brazil was proclaimed, and the imperial family was sent to Portugal. The revolution was essentially a military movement and for several years Brazil remained under the control of a military party. A republican Constitution was adopted , on 24 February 1891, which established a federal government and erected the former Provinces into States. This Constitution is still in force and has never been amended.?



[PREAMBLE.] We, the representatives of the Brazilian people, assembled in constitutional convention for the purpose of organizing a free and demo

1 English translation by J. C. BRANNER in Foreign Constitutions [The Convention Manugl of the Birth New York State Constitutional Convention, 1894, part 2, vol. 3] (Albany, 1894). pp. 72-105.

? These introductory paragraphs are based upon W. F. DODD, Modern Constitutions (Chicago, 1909), vol. I, p. 149, and F. R. DARESTE ET P. DARESTE, Les Constitutions modernes (3d edition, Paris, 1910), vol. I, pp. 624-626.

* Official Portuguese text published in the Diario Official of 25 February 1891. Portuguese text and English translation in parallel columns, followed by a Spanish translation in J. I. RODRIGUEZ, American Constitutions, vol. 1 (Washington, 1906), pp. 134-190. French translation in DARESTE, op. cit., pp. 626–655. German translation in PAIL POSEVER, Die Staatsrerfassungen des Erdballs (Charlottenburg, 1909), pp. 1022-1045. English translation in DODD, op. cit., pp. 150–181; British and Foreign State Papers, $3: pp. 487-510; and Foreign Constitutions (see above, note 1), pp. 113-138. The translation given here is based on the one in RODRIGCEZ,

cratic government, do hereby establish, decree and promulgate the following Constitution for the Republic of the United States of Brazil.




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ARTICLE 1. The Brazilian nation adopts for its government the federal republican representative form, as proclaimed on 15 November 1889, and constitutes itself, by the perpetual and indissoluble union of its former provinces, into the United States of Brazil.

Art. 2. Each of the former provinces shall constitute a State, and the former neutral municipal district shall form the Federal District, and shall continue to be the capital of the Union until the provisions of the following article shall be put into effect.

ART. 3. A zone of fourteen thousand four hundred square kilometers, situated in the central plateau of the Republic, which shall be hereafter marked off, shall be set apart, as property of the Union, and on this site the future federal capital shall be established.

SOLE S. When the transfer of the capital has been effected, the present Federal District shall constitute a State.

Art. 4. The States may become incorporated one with another, may

subdivide or dismember themselves to annex themselves to others or to form new States, if the respective legislative assemblies consent thereto in two successive annual sessions, and if the National Congress gives its approval.

ART. 5. Each State shall, at its own expense, provide for the needs of its own government and administration; the Union, however, shall lend aid to a State which asks for assistance in case of public calamity.

ART. 6. The federal government shall not interfere in matters pertaining peculiarly to the States, save:

1. To repel foreign invasion, or the invasion of one State by another.

2. To maintain the federal republican form of government.

3. To reestablish order and tranquillity in the States, upon the requisition of their respective governments.

4. To secure the execution of the federal laws and judgments. Art. 7. It is the exclusive prerogative of the Union to decree:

1 See the list of twenty States (not including the Federal District), p. 66, note under Article 28, Section 1.

* The District here referred to, embracing 540 square miles on the southeastern coast, is still the capital of the Union.

1. Duties on imports from foreign countries.

2. Entry, clearance, and port dues of vessels; but the coastwise trade shall be free to domestic and foreign merchandise which has already paid an import duty.

3. Stamp duties, save the restriction mentioned in Article 9, § 1,

no. 1.

4. Federal po-tal and telegraph taxes.
1. The Union shall also have exclusive power:
1. To establish banks of issue.

2. To create and maintain custom-houses. $ 2. Taxes levied by the Union shall be uniform for all the States.

$ 3. The laws of the Union and the acts and decrees of its authoritics shall be executed throughout the whole country by federal officials; but the execution of the federal laws may be entrusted to the governments of the States, if they consent thereto.

ART. 8. The federal government is forbidden to make distinctions and preferences in any way whatever in favor of the ports of one State as against those of another. ART. 9. The States shall have exclusive power to decree taxes:

1. On the exportation of merchandise produced in their own territory.

2. On rural and city real estate.
3. On the transfer of property.

4. On industries and professions.
$1. The States shall also have the exclusive right to decree:

1. Stamp taxes affecting acts emanating from their respective governments and concerning their internal affairs.

2. Contributions relating to their postal and telegraph service. $ 2. The products of one State are exempted from imposts in any other State from which they may be exported.

3. A State is permitted to levy duties on imports of foreign goods only when such goods are intended for consumption within its own territory, the proceeds of the duty reverting, however, to the federal treasury.

Št. The States have the right to establish telegraph lines between different points of their own territories, and between these points and those of other States which are not provided with a federal telegraph service, the Union reserving the right to acquire such lines when the general interest may require it.

Art. 10. It is prohibited to the States to levy taxes on federal, property or revenue, or on services in charge of the Union, and vice versa.

Art. 11. It is forbidden to the States, as well as to the Union:

1. To impose duties on the products of a State, or of a foreign country, when in transit through the territory of another State, or going from one State to another, or on the vehicles, whether by land or water, by which they are transported.

2. To establish, subsidize or interfere with the exercise of religious worship.

3. To enact retroactive laws. ART. 12. In addition to the sources of revenue set forth in Articles 7 and 9, it shall be lawful for the Union, as well as for the States, cumulatively or otherwise, to create any others whatsoever, provided that they are not in contravention of the terms of Articles 7, 9 and 11, No. 1.

ART. 13. The right of the Union and of the States to legislate in regard to railways and navigation of internal waters shall be regilated by a federal law.

SOLE §. Coastwise navigation shall be carried on by national vessels.

Art. 14. The land and naval forces are permanent national institutions, intended for the defense of the country from foreign attack and for the maintenance of the laws of the land.

Within the limits of the law, the armed forces are from their nature bound to obey their superiors in rank, and to support the constitutional institutions.

Art. 15. The legislative, executive and judicial powers are organs of the national sovereignty, harmonious with each other, and indlependent among themselves.

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ART. 16. The legislative power shall be exercised by the National Congress, subject to the approval of the President of the Republic.

$ 1. The National Congress shall be composed of two branches: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

$ 2. The elections for senators and for deputies shall be held simultaneously throughout the country.

§ 3. No person shall be senator and deputy at the same time.

Art. 17. The Congress shall, without being convoked, assemble in the federal capital on the third day of May of each year, unless another day is designated by law, and shall continue in session four months from the date of the opening, and may be prorogued, adjourned, or convoked in extraordinary session.

1 Law of 14 October 1892 (No. 109).

$ 1. The Congress alone shall have the right to prorogne and adjourn its sessions.

$ 2. Each legislature shall last three years.

$ 3. When a vacancy occurs in the Congress on account of resignation or for any other reason, the respective State shall order immediately the election of a new member.

Art. 18. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate shall meet separately and, unless otherwise determined by a majority vote, their sessions shall be public. A majority of votes shall be required to pass any measure in either house, provided there is present an absolute majority of the total number of its members. SOLE $. Each house shall have power: To verify and accept the powers of its members. To choose its officers, To make the rules of its proceedings. To provide for its own police service.

To appoint its clerks. Art. 19. Deputies and senators can not be held to account for their opinions, expressions or votes in the discharge of their mandate.

ART. 20. Deputies and senators, from the time they have received their credentials until the new election, shall not be arrested or prosecuted criminally without the previous permission of the house to which they belong, except in the case of an unbailable crime in flagrante delicto. In the latter case, the court shall collect all the evidence and submit it to the house concerned, which shall decide whether or not an indictment is to be made, unless the accused shall choose to be tried immdiately.

ART. 21. The members of the two houses, on taking their seats, shall take a formal oath, in public session, to perform their duties faithfully.

ART. 22. During the sessions the senators and deputies shall receive a salary, the same for members of both houses, and traveling expenses, said emoluments to be fixed by the Congress at the close of each legislature, for the succeeding one.

ART. 23. No member of Congress shall, from the day of his election, enter into contracts with the executive power, or receive from the same any salaried office or commission. $ 1. From this prohibition are excepted:

1. Diplomatic missions.
2. Military commands and commissions.

3. Legal promotions. $ 2. No deputy or senator shall, however, accept missions, commissions, or commands, indicated under Nos. 1 and 2 of the preced


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