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Revista Brasileira de História

On-line version ISSN 1806-9347

Rev. Bras. Hist. vol.32 no.63 São Paulo  2012 



A cultural diplomacy project for the Republic: Revista Americana and the building of a new continental vision



Fernando Vale Castro

Associate Professor of the History of the Americas. Instituto de História, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). IFCS – Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais. Largo São Francisco, 1, Centro. 20051-070 Rio de Janeiro – RJ – Brasil.




The aim of this article is to analyze Revista Americana as a tool of Itamaraty's new strategy of drawing Brazil and the rest of South America closer together, highlighting the role of diplomacy in the recently proclaimed Republic. This periodical illustrates how highly valued certain elements of cultural diplomacy were, elements which were crucial for the construction of a new identity for the South American continent based on its own specific characteristics.

Keywords: Revista Americana; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; cultural diplomacy.


Este artigo tem o objetivo de analisar a Revista Americana como um instrumento da estratégia do Itamaraty de pensar uma aproximação entre o Brasil e a América do Sul destacando o papel a ser exercido pela diplomacia na República recém-proclamada. É possível notar a valorização, nas páginas da Revista, de elementos de uma diplomacia cultural que deveriam servir de base para a construção de novas identidades, marcada por características próprias e específicas do continente sul-americano.

Palavras-chave: Revista Americana; Ministério das Relações Exteriores; diplomacia cultural.



A little over one hundred years ago Revista Americana commenced publication. This was a journal produced by Brazilian diplomats which circulated, although not continuously, between 1909 and 1919 and which became the place for the dissemination of different aspects of the politics, culture and history of the newly created Brazilian republic, as well as those of the other South American republics. The choices of both themes and contributors provide important elements for the analysis of the explicit and implicit aims of the Revista.

Like all cultural constructions, the Revista can be understood as a dialectic between the production and reception of the message, in which there always coexisted various forms of appropriation among the various groups and subgroups that formed a given community of readers. However, in this article we have chosen an interpretation that valorizes the viewpoint of the producers of the message, which in the case of the editors and contributors of Revista Americana were basically Brazilian and South American intellectuals who were part of the diplomatic life of the continent.

By observing the journal as a place in which the social practice of production of meaning for collective experience was carried out, it becomes fundamental to look at the question of the production of discourse. For a better analysis of the texts of Revista Americana we draw on some of the assumptions of the 'linguistic turn.'1 In this perspective it is fundamental to recover the historic identity of intellectual works though historical and intertextual methodology, in other words, with the aim of discovering the meaning of the text in its time, thereby removing possible anachronistic and reductionist visions.

In summary, we see the Revista Americana as a space for the preparation of determined questions being discussed at that time, Thus, the authors who were part of the Revista contributed to the creation of a determined 'argumentative community', preparing and issuing specific 'lances.'2. To understand this construction, the historicity of its production associated with the intentionality of its writing have to be investigated.

Understanding the speech acts present in Revista Americana in order to perceive it as an argumentative community of a determined era and in relation to a determined social, political and cultural locus, leads us to look at the diplomatic vision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, i.e., of the Brazilian state which had proclaimed the Republic two decades previously. It should be emphasized that this diplomatic project was constructed as part of the Rio Branco strategy for the preparation of continental diplomacy. Obviously this article does not aim to exhaust the analysis of the periodical. Rather, it aims to highlight some possible interpretative keys, especially that of regarding it as an instrument of cultural approximation between the South American nations.



The epoch when the Revista emerged was characterized, at both the national and international levels, by a perspective of change and affirmation, the result of the transformations that occurred within the capitalist world. In the arts, production techniques, sciences and labor relations an acceleration of time and the reduction of distances could be observed, the marks of a new era.

In the final decades of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, there was an effective growth in the geographic base of industrial production, which reached regions such as Russia and Japan. This reinforced the perverse logic of the international division of labor, in perfect harmony with imperialist advances in dividing the world into large areas of influence and colonial possessions. These transformations were directly linked to the extreme technological advance marked, amongst other things, by the telephone, the wireless telegraph, the phonograph, cinematography, railways which cut across Europe and the United States, automobiles, etc., as well as the great developments in the medical area which represented a clear increase in life expectancy. We can thus state that a new era had emerged which touched the popular imagination in an unequivocal form:

the strongest impact caused on people in the developed and industrial world at that time, even more so that the evident transformation of their economies, was their even more evident success. They were obviously living in a time of prosperity ... in the case of rich Europeans or even the more modest middle class. For them the belle époque was the paradise that would be lost after 1914.3

American intellectuality at that time was not immune to these transformations. The period when the Revista Americana circulated was extremely fertile in Brazilian and South American intellectual debate, having marked profound modifications in the political and cultural fields, which made the epoch into one of those most privileged in historiography in relation to the analysis of the numerous projects developed by intellectuality on the continent. Since the second half of the nineteenth century various groups of intellectuals emerged in Brazil concerned with constructing a new national identity.

This generation4 of Brazilian intellectuals from the turn of the nineteenth century, irrespective of various interpretations, which consequently led to disputes between various intellectual groups, had a point in common, seeing Brazilian reality as being a full part of the foreign cultural concerto, tying Brazil to this civilizing project, and from then on establishing the construction of a national identity.

The Proclamation of the Republic, however, did not represent a concrete possibility for the construction of a modern and civilized nation as the intellectuals of the so-called 1870 Generation desired. At this time various thinkers engaged in a discussion about the past and future of Brazil and by extension South America which began to attract attention at this historic moment.

Since the principal objective was to join the circle of modernity, the elites and the intellectuals of the 'Republic of Letters' sought to construct images of the country that both differentiated them from and approximated them to the other South American republics at the same time that they sought the genesis of the nation. In the final analysis, the intellectuality of this period desired to inscribe itself in the tradition of progress and civilization, inherited from the Enlightenment.

During the First Republic a leading role was played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a institution in the Brazilian state which had wide ranging participation in the political and cultural context of the country, since the Imperial era its staff had occupied important roles in the national and international scenarios. It is worth highlighting that diplomats were naturally distinguished in the construction of a project for a nation connected to the state apparatus, thus their function was to seek mechanisms to allow ideological affinity with other sectors of the Brazilian elite.

We have to take in account the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assumed a relevant role at this moment in the development of a determined national project, a fact that justifies the importance of studying the intellectuals involved in Revista Americana, to the extent that its publication was organized by the top echelons of the Ministry. Therefore, discussing these intellectuals is a sine qua non condition of shedding light on the actions of the diplomatic corps in the intellectual debate of the time, questions little addressed in the historiography of national intellectuality.



A rapid observation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows us that it became a privileged institution in the first decades of the Republic, despite the presence of a certain imperial inheritance among the diplomats who, nevertheless, did not represent a withdrawal from the republican order. Diplomacy assumed the function of an agent of the Republican state both internally and externally.

In reflecting on diplomatic action in this or any other historical era, it is necessary to keep in mind that the foreign policy of a nation corresponds to the interests and aspiration of the political faction representative of the dominant social, political and economic groups at the national level. With oligar chies in power, the encourage of agro-exports and the 'promotion' of immigration became the two pillars of Brazilian diplomacy, approximating this to the interests of the dominant elite.

The new regime, however, was not concerned only with the commercial relations of agricultural exporters, a fact which allows us to note that the Brazilian Chancelaria (foreign ministry) was also concerned with a global scenario that involved imperialism and the struggle between imperialisms. Considering this conjunctural question is a basic premise for understanding Itamaraty's project, since Brazil enjoyed little autonomy in the general scenario of the capitalist system, and in the early years of the Republic displayed great economic fragility in relation to Europe (especially England). This context created a clear dependence in relation to the center of the global capitalism.5

Given this situation, it was clear for the various segments of the Brazilian elite that the diplomatic actions of Brazil did not present at that moment – the first decade of the Republican period – a defined project and as a result the country did not manage to establish a conscious direction in its foreign policy, a fact that helps in understanding the constant changes in the chancelaria, which aggravated even further the absence of a coherent and continuous foreign policy.

In 1902 the principal watershed in Brazilian diplomatic history occurred upon the nomination of José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior, Baron Rio Branco, as foreign minister, someone who had unquestioned legitimacy among Brazilian elites. This legitimacy was directly related, among other factors, to the question of frontiers. According to Demétrio Magnoli, the figure of Baron Rio Branco was inextricably linked to the production of a geographic and cartographic image of the patria. His action on the frontiers question "placed him at the summit of national ideological discourse" (Magnoli, 1997, p.261). It is worth noting that this period, which lasted until his death in 1912 and known as the time of the 'baron's diplomacy,' coincided with the apogee of the First Republic.

Analyzing, even very briefly, the political trajectory of Rio Branco starting in the imperial period, the importance given to the question of frontiers is evident, both in relation to the continental dimensions of the country and the centralization achieved during the Empire, facts that in themselves, according to the Baron, showed the distinction between Brazil and the rest of the South American 'continent.' In the understanding of Rio Branco, the Monarchy had made Brazil into a country that was "united, large, prosperous and free, the envy of the subjects of Gusmão Blanco and Porfírios Dias." Rio Branco did not hide his pride at observing Brazil as an exception in South America, considering that Brazilian imperial action represented a real 'civilizing mission.'6 This perspective helps comprehend Rio Branco's fear that with the republic Brazil would no longer be an exception and would become the same as the other South American countries.

One aspect of Rio Branco's thought linked to the question of frontiers was the fear of possible European aggression in South American, provoked by imperialist action, as already mentioned. This logic involved the necessity, not only for Brazil, but for all the South American 'continent' of looking for a political equilibrium, the best manner of avoiding attacks on national sovereignties. Rio Branco thus understood that solutions needed to be sought for the constant political crises that plagued the region.

The dual perspective – differentiation/approximation – adopted by the Baron in relation to the other South American countries has to be kept in mind. On the one hand, he sought to differentiate Brazil from the other countries in the region, though this differentiation did not signify isolation. To the contrary, the Baron's time was marked by a considerable increase in the Brazilian diplomatic presence in South America. Added to this was the expansion in the number of foreign diplomats in Rio de Janeiro with the aim of transforming the Federal Capital into the place with the largest diplomatic corps in the South American continent.

The policy adopted by Rio Branco sought to raise the prestige of Brazil through a logic in which the country was supposed to occupy a differentiated position in the continental context, which led it to exercise, out of obligation, a leadership position. This position could only be confirmed through the demarcation and delimitation of the national frontiers.

With the success of political/diplomatic action regarding the question of frontiers and the search for a new Brazilian position in the international scenario, Rio Branco became an icon in a country that, at least in theory, was united, stable and had foreign visibility. This union was essentially based on the defense of national sovereignty, which, in harmony with the mythological construction built since the colonial period, was based on the defense of Brazilian territory articulated through an approximation with neighboring countries.

The new republican regime prepared the way for a better diplomatic understanding with the American republics. This meant that Brazil abandoned, albeit gradually, European monarchism, symbolized by the House of Bragança – and adhered to the 'republican and liberal vocation of the Americas.' It was not for nothing that the new Brazilian regime was initially recognized by American states and only later obtained recognition from Europe governments.7

The transformations which Brazil and the rest of world underwent at the beginning of the twentieth century – capitalist modernization, the rise of the United States in the international scenario, conflicts in Europe principally arising out of imperialism – led to this change of direction in Brazilian foreign policy captained by Rio Branco. There was an attempt to open the range of international relations, breaking away from what had previously almost been exclusively European. It can thus be argued that Rio Branco sought to resolve the frontier conflicts with neighboring South American countries8 – in a clear attempt to increase the geopolitical influence of Brazil in South America – and at the same time move it closer to the United States. However, he did not accept absolute adhesion to US policy, attempting to achieve a strategically balanced position between the British and American influences in Brazil. At a speech given at the opening of the III Pan-American Conference – held in Rio de Janeiro in July and August 1906 –, Rio Branco reaffirmed the option of progressive approximation with American countries, though maintaining favorable relations with Europe.

Rio Branco was clear about the importance that the United States was acquiring in the new century. Within that perspective, one of his measures as minister was the raising of the status of the legation in Washington to the category of Embassy in 1905 (the United States also raised their legation in Rio de Janeiro to the level of Embassy, the first in South America) choosing Joaquim Nabuco to occupy the position, who intensely supported the cause of Pan-Americanism.

According to Demétrio Magnoli (1997), the historiography sees the approximation between Brazilian foreign policy and Pan-Americanist policy as a phenomenon associated with the advent of the republic. He sees this perspective as erroneous and superficial, since it does not manage to differentiate between two distinct processes in Brazilian diplomatic history: on the one hand, the rise of US influence which occurred before the Proclamation of the Republic and the other the appropriation of Pan-Americanism as a discourse and as diplomatic action, one of the principal characteristics of the Baron's policies. In summary, the 'founding father' of Brazilian diplomacy promoted rupture within continuity, combining the realist tradition inherited from the Empire with the renewal of concepts of the world and the concepts and paradigms of the world from national foreign policy" (Magnoli, 1997, p.208).

We believe that the baron aimed to adapt Brazilian foreign policy to the new international context in which the United States was being raised to the condition of a world power, made explicit by the construction of a new international order which was redistributing power with the rise of the US. For Rio Branco the great European powers already recognized that there was a great and powerful national in the New World which they had to take into account and which would have to have its share of influence on international policy throughout the entire world.

However, this approximation has to be observed through the clear proposal to preserve national autonomy. According to Lafer and Peña, Rio Branco, understanding the relevance of the United States, as highlighted above, sought to approximate the 'brothers of the north' to the 'service of Brazil' through a "Brazil-United States alliance, within a regional subsystem expanded to cover the three Americas" serving both to consolidate national frontiers and to reduce European influence.9

Using this perspective we can think of the baron's global vision as being constructed on the two pillars presented here: the first, with the central logic of Pan-Americanism, was linked to the consolidation of the Brazilian position as a link between the United States and Latin America, especially South America; the second was associated with the deepening of the national role of South American geopolitics, possible only after the consolidation of the nation's frontiers, linked to a policy of equilibrium with bordering countries. "The 'body of the patria', completely delimited in the first decade of the [twentieth] century, demanded from a geopolitical point of view, the consolidation of its spinal column" (Magnoli, 1997, p.272).

Once the parameters and the geopolitical action of the Brazilian state were established in the early years of the Republic, new possibilities were highlighted for Brazilian diplomats, especially in relation to aspects referring to the construction of possible strategies linked to cultural projects.



According to Sérgio Danese, as soon as these frontier questions were resolved, Brazilian diplomacy was responsible for making itself into a instrument of development for other state projects, with diplomacy coming "to work intensely to place Brazil on the path of regional integration with an expressive  contribution in the cultural dimension of the construction of nationality."10 The beginning of the professionalization of the Brazilian diplomatic corps put into practice by Rio Branco corroborates this perspective. In the baron's time the Ministry became concerned with the cultural and political training of its diplomats, who until then had entered the careers only through personal relationships.

Before thinking about the 'cultural dimension of the construction of nationality' it is necessary to look at the concept of Cultural Diplomacy. In order to understand this concept we can think of it as associated with the processes of construction of peace between nations. According to Edgard Telles Ribeiro,11 basing himself on T. S. Eliot, who defines culture as being everything that gives value to life, cultural elements are the essence of human relations, as well as relations between countries. Based on this argument, Telles Ribeiro argues that the connection between culture and foreign policy resides in the basic proposition of constructing through comprehension and knowledge a peaceful society.

Cultural Diplomacy in a very objective manner can be thought of as an instrument, a strategy for disseminating abroad the cultural aspects of a nation, associated with the internal divulgation of foreign cultures. According to this perspective its thematic universe can be summarized as follows: exchange of people; the promotion of art and national artists; the general divulgation of cultural elements through support for intellectual cooperation projects, etc.

According to Telles Ribeiro, international cultural relations are characterized by the search over time for great comprehension and approximation between people and institutions with the aim of establishing mutual advantages. Cultural Diplomacy, according to the author, is the specific use of the cultural relationship to reach national objectives that are not just cultural, but also political, commercial, or economic.

Moreover, the author emphasizes that by definition the ultimate aim of the diplomatic game is to contribute to the preservation of world peace, nothing is more efficient for this than strengthening mechanisms of mutual comprehension, and the most efficient and durable way to achieve this comprehension is cultural exchange allowing the transfer from one nation to another of valuable heritage, experiences, and ideas, favoring an atmosphere of understanding. This context also contributes to minimize judgments based on stereotypes, as well as reinforcing pacific feelings through the notion of the universality of cultural and artistic heritage. In this area, according to Telles Ribeiro, no matter how small the cultural manifestation of one country in another, these, linked to a modest mechanism of intellectual cooperation, nonetheless reinforce the approximation, contributing to the communion of peoples and cultures.

This communion tends to reduce tension between states, since it reduces suspicion and thereby reinforces the principle of reciprocity, helping to legitimate the credibility of cultural exchanges, reinforcing an 'indispensible sense of mutual trust,' both at a regional and intercontinental level. In the final analysis, for Telles Ribeiro "cultural cooperation constituted a powerful prop in the struggle for mutual comprehension within respect for diversity – the only valid manner of improving relations between peoples and governments" (Ribeiro, 1989, p.43).

This approximation based on the construction of cultural relations between nations was recognized during the twentieth century as a constitutive element of international relations. A 'third pillar' of foreign policy,'12 which was established as one of the essential dimensions of the relationship between states in the contemporary era.

The analysis of the French sociologist, Marcel Merle,13 reinforces this perspective. He says that the knowledge of cultural questions is necessary for a perfect comprehension of actors in the field of international relations, since these elements are superimposed on aspects that are merely political and economic. Merle's central argument is based on the fact that most international conflicts, in his reading, are the consequence of tensions with a cultural origin. Therefore, this cultural element has to be taken into account in diplomatic formulations.

It is through the insertion in this context that we highlight the importance of Revista Americana, a periodical initially directed by the diplomats Araújo Jorge, principally responsible for the Revista, and Delgado de Carvalho, as well as the journalist Joaquim Viana, and published in Rio de Janeiro from 1909-1919,14 since we deem it to be of extreme relevance for the understanding of the political and cultural scenario of the time, while we also see it as one of the first, if not the first, manifestations organized by an agency linked to the state that aimed to think of culture and national identities and how these should be inserted in an intercontinental project.



In the period in which it circulated Revista Americana was one of the most important publications on the Brazilian cultural scene. In addition to disseminating ideas, its principal objective "was to approximate intellectuals, conger gate spirits, reveal identities and promote forms of cultural integration among the various peoples of America."15 During its ten year existence,16 a wide range of subjects were dealt with, with themes that ran from diplomacy in the strict sense to literary criticism, also including the publication of poems and short stories, which usually dealt with South American questions. It was pioneering and unique in Brazil in its genre at that time.

Revista Americana can thus be seen as an attempt to find, if not a satisfactory answer to the questions that emerged in the period, then a path of debate that could henceforth lead to a common denominator that could in short represent continental cooperation and solidarity, the foundations for establishing peace on the continent.

According to Álvaro da Costa Franco17 Revista Americana emerged as an innovative intellectual cooperation project performing for ten year "a unique role of great relevance in our cultural scenario," the nucleus of cooperation between American intellectuals. In Costa Franco's view this functioned as the foundations for the policy of building closer ties with Brazil's neighbors.

In the editorial of the first issue, it was stated that the aim of the Revista was to:

Publicize the various spiritual manifestations of America and follow at the same time, in parallel, the superior outline of its political and economic development, becoming a feature of union between the representative figures of intellectuality in this part of the world.

It will facilitate the historian and the geographer, the politician and the journalist, the artist and the philosopher, secure and determining elements of a precise concept of multiples and paradoxes, aspects of our spiritual life.18

Revista Americana is considered by many as one of the instruments of Rio Branco's Americanist policy. This policy, as has been observed, was inserted in a new moment of Brazilian foreign policy, inaugurated with the Proclamation of the Republic.

In the aforementioned editorial in the first issue of Revista, it was observed that there was a cultural hiatus existing in the Americas, "a continent known for its fragments" which led to "intellectual ignorance" among the countries on the continent. This was reinforced by the distances that separate American countries, as well as the almost total absence of rapid and efficient means of communication at the time.

There was a need to create an identity for Brazil and for the Americas, since:

ideas to be acceptable need to bear the European mark and to transpose the seas in the wake of the Transatlantic liners, the unjustifiable neglect for things from our continent; the indifference for its history; contempt for the uncountable aspects of its nature and will have an almost complete picture of the various reasons for why the American peoples voluntarily do not know each other...

When the American peoples have a more precise concept of the values of their original and native qualities, still not all dimmed by the influx of exotic cultures; when they recognize that our continent, so badly known and outraged, constitutes in itself a perennial matrix of studies, examinations, investigations ... (ibidem)19

Therefore, it is extremely relevant to analyze Revista Americana recognizing the contemporaneity of the concerns that inspired it and its importance in the process that created a republican tradition, approximating it to the belief in a future in which Brazil could assume a leading role in the Continent and in this global context.

Undeniably, thinking about these questions leads us to the role and concerns of intellectuality at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Researching a periodical that illustrates the position of diplomats/intellectuals who acted in this period should lead us to projects for the construction of the nation, a theme present in the various intellectual groups of that period. Thought about more precisely, the analysis of this period allows us observe an intellectuality profoundly concerned with what are usually called Nations and Nationalities, understood as specific combinations of cultural identities, more or less forged, more or less inherited, territorialities and modern state apparatus, in other words 'sovereign' entities capable of entertaining relations with the 'subjects.'

This perspective was very common in the so-called 'New World' which, during the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, presented as one of its basic aims the construction of its nation states. This construction involved the definition of what a nation was, seen by Ernest Renan in 1882 as:

a soul, a spiritual principal. Two things, which in truth are only one, constitute this soul or spiritual principal. One is found in the past, the other in the present. One is the common possession of a rich legacy of memories; the other is daily consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of an inheri tance received in an undivided form ... assumes a past; but it is synthesized in the present as a concrete fact, the consent, the explicit and clear will to continue a life in common. The experience of a nation ... is a daily plebiscite, to the same extent that an individual existence is a perpetual affirmation of life.20

Factors such as politics, common material interests, military needs, etc, were always shown to be decisive elements in the formation of nations over the centuries, especially from the end of the eighteenth century onwards, an epoch that marked the beginning of the so-called 'Era of Revolutions,' which an end to the Ancien Regime.

We can find on the pages of Revista Americana a clear effort to analyze these subjects, relating them to contemporary concerns, both in a global context and in the specific context of the so-called New World, seeking to create a space for the debate between South American intellectuality in an attempt to produce syntheses which could be transformed into projects for the continent.

Parallel to this, it cannot be forgotten that the Revista also had the aim of consecrating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the recently created Brazilian republican order, something was not definitely achieved at that time, but in relation to which Revista Americana was an attempt, a landmark in a Cultural Diplomacy, aiming at the approximation of the nations of the Americas, especially those of South America.

Revista Americana thus presented as one of its principal concerns the need for reflection on Brazilian territorial formation, and by extension that of South America. Questions referring to this issue, such as Pan-Americanism, were highlighted throughout the period in which the Revista circulated and in the final analysis legitimated this greater project of the consecration of diplomacy in the creation of an imagination based on the approximation of the nations of South America and consequently the construction of continental peace.

We consider the reflection on the above mentioned issues to be of fundamental importance for inserting the Revista in a determined epoch, in a determined social, political and cultural locus which in the final analysis brings us to thinking about the position of the Brazilian state from the perspective of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the period, from whom Baron Rio Branco was their principal artifice. We defend this argument to the extent that the approach to these subjects allowses us establish a new perspective for questions related to international arbitration, opening space, for instance, for the debating of questions such as sovereignty, alliances and hegemony, inserted in the discussion process of the delimitation of South American frontiers within a perspective of the maintenance of peace and political equilibrium on the continent. Although these issues are not analyzed in this article they nonetheless frequently appear in the pages of the periodical.

As has already been stated, in the actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the initial decades of the republican era, essentially from the time of Rio Branco onwards, the importance given to the formation of a diplomatic corps can be noticed. This was to be the central pillar of a sufficiently solid institutional staff consisting of true 'Men of State,' prepared, irrespective of their political position, to represent, defend and project Brazil, both internally and externally. The construction of frontiers, the demarcation of limits and the consolidation of territory, associated with national defense and a specific type of Americanism, as well as the search for international prestige, were the mark of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the construction of the project for the Republic and to a certain extent defined the role of diplomacy in the recently inaugurated republican order.

Revista Americana was part of this political project of approximation with Brazil's neighbors. Within this perspective issues linked to the territorial formation of the continent, one of the basic functions of diplomacy, were greatly highlighted in the pages of the journal. The valorization of these questions implied the resort to history as a support for the construction of projects for nations presented in the pages of the magazine.

This perspective of the valorization of historical narrative as legitimating cultural and political positions is present in Revista Americana at various moments. One of the most important was the death of Rio Branco, when the Revista valorized the memory of the Baron clearly seeking to establish and legitimate criteria that could justify not only the foreign minister's actions, but also the strategies of Brazil from then on. The analyses then presented were debated in light of what was – and to a certain extent is – defined as the Rio Branco paradigm of Brazilian foreign policy.

Shortly after the death of the foreign minister the Revista published an Editorial in February 1912 which allowed it, using the baron's own words, to restate his ideas and create principles for Brazilian and South American diplomacy. Emphasizing the basic motto of Rio Branco's trajectory, Ubique patriae menor,21 Revista Americana observed and defended the need for the ways diplomats should act and principally place their country above all and any type of interest, and that this should be the legacy of Brazilian diplomacy. Diplomats were to be responsible for the role of constructing a project of the nation, a project aimed at the future, even if for this diplomatic strategies were not perfectly understood, since a characteristic of the international policy of any state was the posterior recognition of its deeds.

Making use of the baron's words, specifically his speech to the 1906 Pan-American Conference, Revista Americana highlighted what was the essence and the legacy left by the former foreign minister, namely: Brazilian territorial unity associated with a cordiality in international relations, with the latter being a basic function of civilized nations. Rio Branco believed that at that time an insane and barbarous tendency was shaking even the educated environments. In relation to this, a real political sense fundamentally concerned with fighting all and any type of international rivalry needed to be established among statesmen. Therefore, Brazil's neighbors should not have any type of concern. In Rio Branco's words, as reproduced in the editorial:

This vast country all united in the tranquil security of its destinies, without ambitious concerns ... never had the intention of and predilection for hegemony. Brazilian patriotism has nothing aggressive ... even more so for acts than for words true to the traditions of our foreign policy, we always work to improve our relations with the nations of our continent and particularly with those whose neighbors we are ... Bordering republics, to all American nations we only desire peace, intelligent initiatives and fertile work so that, prospering and uplifting itself, serve us as an example and stimulation for our peaceful activities, such as those of the great and glorious sister in the north, the promoter of this useful conferences. To the countries of Europe, to whom we are always connected and with whom there will always be moral ties and so many economy interests, we only wish to continue to offer the same guarantees that our constant love for order and progress has given until the present.22

This citation leads us to some questions that are very enlightening about the choice of this speech by the editors of the Revista. As well as the explicit position in relation to South America, with the indications of the political concerto desired by the Brazilian state, the need for approximation with the United States was shown, though from a clearly realist perspective, especially because a favorable position towards Europe was maintained.

Finally, Rio Branco finished by extolling the republican motto, a fundamental strategy in his foreign policy, both in the approximation with the US and with its 'closest neighbors.' Equally the question of the territorial formation of the continent is highlighted, understood in Rio Branco's logic through the construction of Brazilian frontiers. This is, as has already been stated, the great legacy of the 'Baron's diplomacy.'

This perspective can be observed in an article written by Rui Barbosa,23 published in Revista Americana, in which he stated that Rio Branco had been 'the ultimate benefactor of our frontiers,' highlighting that he did not implement an expansionist policy, since he did not widen the Brazilian borders, but rather 'restored them,' with his work being not an expansion, but a correction. In the words of Barbosa:

I will not say, as has been said, that he widened the territory for us. No. The great merits of other things do not need anything but the truth. Only this in the judgment of posterity resists the final judgment.

Thiers, obtaining the evacuation of French soil by the Germans, did not increase French soil, he re-established it. He was its liberator. Rio Branco achieved the recognition of our right to the region which the foreigner disputed with us, he did not expand our borders, he restored them.

His work was not of amplification, but of correction, of restitution, of consecration. But it is not of lesser worth ...

In order to be good brothers, among our neighbors it has to be agreed as a settled matter that Brazil never desired nor perpetrated territorial expansions.

Envious is the destiny of that fellow in his reality, projecting his achievement to the extremes of the country, a kind of guardian name, like the god Termerus of our national integrity. (Barbosa, 2002, p.17)

It is interesting to note the use of the verb restore by Rui Barbosa. This expression necessarily draws on the myth of the fixed territory. According to Rui Barbosa, the baron's frontier policy neither expanded nor conquered territories, it only ensured that Brazil's historic legacy would be fulfilled. Therefore, the valorization of a given historic narrative is of fundamental importance for diplomatic action and discourse, a fact that helps the comprehension of the (re)reading made as a legitimation mechanism of the political positions adopted by the Brazilian state at the dawn of the Republican period.

The valorization of the foreign minister's strategy as an example of a public man and a statesman who should thus henceforth serve as a reference for the Republic was the central theme of various articles published in the issue that commemorated the baron, written by eminent intellectuals from the period, such as Pandiá Calógeras.

In a long article, Calógeras24 presented a deep reflection on Rio Branco policies, emphasizing aspects referring to the relations of Brazil with the rest of America and the importance of International Law, as well as the political role played by the baron, which he believed should serve as an example for Brazilian 'statesmen.'

For Calógeras, one of the principal legacies of the recently proclaimed republic was its drawing closer to the rest of the American continent, especially South America, with the intention of maintaining peace. For this diplomacy had to be transformed into an instrument that was above partisanship, in other words above the 'disorders of internal politics.' According to the author, any examination of the baron's time commanding the Brazilian foreign ministry had to adopt this focus. Calógeras believed that Rio Branco was staunch in the defense of autonomy for the Ministry, something that was fundamental because the new regime encouraged the ephemeral duration of parties and the predominance of individual interests, while a healthy intellectual debate with space for divergences tended to be lacking.

International policy should correspond to the anxieties, permanent necessities and duties of the state. Thus, it could not be dependent on any groups that had political vices noxious to the nation, but rather should be the responsibility of an elite, men who, irrespective of their political positions, keep in mind a clear conception of duty to Brazil, with sufficient qualities to exercise this important function. Calógeras states that Rio Branco's strategy had been to:

attract to his diplomatic orientation collaborators with all the different mental traits, in Chambers and outside them. Concerned with national foreign policy, he achieved his aim through the constant cooperation of all Brazilians, brothers sharing the same ideal that animated the eminent head of the Chancellery. (Calógeras, 1913, p.188)

Despite criticism of this vision, still defended by some until the present day, of a certain autonomy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the baron's time of the baron, who characterized it as a type of independent arm of the executive, it is interesting to note that the defense of this autonomy, present in Calógeras' discourse, leads us to the question of what role, and consequently what preparation, the Brazilian diplomatic corps should have. In the final analysis it points to the function of Itamaraty in the recent Republican order, which was: an institution which had to, based on personal merit and a profound knowledge of the nation, construct a national project, with international repercussions in order to guarantee the legitimacy and respectability abroad of Brazilian politics and culture, and by extension South American, since this recognition needed as a central pillar cooperation between the American peoples who would make America the 'continent of peace.'

According to Calógeras the search for continental peace involved the establishment of ever closer relations between the 'confronting nations' of South America. This approximation was included in a Ministry strategy aimed at initially ending mistrust among 'neighbors.'

As a result the study and the development of international law with an American perspective needed to be given increased importance among the diplomatic concerns of that time, something that was valorized in the pages of the Revista, which in this way highlighted what path and role diplomacy should assume in the political and cultural concerto that was being constructed at that moment. The direction chosen needed to assume a perspective of the valorization of an American model which could guarantee peace for the region. In this, as has already been highlighted, there resides an important argumentative line in the Revista, based on the valorization of the diplomatic corps in a new order that could guarantee the strengthening of the continent's internal relations, a fact that could demand in addition to political and economic approximation, cultural and intellectual approximation, obviously led by national diplomacies. This would lay both the foundations to establish the place of the Ministry in the new republican order and the insertion of Brazil in the American continental sphere, which needed to present its own morality in light of the international concerto of the period.

America as an example to be followed was the basis of the argumentation of J.C Gomes Ribeiro. In an article entitled "As fronteiras do Brasil (The frontiers of Brazil)" he stated that an 'era of solidarity among the South American nations' needed to be established, which should be linked to the creation of an exclusive international law for the Americas, the fundamental principle of which would be the decision making formula of questions of borders based on the resources of international arbitration.25

With the clear aim of legitimating his argument, Gomes Ribeiro made a detailed historical analysis of the process of delimiting frontiers during the Brazilian imperial period, highlighting what he considered to be the general principles of Brazilian diplomacy of the Empire: Uti Possidetis and respect for the treaties signed by Portugal and Spain during the colonial period, when they did not clash with the facts of possession and clarified doubts resulting from the lack of effective occupation.

Gomes Ribeiro demonstrated in this article a concern with defining the term 'frontier' in a more traditional legal sense, associating it both with political questions between friends and the internal recognition of territory. For the author:

the territorial limit of nations, the line of contact of their jurisdictions, thereby profoundly of interest to the precise knowledge, not only of bordering states, but also of the individual citizens of each nation, due to the multiplicity of social and political factors that arise out of the frontier, whether of an institutional, penal, administrative, commercial and above all strategic nature. (Ribeiro, 1917, p.106)

To a certain extent, the analysis of the Revista highlights what can be understood as the intended function that the Brazilian – and by extension South American – diplomatic corps should assume at that moment, namely the constructor of an American morality distinct from the rest of the world and which should serve as an example. In the final analysis the role of diplomacy permeated the debates, making it into a touchstone for the argumentation of the writers of Revista Americana.

We believe that the valorization of Brazilian diplomacy present in the pages of Revista Americana served as a guide to the role that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should play in the newly inaugurated republican order and, by extension, in the new insertion of Brazil in the continental scene, in which the target would be to establish, as stated, a moral standard for America through the construction of new legal paradigms, intended to serve as models for the other continents.

Even knowing that the perspective defended in the pages of Revista Americana deserved all the relativizations and criticisms, since the existence of rivalries between the South American nations was well known, it can be noted that one of the elements that united its writers was the valorization of an American morality based on the defense of the principles that the diplomatic corps had and consequently also the Ministry, the institution responsible for its application and thus a key piece for establishing which paradigms needed to be followed by South America at the dawn of the twentieth century. This premise is also crucial to understanding the project of the Revista and the actual rhetoric of Brazilian and South American diplomacy in the first two decades of the twentieth century, which in summary can be characterized by the need to establish much more than a precise diagnosis of reality, a project for the future that needed to be constructed, with an America that was much more than real, an imagined America that needed to be supported by historic past to achieve a new future in which it would occupy what was considered as its due place.

The articles of Revista Americana expressed a determined reading of the role that Brazilian diplomacy should assume in the new political scenario that was being constructed at that moment, both at a foreign level, with the new concerto of nations in the context of the First World War, and internally with the consolidation of the republican order in which the Brazilian diplomatic corps was searching for its space. In both perspectives approximation between American nations was valorized as a motto for the construction of a new continental order which would involve the construction of mechanisms for the resolution of frontier conflicts through an American moral standard based on the set of norms that guaranteed peace and equilibrium between nations.

In the tense context of the dawn of the twentieth century, the positions of analysts of the period varied, ranging from the consideration of diplomacy as an instrument of civilization that regulated international relations serving as the institute responsible for the defense of the less powerful nations, to the strategic element of commercial and business expansion in extreme conflict, fundamentally promoted by the central nations of the capitalist economy.

In the debates in Revista Americana the need to think of a determined project for the Americas remained latent in a context of evident tension that was the fruit of a clear transition, characterized by a crisis of values and paradigms, which contained an enormous challenge for that intellectual generation: understanding a world in constant change without consolidated references.

The Revista valorized diplomacy and indicated paths for Brazil and South America, which had to be followed and constructed. Perceiving the strategies and directions of Itamaraty in the decades following the publication of the periodical, it is clear what the greatest legacy of Revista Americana was. It can be seen as the first Brazilian experience of what was later denominated 'cultural diplomacy,' connected to a project involving South American approximation. Led by the diplomatic corps of the continent, this policy was based on the preparation of specific morality and culture of and for South America through the articulation of a series of concepts shown to be important for the diplomatic and intellectual debate of the time.

Corroborating this perspective, it was not possible to discuss in this article some aspects present in the structure of the Revista which point to this approximation between South American nations. In particular there is the disseminating logic explained by the journal itself in the Bibliography section, which consisted of a type of report on books that had come to the attention of the editors, the Journals section which consisted of summaries of some periodicals published in America and Europe and finally the Notes section aimed at readers talking about various subjects, especially critical reviews of publications about Revista Americana.

In addition, it also included texts with a more literary character, dealing with everything from the history of literature and literary criticism in a strict sense, to poetry and fiction. Most of these texts contained a concern with disseminating cultural, historical and sociological elements from various nations in South America.

Another aspect that deserves to be highlighted was the sentiment of Americaness that was emphasized in various approaches present in the Revista which simultaneously to the defense of the patria, territorial integrity and national sovereignty, projected the defense of an American ideal, especially in articles that dealt with diplomatic issues.

Various history and literary criticism texts had the clear function of informing the journal's readers about various cultural manifestation in South America, especially those of Brazil and Argentina, though Chile, Uruguay and Peru were also highlighted, allowing a greater knowledge of the literature of the 'neighbors,' but equally updating and encouraging reflection the cultural policies present with the aim of valorizing similarities among the above mentioned nations.

It is interesting to note that the valorization of common aspects of South American nations was quite striking. It can be said that the Revista was concerned with highlighted everything that could encourage nations to become closer, associated with the defense of the thesis that America was a continent of peace. The search for an ideal America was the concern of various author involved in the publication project. Thus, its importance for the analysis of the intellectuals who trained South American diplomats, especially Brazilian ones, in the early years of the twentieth century and who served as the foundations for diplomatic action and thought in the following decades.

In relation to this generation of Brazilian diplomats it cannot be forgotten that the overwhelming majority, at the beginning of the republican period, came from the ranks of the Monarchy. In order to analyze this transition from the Monarchy to the Republic it is essential to understand the strategies used by the diplomatic corps and in the last analysis by the writers of Revista Americana. Therefore, it is not possible to agree with those who tend to place Brazilian diplomacy as the nostalgic heir of the time of the Empire. It assumed a new role in the republican order, recognizing itself as part of a group of nations who presented the necessary requirements to conduct a determined political and cultural project responsible for the creation and later the consolidation of an intended republican tradition in international relations during the twentieth century.

It has to be highlighted that it was during the last century that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established an institutional policy for the permanent training of staff with the consolidation of the professionalization of the diplomatic career. The beginning of this systematic preparation for an effective education of a uniform and above all highly qualified, especially in the fields of history, geography and law, as well as obviously international questions, both to represent Brazil abroad and to internally legitimate the actions of the Ministry, dates from the period immediately after the ending of the publication of the Revista, the 1920s and 1930s. In this scenario the Rio Branco Institute was created, which from the 1940s onwards became the body responsible for the training of the Brazilian diplomatic corps.

The defense of principles such as cooperation and exchange between the South American nations, of a place in the concert of nations, of a unique identity, a specific morality, and model specific legal principles for a new continental and international order, which marked the training of Brazilian diplomacy in the twentieth century are observable elements in the Revista Americana project.



1 Estamos pensando nos pressupostos da 'virada linguística', em especial as perspectivas desenvolvidas por Quentin Skinner e J. G. Pocock. Sobre isso ver: SKINNER, Quentin. Meaning and understanding in the History of Ideas; Motives, intentions and interpretation of texts; e Reply to my critics; todos se encontram em TULY, James. Meaning and context: Quentin Skinner and his critics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988;         [ Links ] SKINNER, Quentin. As fundações do pensamento político moderno. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1996. Ver também: FALCON, Francisco. História das idéias.         [ Links ] In: CARDOSO, Ciro; VAINFAS, Ronaldo. Domínios da História. Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 1997; e Introdução: o estado da arte; o conceito de linguagem e o métier d'historien, todos encontrados em J. G. POCOCK. Linguagens do ideário político. São Paulo: Edusp, 2003.         [ Links ]

2 POCOCK, 2003. A perspectiva do lance nos remete, segundo Pocock, a um processo no qual um ato de fala é enunciado e de certa forma busca inovar o contexto linguístico, permitindo ao historiador observar o que um autor (ou grupo de autores) estava fazendo no momento de elaboração de seu discurso.         [ Links ]

3 HOBSBAWM, Eric. A era dos impérios. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1988. p.85.         [ Links ]

4 Estamos considerando 'geração' compreendendo-a com base na fusão entre memória e história, ou seja, na existência de uma memória comum, um testemunho de como um conjunto de homens viveu determinada época. Nesse sentido, devemos ligar gerações aos marcos, aos eventos fundadores, mas com o cuidado de não nos determos somente neles, pois não devemos datar uma geração apenas pelos fenômenos sociais ocorridos, na medida em que estes podem ser apreendidos de várias maneiras. Sobre isto ver: ATTIAS-DONFUT, Cleudine. La notion de génération: usages sociaux et concept sociologique. In: L'Homme et la Societé, Paris, ané XXII, v.90, 1988 ; SIRINELLI Jean-François. La génération: la construction du temps historique. Paris: Histoire au Present, 1991.         [ Links ]

5 Sobre isso ver, entre outros: BUENO, Clodoaldo; CERVO, Amado Luiz. História da política exterior no Brasil. Brasília: Ed.UnB, 2002; RODRIGUES, José Honório. Interesse nacional e política externa. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1966; RODRIGUES, José Honório;         [ Links ] SEITENFUS, Ricardo. Uma história diplomática do Brasil, 1531-1945. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização brasileira, 1995; MAGNOLI, Demétrio. O corpo da pátria. São Paulo: Moderna; Ed. Unesp, 1997.         [ Links ]

6 Sobre essa perspectiva de uma 'missão civilizadora' ver: LINS, Álvaro. Rio Branco. São Paulo: Alfa-Ômega; Brasília: Funag, 1996; CARVALHO, Carlos Delgado de. História diplomática do Brasil. São Paulo: Cia. Ed. Nacional, 1959; CARVALHO, Affonso de. Rio Branco: sua vida e obra. Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército Ed., 1995.         [ Links ]

7 Uruguai, Argentina e Chile foram os primeiros a reconhecer o novo governo brasileiro, já em 1889. Em janeiro de 1890, foi a vez de Bolívia, Venezuela, México e Estados Unidos. Na Europa, a França republicana foi a primeira, em julho de 1890, seguida por Grã-Bretanha, Itália e Espanha, em 1891.         [ Links ]

8 Durante a gestão do barão do Rio Branco à frente das negociações relativas a disputas territoriais (a partir de 1893) e depois como chanceler da República (entre 1902 e 1912), foram definidos vários litígios fronteiriços: com a Argentina, Guianas Francesa e Inglesa, Bolívia (em relação ao Acre), Peru, Venezuela, Colômbia, Uruguai, Equador (que na época limitava com o Brasil) e Holanda (em relação ao Suriname). Entre 1893 e 1912, 440 mil km2 foram definidos favoravelmente ao Brasil. Sobre isso ver: DORATIOTO, Francisco. Espaços nacionais na América Latina: da utopia bolivariana à fragmentação. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1994.         [ Links ]

9 LAFER, C.; PEÑA, F. Argentina e Brasil no sistema das relações internacionais. São Paulo: Duas Cidades, 1973.         [ Links ]

10 DANESE, Sérgio França. Diplomacia presidencial. Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1999.         [ Links ]

11 RIBEIRO, Edgard Telles. A diplomacia cultural e o seu papel na política externa brasileira. Brasília: Funag, 1989.         [ Links ]

12 Termo cunhado por Willy Brandt, ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros da antiga República Federal da Alemanha, em 1966, citado em RIBEIRO, 1989.         [ Links ]

13 MERLE, Marcel. Forces et engeux dans les relations internationales. Paris: Ed. Economica, 1985.         [ Links ]

14 A partir de 1916 a direção da Revista Americana ficou a cargo de Araújo Jorge e Silvio Romero Filho. Cabe ressaltar que Araújo Jorge era secretário de Rio Branco e considerado por muitos seu principal assistente, apesar da pouca idade. Delgado de Carvalho teve grande importância na consolidação da diplomacia brasileira, assumindo a cadeira sobre História Diplomática no curso de formação de diplomatas.         [ Links ]

15 SENADO FEDERAL. Revista Americana: uma iniciativa pioneira de cooperação intelectual. Seleção de artigos fac-similar. Brasília: Funag, 2001. Apresentação.         [ Links ]

16 Com algumas interrupções, como durante parte da Primeira Guerra Mundial.         [ Links ]

17 SENADO FEDERAL, 2001, Apresentação, cit.         [ Links ]

18 Revista Americana, v.1, set. 1909. (Editorial).         [ Links ]

19 Revista Americana, v.1, set. 1909. (Editorial).         [ Links ]

20 RENAN, Ernest. O que é uma Nação. s.l.: s.n., 1882.         [ Links ]

21 "Em qualquer lugar a pátria em minha lembrança".         [ Links ]

22 Revista Americana, fev. 1912. (Editorial).         [ Links ]

23 BARBOSA, Rui. Rio Branco. Revista Americana, abr. 1913. Esse número foi todo dedicado ao barão do Rio Branco, tendo sido publicado na íntegra com o título O barão do Rio Branco visto por seus contemporâneos. Brasília: Funag, 2002. Essa foi a edição utilizada.         [ Links ]

24 CALÓGERAS, João Pandiá. Rio Branco e a política exterior. Revista Americana, abr. 1913.         [ Links ]

25 RIBEIRO, J. C. Gomes. As fronteiras do Brasil. Revista Americana, mar. 1917. Houve continuação em abril e junho do mesmo ano.         [ Links ]

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