Historical figures can be conceptualized as people who accomplish helpful and useful ideas. They are usually recognized in societies, cultures and the world. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill were examples of historical figures. It is likely that each country has had an important person, and Brazil is not different. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was a key figure in Brazil’s development. He was a southerner with a brilliant mind, and by his ideas the Brazilian people improved their lives. There were many remarkable events during Vargas’s life. However, the most interesting and important points must be considered when discussing Getulio Vargas life: the origin, the political life, and his death.
Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was born on April 19, 1883 (Levine, 1998). Son of Candida Francisca Dornelles and Manuel do Nascimento, Getúlio was one of the couple’s five sons. He grew up in a small city called Sao Borja, in Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Since he was young, he proved to be an interesting person. Attending the military high school in his city, Getúlio showed himself to be an excellent student. He always had the best GPA and attendance in his classes. Characteristics like these were essential to be accepted in the law school in the city of Porto Alegre. In few months, Vargas had already bridged the gap between professors and classmates; it was a key criterion to become an editor of the law school newspaper, “Debate”, while he was attending university.
Also, Getúlio was a successful speaker and for this reason he was elected orator of his class. Professors and other students claimed that Vargas was persuasive and enlightening. In 1907, He got his degree in law and after few years he received the position the assistant in a new newspaper called Petit Journal, which made many critics to the political class. In March 1911, Getúlio married Darcy Lima Sarmanho (Levine,1998). They lived together for almost forty- seven years until his death. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, just as many men in Brazil during that era, had the great opportunity to grow up in a family which was able to sponsor his studies and provided a noble condition of education. This was possible because his father was a successful military sergeant. Military members have excellent salaries, and they are able to get many privileges. These things prepared Vargas to become an excellent politician.
The character Getúlio Vargas started his political career in 1909. Throughout it, Vargas had innumerable parliamentary offices. According to an article posted by Globalsecurity:
His meteoric political career started in 1909, when he was elected State Deputy; in 1922, he was elected Federal Deputy; in 1926, he was Minister of Finances; in 1928, he was elected governor of Rio Grande do Sul. Provisional President Getúlio Dornelles Vargas ruled as dictator (1930-34), congressionally elected president (1934-37), and again dictator (1937-45), with the backing of his revolutionary coalition. He also served as a senator (1946-51) and the popularly elected president (1951-54). (2018)
These positions were essential to build Vargas’s character. He really believed that he would be able to give a good quality of life to poor people providing jobs, heath, education, helping old and young people. For these reasons he was given the nickname “Father of the poor” (Levine,1998). He really had the belief that the Brazil could be a world power. His ideology was based in nationalism and interior development since he understood who the Brazilian people and their abilities to increase.
The most important position which Getúlio disputed was the republic president. For many years, this position was divided by politicians from Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. It was known as the “período do café com Leite” (or “Coffee with milk period”, translated by Rafael Lopes, 2018). Both Sao Paulo and Minas were the greatest, most powerful states. Sao Paulo was rich in coffee; therefore, it was the main importer of coffee in the 19th century. Sao Paulo sold its product to other south American countries and Europe. Minas Gerais had many farms and cows which produced and exported a huge quantity of milk and cheese. In addition, the state of Minas had many precious rocks and diamonds. These states were responsible for almost 100 percent of Brazil’s economy. It created a political system which guided Brazil for years. This economic influence led to a similar political structure. One year the president was a politician from Sao Paulo, the next year it was a politician from Minas Gerais. This circle was repeated many times.
In contrast to this idea, Getúlio Vargas, who was a politician from Rio Grande do Sul, decided to dispute the election against a politician from Minas. It was a tense period between Paulistas (people who were born in Sao Paulo), Mineiros (people was born in Minas Gerais) and Sulistas (people from southern Brazil). Many farmers and some politicians in the south had been constants confrontations because they disagreed about the “café com leite” policy.
Getúlio failed in that election, and one year later he and other groups executed a overthow known now as “Estado Novo” or “30 Revolution”. Vargas became president and formed a new constitution almost 30 years after his political strike. He was elected democratically and continued for several more years as the Brazilian president. He created many workers’ rights and the Brazilian economy grew, as well as the education and heath indexes. Therefore, Vargas was an excellent leader and his political life was an example of service and progress.
After and during his presidency in Brazil Vargas suffered many accusations of corruption by the journalist Carlos Prestes; this generated the nickname “mother of rich” in opposition to “Father of Poor”. This was because Vargas was accused of receiving money by companies and businessman and attempted murder of a Marine captain. Getúlio made a decision that decided Brazil’s history. On the morning of 1954 Getúlio Vargas killed himself at the Guanabara palace. Getúlio’s death was a sad moment for Brazilian people.
Around the world, many important newspapers recognized the death of the ex-Brazilian president. The BBC described this moment with the followed notice: “Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas has committed suicide hours after resigning amid a deepening political crisis.’’ (BBC,1954). The Brazilians’ main question in that moment was, “Getúlio, why did you do it?”
In conclusion, Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was not only a figure of Brazilian History; his political life, origin, unexpected death, his thoughts, ideas, improvements, and knowledge have proved just how Brazilian he was. His ideas and accomplishments made a better Brazil. He created rights that are helping humble people to become wealthier, not only in money but in courage too. Courage to wake up every morning believing in a better Brazil. His choices were remarkable influence to children, youths, adults, and even the elderly; overall to the Brazilian people. Unfortunately, the new generation will not able to know Getulio Vargas. However, books will continue to recognize his life and achievements.
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