Constitutional Ideas and the Role of Jurists in 20th Century Brazil: A Brief Survey
Spanish in Diego Valadés et al. (eds.), Ideas e instituciones constitucionales en el siglo XX, México: Siglo XXI/UNAM, 2011: 517-525.
12 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2016
Date Written: July 01, 2011
The aim of this short article is not to provide a summarized history of the constitutions but a history of constitutional thought in twentieth century Brazil. However, it cannot be denied that these perspectives tend to travel side by side. Moreover, it can be said that the history of this constitutional thought is also the history of the country’s political thought. But this last coincidence is only partial. Since the beginning of the century (actually since Brazil’s independence in 1822) until 1945, constitutional thought and political thought were largely coincidental. It is not by chance that the leading constitutional lawyers of this period were also the leading minds of Brazilian political thought. After 1945, however, there was a progressive distancing between political-institutional thought and constitutional thought. One trivial reason for this distancing is surely the fact that during the first period mentioned, the main (and at times the only) academic education available in the country was in law. But the simple increase in the opportunities for academic education does not appear to be a sufficient explanation for the gradual decrease in the role of jurists in the political and institutional debate. Although a comprehensive analysis of all the reasons that led to this decrease would go beyond the scope of this article, some of them will be analyzed here.
Keywords: political thought, constitutional law, jurists
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation