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Brás Pereira Gomes, Wenceslau (1868–1966)

Brás Pereira Gomes, Wenceslau (1868–1966)

Wenceslau Brás Pereira Gomes (b. 26 February 1868; d. 15 May 1966), president of Brazil (1914–1918). After serving as governor of the state of Minas Gerais (1908–1910) and vice president under Hermes da Fonseca (1910–1914), Brás was elected president of Brazil in 1914. The Brás presidency marked the end of the extreme federalism of Brazil's early republican years, as the federal government took an increasingly active role in directing state politics and the national economy. Under Brás, force and intimidation were used in several federal interventions into the internal affairs of politically weak states, as well as for the suppression of the Contestado Rebellion along the Santa Catarina-Paraná border. Brás's presidential policies favored the most powerful states. São Paulo and Minas Gerais, which were allied in a power-sharing arrangement known as the politics of café-com-leite (an allusion to the prominent coffee-growing and ranching economies of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, respectively).

Aside from declaring war on the Central Powers in 1917, thus making Brazil the only South American republic to join the Allies, Brás is best known for signing the Civil Code of 1917. The Brás presidency is also notable for a rise in domestic industrial production stimulated by the disruptions of international trade and credit brought on by World War I. In November 1918 Brás left office amid a Spanish flu epidemic that ravaged Rio de Janeiro. He subsequently returned to Minas Gerais to lead a private life out of the public spotlight.

See alsoBrazil, Civil Code .


Raúl Alves Da Souza, História política dos governos da república (1927), pp. 195-216.

John D. Wirth, Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889–1937 (1977).

E. Bradford Burns, A History of Brazil (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Viscardi, Cláudia Maria Ribeiro. O teatro das oligarquias: Uma revisão da "política do café com leite. Belo Horizonte: Editora C/Arte, 2001.

                                 Daryle Williams

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