Brazil, Council of State

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Brazil, Council of State

The Council of State, an institution that advised the Brazilian crown on the use of the moderate power, matters of state, general measures of public administration, declarations of war, and treaties with foreign nations. Formed in 1824, its members were party leaders who were appointed for life and who frequently were appointed to cabinet posts. During the First Empire the constitution required the crown to consult the council, whose perception as a tool of Pedro I made it increasingly unpopular.

The council was abolished during the Regency and reinstated in 1841 with modifications: Imperial consultation became optional except on the exercise of the moderate power, its membership was increased from ten to twelve permanent members, and it became a court of appeals for administrative justice. It was divided into a plenary council and four sections: empire, finances, foreign relations and justice, and war and navy. The plenary council advised the emperor, and the four sections advised the respective ministries on administrative matters. Although consultation was now optional, there developed a de facto system of decision making in which its advice was required, making the council an unofficial legislative body that influenced all areas of administration. In 1889 it was abolished by the republic.

See alsoBrazil: 1808–1889; Pedro I of Brazil.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

José Honório Rodrigues, O Conselho de estado, o quinto poder? (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Fundação, Alexandre de Gusmão, and Centro de História e Documentação Diplomática. O Conselho de Estado e a política externa do Império: Consultas da Seção dos Negocios Estrangeiros, 1858–1862. Rio de Janeiro: FUNAG, 2005.

                                        Lydia M. Garner