Moderative Power

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Moderative Power

Moderative Power, one of the four constitutional powers of the Brazilian monarchy (along with the executive, legislative, and judiciary). This was the neutral power advocated by the French philosopher Benjamin Constant de Rebecques that kept the balance among the other powers and acted as arbiter. It gave the emperor power to select senators, dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, call extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly, sanction legislative bills, temporarily approve or suspend acts of provincial assemblies, appoint and dismiss ministers, suspend magistrates, commute sentences, and grant amnesty. This power could be exercised only after consultation with the Council of State.

The prerogatives of the moderate power became a point of contention between Liberals and Conservatives after the 1860 senatorial election, when Pedro II did not choose the candidate with the most votes. Thereafter, its use became increasingly associated with the exercise of personal power and in differentiating a constitutional monarchy from an absolute one. Liberals and Conservatives accepted its existence in principal, but Liberals wanted its acts endorsed by the cabinet, whereas Conservatives maintained that such a requirement was unconstitutional. Although its prerogatives were never changed, Pedro II used it sparingly and in consultation with the Council of State.

See alsoBrazil, The Regency .


Visconde De Uruguay, Ensaio sobre o Direito Administrativo (1960), pp. 253-307.

Paul Bastid, Benjamin Constant et sa doctrine (1966).

Additional Bibliography

Needell, Jeffrey D. The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831–1871. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

                                        Lydia M. Garner

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Moderative Power

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