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Historical Investigation: 1988 Brazilian Constitution

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Introduction

To what extent were Brazil's seventh and present constitution of 1988 and the resulting statutes congruent with Brazil's intended transition from authoritarianism to democracy? I. Plan of Investigation The following investigation evaluates the degree to which Brazil's current constitution of 1988 is truly democratic and congruent with their transition into democracy. In order to accurately assess the democracy of the constitution, this investigation will first explore Brazil's conversion from authoritarianism to democracy, before focusing on the resulting policies. This investigation will also focus on the validity of the 1988 Brazilian constitution as a truly democratic document that promotes fair and unbiased laws, and will take into account the opinions and ideas of distinguished individuals like Jorge Zaverucha, author of The 1988 Brazilian Constitution and its Authoritarian Legacy: Formalizing Democracy While Cutting its Essence as well as directly analyze the original, un-amended Brazilian Constitution. These sources will be evaluated in order to determine the effectiveness of the Citizen's Constitution as a protector of democracy, and its ability to generate fair and democratic laws. II. Summary of Evidence Brazil's transition to democracy came relatively late compared the rest of Latin America, beginning on the crest of the third wave of democracy that swept the region (Taylor 166). ...read more.

Middle

The purpose of this historical article was to present the idea that a transition from an authoritarian rule to a truly democratic state is not possible unless a new civil-military relationship is established. Otherwise, the original authoritarian mode of this relationship will not be compatible with a true democracy and thus, the resulting constitution will have varying degrees of political autonomy for the military. The article analyses key events in Brazil's transition from authoritarianism to democracy, including the role of the previous authoritarian government, and how both affected the 1988 constitution. The journal also analyses the effectiveness of the resulting constitution as a promoter of democratic dealings. Because the document's purpose is to prove that the People's Constitution of Brazil is not as democratic as it may seem, the article is primarily one sided, focusing on the negative aspects of the constitution. Therefore, the document only provides information that supports a single conclusion. The Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, 1988, written by the representatives of the Brazilian People, convened in the National Constituent Assembly, is a primary source document, meaning that it includes no bias from historical analyses. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of the influence that the Brazilian military had in the creation of the constitution, it contained certain provisions that supported the views and livelihoods of its creators: not only the military, but the upper class politicians as well. Therefore, the constitution supports a highly undemocratic process, in that rather than being a constitution of a new, more democratic civil-military and civil-political relationship, the 1988 Constitution preserved a mode of these relationships that is incompatible with the modern democratic system. This caused the Brazilian form of "democracy" to become exceedingly limited, providing a political rather than civil form of democracy. Meaning that the political rights necessary for free and fair elections in Brazil have been consolidated, while other rights such as equal access to justice, or freedom from abuses of power by the state or the military, have not. VI. Appendix 1 "The Armed Forces purpose is to defend the Nation, guarantee the constitutional branches of government and, on the initiative of any of these branches, law and order" (Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil). 2 "The Military Courts have the competence to carry out legal proceeding and trial of the military crimes defined by law" (Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil). VII. ...read more.

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