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File:Pliniosalgado v1935.jpg
Plínio Salgado
Closing Session of the Integralist Congress
Plínio Salgado is to the center (seated)
Blumenau, 1935

Plínio Salgado (January 22, 1895 – December 7, 1975) was the founder and leader of the 1930s Brazilian political movement known as "Integralism".

Early life

Born in the small traditional town of São Bento do Sapucaí in São Paulo state, he was the son of Colonel Francisco das Chagas, a local political leader, and Ana Francisca Rennó Cortez, a teacher. A very active child at school, he had special interest for math and geometry. After the loss of his father, when he was 16 (fact that is said to have made him a bitter young man), his interests shifted towards psychology and philosophy.

At the age of 20, he founded and directed the weekly newspaper Correio de São Bento. It was through his articles that he would become known by fellow journalists in São Paulo, and would later be invited to work there in the political paper Correio Paulistano.

In 1918, Salgado began his political life by taking part in the founding of a party called Partido Municipalista. This party congregated town leaders from municipalities in Vale do Paraíba and advocated municipal autonomy.

Also in that year, Salgado married Maria Amélia Pereira, and on July 6, 1919, his daughter Maria Amélia Salgado was born. Fifteen days after giving birth to her daughter, Maria Amélia died. Filled with sorrow, Plínio turned to Catholicism for comfort, and then began to read material from Brazilian Catholic thinkers.

Again, the death of a loved one had a great impact on the course of Plínio's life. He would only marry again 17 years later, with Carmela Patti.

Integralism

Salgado adapted virtually all Fascist symbolism and salutes - although publicly rejecting racist ideologies - like paramilitary organization with green-shirted uniformed ranks, highly regimented street demonstrations, and aggressive rhetoric directly financed in part by the Italian embassy. Even though Salgado himself was never an anti-semite, many of the party members adopted anti-semitic views.

His movement drew its support from lower middle class Italian immigrants, a large part of the Portuguese community, lower middle class Brazilians, and military officers, especially in the navy.

Brazilian President Getulio Vargas turned to Integralism, the only mobilized base of support on the right, which was elated by his fascist-style crackdown against the Brazilian left. In 1934, Salgado's movement targeted the Communist movement under Luiz Carlos Prestes, mobilizing a conservative mass support base engaging in street brawls and urban terrorism.

When Vargas established full dictatorial powers under the Estado Novo in 1937, he crushed the movement. Though the Integralists favored Vargas' hard right turn, Salgado was overly ambitious, with overt presidential aspirations that threatened Vargas' grip on power. In 1939, after two failed attempts to overthrow Vargas' dictatorial regime, Salgado was arrested, imprisoned in the Santa Cruz fortress, and exiled in Portugal.

Late career

With the end of Estado Novo in 1945, Salgado was allowed to return to Brazil. He went to Rio de Janeiro in 1946, and founded the PRP (Partido de Representação Popular). Still driven by the ambition of becoming president, Salgado ran for presidency under the PRP in 1955, but finished last, obtaining 8% of the votes (around 714,000 votes).

Salgado would run as a candidate for congressman representing Paraná state in the year of 1958, and was elected. Still in the PRP, he would be re-elected in 1962, this time for São Paulo state.

In 1964, with the military coup, and the introduction of a bipartidary system, Salgado joined the National Renewal Alliance Party (Arena). In that party, he managed to have 2 more mandates as a member of the House of Representatives (1966 and 1970). In 1974, he retired from political life.

Plínio Salgado died in São Paulo, where he was buried at the Morumbi Cemetery.

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