Individual rights and freedoms are under constant attack in modern society, whether by the government or other people. Liberalism provides a solution by pushing for the protection of individual liberty. Liberalism is a theory that defines the reason and efforts undertaken to safeguard the aforementioned personal freedom as a concept and ideology in political science. Liberalism was an all-encompassing ideology in the nineteenth century and for a few years in the twentieth: free markets, free commerce, free speech, open borders, a minimal state, radical individualism, civil liberty, religious toleration, and minority rights. The most significant element of liberalism in today’s society is protecting individual freedom from government intrusion or infringement.
Everyone, on the other hand, has his or her interpretation of the term. Because the exact words signify various things at different periods, Brazilian liberals adapted liberal principles and political formulas to their requirements. Men interested in the export-import business were Brazil’s leading proponents of liberalism. Brazilian elites fought to preserve a clientele and patronage system and traditional values, which were at the heart of what European liberalism was fighting against.
Initially, liberal principles were used by the Brazilian colonial aristocracy to fight the mother country. Liberals were politically revolutionary and socially conservative at the time. Their fight, which in Europe was against royal absolutism, was essentially a fight against the colonial system in Brazil. All those high-sounding words and phrases so dear to European liberals – freedom, equality, people’s sovereignty, self-government, and free commerce – have unique connotations in Brazil. Fighting for freedom and equality required fighting against Portuguese monopolies and privileges and Portugal’s production and circulation limits. Fighting for the right to criticize the colonial treaty meant fighting for freedom of expression. Fighting for the people’s sovereignty meant fighting for a government free of the Portuguese Crown’s arbitrary favors and impositions. Slaves who yearned for freedom and the urban lower classes who hoped to dismantle privileges that riches had produced and the Portuguese government had legitimized were also drawn to liberal ideas. As a result, the conflicts of interest that pitted one class against another might be temporarily disguised behind an all-encompassing utopia, and the elites’ interests could be presented as the goals of all.
This study examines and reveals how liberalism was implemented in nineteenth-century Brazil. In the case of Brazil, the concept of liberalism was grasped and employed by the state’s bourgeoisie and elite for their own corrupt goals, ultimately influencing the country’s and people’s futures. According to the author, while liberalism remained a paradise for the nobility, it was nothing more than hollow talk for the vast mass of the Brazilian population caught in the clientele and patronage system. As a result, liberalism did not have the same profound influence on them as it had in other world regions. Patronage ethics played a crucial part in this ideological shift. As a result, the author concluded that Machado de Assis’ words, “In Brazil, political science finds a limit in the henchmen’s brain,” might better explain the peculiarity of Brazilian liberalism.