Loyal to the nation
: the influence of José da Silva Lisboa’s publications on the independence of Brazil (1821-1822)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis analyses the impact of the publications written by the economist, jurist, administrator and historian José da Silva Lisboa, the future Viscount of Cairu, from 1821-1822, on the events that led to the Independence of Brazil in 1822. It reassesses the many interpretations of his role throughout the period, repositioning him among those who are part of the broad reformist Catholic Enlightenment.
Here I combine a literature review with the study of archival documentation, such as letters, newspapers and pamphlets published by Silva Lisboa, to produce an original account of his career and a new interpretation of his role in helping create an appropriate environment for ideas to be discussed during the post constitutional period that followed the Liberal Revolution in 1820 in Portugal.
The thesis brings to light the extent to which his ideas were influenced by the Enlightenment, and how these ideas influenced Public Opinion in the transition away from the ‘Reino Unido’ with Portugal, between 1815 and 1822, towards an independent Brazilian Empire under Dom Pedro. It is divided into four chapters: the first, an overview of Brazil and Silva Lisboa in the period; the second, covering his early support for Portuguese Constitutionalism in 1821 against despotism; the third, his estrangement from the Cortes of Lisbon, symbolised by the publication of the series of issues entitled Reclamação do Brasil, and the fourth, on his pamphlets published in 1822 in which he engages in debates with other journalists.
I argue that while a supporter of Brazilian autonomy, a fierce critic of the Cortes of Lisbon, and an important figure in the events that unfolded after the departure of Dom João VI from Rio de Janeiro in 1821, he did not openly embrace the Independence from the United Kingdom with Portugal and would instead work towards a solution that would encompass Brazil’s autonomy within a Portuguese Empire, which did not take place.
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorDavid Treece (Supervisor), Abdoolkarim Vakil (Supervisor) & Daniel Munoz Sempere (Supervisor)

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