Integralismo Lusitano: Made in France?

Stewart Lloyd-Jones
Penélope, 28 (2003), pp. 93-104

We can all think of examples in which someone deliberately sets out to misrepresent, distort or in some way exaggerate the policies of their adversaries in order to cast them in the least favourable light. Normally, the opponent’s beliefs and values are described in relation to the beliefs and values of the detractor who will also shroud their explanations in a cloak of apparent reasonableness. One of the most ubiquitous forms of such political campaigning is through the creation of ‘straw men’ (homens de palha). This involves interpreting an opponent’s positions in such a way that they may easily be brought down. Excessive praise, a feigned intellectual ri­gour and half-truths, all liberally sprinkled with a conscious disregard for historical facts are brought into the mix to create a plausible – but definitely and deliberately unappealing – alternative interpretation of an opponent’s position.

Herein lies the crux of the political straw man, the value of which as a political tactic lies in its very plausibility. The purpose of the straw man is not simply to reject the opponent out of hand, but rather to portray them as valued and worthy adversaries. Similarly, it is not a tactic designed to be ‘preached to the converted’, its aim is more focused and is directed towards those constituencies that are in some way sympathetic, but not fully committed, towards the opponent. The main purpose is to convince this audience that they are not being told the who­le truth.

The straw man becomes the instrument that provides this ‘whole’ truth. This, then, is the second important aspect of any successful straw man – its ability to make the subjective appear objective. To achieve its aim and sow the seeds of doubt in its target audience, the straw man must be able to withstand all but the most detailed analysis and criticism. Essentially, this means that the straw man must appear to be the result of considered analysis, it must appear in itself to represent an objective interpretation of the positions it seeks to undermine. It must be more than superficial and it must avoid propagandistic or doctrinal language so that it does not reveal its own inherent subjectivity.

Another important aspect of the straw man is its ability to continue influencing attitudes in the longer term. A successful straw man will sow enough seeds of doubt that the ‘truth’ it represents becomes accepted as an objective ‘truth’. Having succeeded in having this truth normalised, the task of those who maintain faith with the opposite view becomes infinitely more difficult as they are forced to pit their subjective ideas against an accepted objective truth.

One of the most successful Portuguese examples of the straw man was that created by Raul Proença in a series of six articles written in 1921 and 1922 for Seara Nova. He set out to highlight the contradictions within the ideological and doctri­nal statements of the Portuguese nationalist movement, Integralismo Lusitano, and to expose it as a mere carbon copy of Action Française.1 By so doing, Proença aimed to portray Portuguese integralist nationalism as an insincere and essentially deri­vative movement the underlying goal of which was the restoration of the monarchy for its own sake. His initial goal was to prove:

Que não é o seu monarquismo que está subordinado ao seu nacionalismo e ao seu tradicionalismo; a tradição e o carácter nacional só lhes servem quando são monárquicos e no grau exacto em que o são; podendo, pois, dizer-se que… eles são antes tradicionalistas por serem monárquicos.2

His contention was that Integralismo, while promoting nationalism and asserting itself to be essentially Portuguese, was actually little more than a reworking of the teachings contained in Charles Maurras’ Enquête sur la monarchie, and that when António Sardinha, Integralism’s leading intellectual, stated that ‘it is the facts, and only the facts, that inspire us’, he implies national facts but actually means the facts as revealed in the French nationalists’ bible. ln the end, Proença feels able to dis­miss Integralism as lacking in any internationalist coherence, and the Integralists as little more than apologists for a set of ideals designed by foreigners to be ap­plied in an altogether different context: ‘não há uma só ideia integralista que não tenha pago na Alfândega direitos de importação’,3 and later, ‘nunca houve em Portugal geração ou facção alguma que se relevasse intelectualmente tão servile como este partido de aristocratas’.4

Proença’s attack on Integralism’s dependence on the works of Maurras is highly probable because he uses the statements of Integralism’s leaders to great ef­fect to illustrate his argument, comparing Integralist statements with extracts taken from Enquête. On a general level, Proença comments that Integralism’s programme is dedi­cated towards the attainment of a ‘monarquia orgânica, tradicional e anti-parlamentarista,’ while Maurras demands a ‘monarchie héréditaire et traditionaliste, anti-parlementaire et décentralisée’.5 He goes on to give several examples of the coincidence between the doctrines of the Portuguese Integralists and the goals of their French mestre, from their common belief in the family as the ultimate social unit, the need for administrative decentralisation and the need for a hereditary and absolute monarchy.6 He concludes with a sarcastic flourish:

Meu Deus! A verdade aparece em toda a sua luz! O priminho mais novo é filho do pri­minho mais velho; o português vêm do adultério com um francês: que escândalo para a família nacionalista!7

Having thus constructed his straw man, Proença then proceeds to set his torch alight. The first of his three criticisms of Portuguese Integralism is its proclaimed distaste for ‘French ideas’ (‘quando também a papa deles é francesas‘). The second refers to the Integralist’s ‘elitist inconsistency’ in refusing to practice the same ‘conscious loyalty’ that they demand from previous generations: the Integralists are, he says, ‘guilty of practising a confidence trick by continuing the cult of a national lie.’ His third criticism concerns his belief that Integralism has proved itself ‘incapable of developing its own critique without running to Maurras’, resorting to ‘a simples e encapotada tradução literal de fórmulas e analogias de políticos franceses, S. Alteza o Duque de Orleans, André Buffet e o conde de Lur-Saluces, Barres, Valois, e Maurras super omnia’ .8

Proença’s analysis of Integralism in these essays is so persuasive that almost from that moment on, Integralismo Lusitano and Action Française have come to be perceived as being synonymous. The conception that Portuguese Integralism merely transplanted Maurrasian nationalism into the Portuguese context has gained so much weight that it has become the accepted wisdom amongst historians who are at pains to stress the connection between the two movements. For example, Richard Robinson states that ‘[Portuguese] integral nationalism was influenced by the French right, by Barres and Maurras,’9 Hermínio Martins declares that ‘Integralismo was “Maurrasian”‘,10 Braga da Cruz asserts that António Sardinha was ‘influenced by Maurras and Action Française’,11 and so on.

The Seara Nova group, l-r: Jaime Cortesão, Teixeira de Vasconcelos, Aquilino Ribeiro, Raul Proença, Câmara Reys and Raul Brandão.

There is no question that the Integralists themselves contributed in no small measure to their being so closely associated with Action Française. Indeed, it often seemed as if they were anxious to encourage this synonymity. Sardinha, for example, made explicit his debt to Actíon Française when he called for the ‘rehabilitation of the discredited Miguelist literature and, with the popular dissemination of Action Française’s doctrinaire programme, the organisation of a counter-revolutionary theory´.12 Other Integralist leaders also admitted a debt to the French movement: Rolão Preto confessed that in 1913, while he was a student at Louvain and editor of Integralism’s first journal, Alma Portuguesa, he ‘used to visit the offices of the Actíon Française in the Rue de Rome, where [he] spent many evenings with Charles Maurras, Bainville, Pujo and Léon Daudet’.13

Yet, despite Proença’s protestations, there is a great deal of difference between the fact that Integralismo Lusitano was influenced by Actíon Française and the assertion that its doctrine was plagiarised from Maurras’ book. But herein lies the strength of Proença’s straw man – it contains enough truth to be plausible – its very construct forces its target onto the defensive as it seeks to answer its criticisms on its attacker’s terms. lts success in this respect can be measured by the tone of Alberto Monsaraz’s desperate defence of Integralisrn: ‘a Seara Nova [está a] receber um largo subsídio do Estado’,14 an allegation that is easily refuted and, more easily still, ridiculed – handing the straw man a cheap victory.

Yet, despite Monsaraz’s ill-thought reply, he does manage to force Proença to concede Integralism does contain some original elernents, although the sea­eiro rnanages to tum this to his advantage by arguing that his critique cuts through the Integralist’s lack of clarity:

[E] quem conhece os livros integralistas sabe bem que nunca eles deram às suas ideias a ordem, a seriação, a limpidez, a claridade que eu pretendi dar-lhes quando não achei mais conveniente, para efeitos da polémica futura ou por escrúpulos de fidelidade, limitar-me a transcrevê-los.15

A case, we may say, of ‘heads I win, tails you lose’, through the simple expedient of moving the goal posts.

The perception that Integralismo Lusitano relied on Action Française for almost all of its doctrine has been accepted as an objective truth since at least 1922 and Proença’s straw man was an important instrument in ensuring that this would be the case. By stating that Integralism was a derivation of a foreign nationalism and that its leaders were devoid of any intellectual capability, Proença succeeded in his immediate goals, which were to exploit the disarray that currently existed within right-wing and monarchist circles in the wake of the failure of Sidónio’s New Re­public, the monarchist defeats of 1919, the reconciliation of the Legitimist and Constitutionalist branches of the Portuguese royal family and the fall-out from the Noite Sangrenta.16

Taken as a whole, these occurrences encouraged a disaggregation of the forces of the radical right, although they also represented an opportunity for its resurgence. This opportunity, however, depended on the development and acceptance of a programme that would be capable of acting as a standard under which the right could unite. By 1922 it was apparent that, of all the groups on the right, the Integralists offered the best hope. Therefore, they became the left’s principal opponents.

It is at this stage that we reach the essence of Proença’s critique. He was very aware that Integralism posed a threat, and that its ideological and doctrinal programmes were original, even if inspired by Maurras. Moreover, he was also aware that, excluding the monarchical aspects of both Integralism and Maurrasianism, many of the charges he laid against the Integralists could also be placed at his own door – a fact the Integralists were forced to overlook for fear of admitting their own guilt.17

Charles Maurras.

That Integralism was not a simple imitation of its French peer has been recog­nised recently by several historians. One finds it difficult to disagree with António Costa Pinto when he comments that fin-de-siecle Paris was the centre of counter-revolutionary intellectualism and, consequently, a beacon calling out to Eu­rope’s intellectual elites who were often being harassed in their own countries. That Paris should become a centre for the new counter-revolutionary doctrine is not surprising when one considers that this was the locale of the original revolution and that France had, for more than a century, been at the forefront of political and philosophical developments. Indeed, Maurras himself summed it up quite well when he stated that as it was ‘through France that the revolution had begun in the world, it would also be through France that the counter-revolution must begin.’18

There can be little surprise then that the counter-revolutionary doctrine of the Integralists would follow the example of the French. The enemy was a common enemy, and the French had a much longer experience of combating it than did the Portuguese, for while the liberal and constitutional ideas had been imported from France into Portugal during the course of the 19th century, its effects were only re­ally beginning to be felt with the proclamation of the Republic in 1910. At a stroke, the remaining elements of what the Integralists called the político do facto were swept away by the urban republican and anti-clerical elites as they set about imposing their Jacobin policies over the smouldering ruins of the país real. Such events had been almost commonplace in post-Revolutionary France, with the result that the French right had had more time to hone its counter-revolutionary doctrines. Given that post-Revolutionary France, that is to say, the entire history of 19th century France resembled a laboratory for new economic, social and political ideas, it is hardly surprising that this country produced a whole raft of anti-liberal theorists, ranging from Saint-Simon, Comte, Taine and Le Play, to Proudhon, Sorel, Barres and, of course, Maurras. Looking from the outside, the young Portuguese exiles were attracted to Maurras because he was the latest in a long line of counter-revolu­tionary and anti-plutocratic theorists. Yet, even with these credentials and these predecessors, Maurras’ ideas were not adopted without question. Rather, it was the example that was embraced. More than simply repeating Maurras, the young Portuguese Integralist movement ab­sorbed his doctrines, and those of his lineage and, taking what was useful and pertinent for the Portuguese context. They were not so blind in their devotion that they could not alter and discard the French lessons when it was appropriate to the Portuguese situation. Thus, we can read Sardinha’s declaration, quoted above, that Integralism sought to organise a counter-revolutionary theory through the dissemination of Action Française’s doctrines, in a new light – one that suggests this doctrine was to be used as a guide to assist in the resurrection of a truly national theory, to breath new life a Portuguese form of nationalism that had fallen victim to the march of plutocratic liberalism. Integralism accepted that it was not entirely original, but then neither was it a mere transposition of Maurrasian monarchism, as Costa Pinto quite correctly observes:

[Integralismo] exprimem um movimento mais lato que nos remete para as mutações ideológicas que em finais do século XIX presidem ao aparecimento, em França, de uma nova direita nacional.19

But what was it that differentiated Portuguese from French integralism? If we accept that their doctrines were substantially similar, as Proença claims, then can we also claim that the ideological explanations developed to justify these doctrinal demands were akin?

The answer to this second question is both yes and no. Yes to the extent that both movements consistently argued that the real root of the problem afflicting the­ir respective societies was liberalism and the steady march of materialist individualism that it brought in its wake. Both movements could and did make reference to the breakdown of social values, of the steady increase in state power, which was ac­ companied and encouraged by a growth in governmental incompetence and corruption. They both made reference to a ‘golden past’, a past of order and peace maintained by a strict and Divinely ordained hierarchy- of a time when each per­ son knew their place and accepted it without question. Yet here the similarities begin to cloud, as the Portuguese integralists begin to posit a historical interpretation that makes use of the symbols, rituals and teachings of a uniquely Portuguese experience.

Meu Deus! A verdade aparece em toda a sua luz! O priminho mais novo é filho do pri­minho mais velho; o português vêm do adultério com um francês: que escândalo para a família nacionalista!


For his inspiration, it is true that Sardinha had studied the works of French writers such as Renan, Barres, Le Bon and Maurras. His major influences, however, were the 19th-century Portuguese romantics, Almeida Garrett and Alexandre Her­culano. He followed their lead in his attempts to resurrect those historical figures through whom Portugal could ‘reconstruct its dignified past’.20 It was to ‘this small Portuguese home’ that Sardinha and his fellow first-generation integralists sought to guide and restore the Portuguese nation, arguing that ‘the Portuguese of today are what they always have been, and what they can be once more’ through the development of an ‘essentially organic doctrine’ which could end the conflict between Portugal’s essential ruralism and the alien urban ideologies, and from thence lead to the ‘a national spiritual rebirth’.21

For Maurras, the justification and inspiration came from elsewhere, as would be expected. He believed that France’s rulers had forgotten what it was to be French, that their individualistic and economistic beliefs led them to the conclusion that the nation was a secondary concept, conditional upon economics and politics. This new emphasis, according to Maurras, had led to a growing and widespread sense of alienation as people were tom from their ‘natural’ environment and forced to compete with each other. Toe community, the very core of the nation, had been torn apart and its atomised elements left to fend for themselves within an alien democratic framework, that ‘leprous plague’ brought from the Teutonic forests by the ‘German barbarians’ to cast down ‘Goddess France’.22

Both also acknowledged that their societies had been victims of an intractable and constantly mutating foe from beyond their own national boundaries, extemal to their culture and alien to their traditions. For the Portuguese integralists, Portuguese society and Lusitanian morality were being corrupted by the ‘French disease’ of individualism and materialism, the offspring of 1789, which was itself the culmination of a process that had begun in Portugal 300 years earlier with the Descubrimentos:

Cortado a meio da sua jornada histórica, não pode Portugal, pela perturbação cosmo­ polita de Quinhentos, seguir a linha natural da sua formação. Abastardou-se a reale­za, corrompeu-se o Município, as classes, de núcleos necessários à resistência da Nação, mudaram-se, com o andar dos tempos, em simples cariátides do poder.23

During its formative period (1914-1917), Portuguese Integralism adopted the saudismo of Portuguese romanticism as its guiding principle rather than the classicism and rationalism that underpinned Maurras’ nationalism. Integralism’s pro­jected vision of Portugal stressed the past over the present and the present over the future, they attempted to recreate a mythical ‘golden age’ that could operate in the spirit, a maneira de ser e de ver that would develop as a motivational myth driving backwards towards an idyllic society that was agrarian, communal, self-sufficient, protectionist, paternalist and nationalist. ln many respects this vision of Portuguese society shared an ethic more akin to Proudhonian and Andalusian anarchism than to Maurrasian nationalism insofar as it was messianic and, essentially, anti-modem.

Maurras, on the other hand, was motivated by the perception that France was falling further behind the other Great Powers, and that it was, in fact, perilously dose to losing this status: ‘All those countries which have resolutely maintained those ‘relics of the past’ –  traditionalism, authoritarianism, the subordination of the masses to natural leaders – manufacture more products than we do, sell them at better prices than we do, even produce more children than we do. Look at monarchist and feudal Prussia, at aristocratic England’.24 France’s economic and military decline was, he believed, a direct consequence of its moral decline. This moral de­ cline was itself the culmination of the growth of romanticism, particularly German romanticism – a system of beliefs that denied God and nature and which placed the individual above society. Luther’s proclamation was more than an attack aga­ inst the Church, it was an attack against Latinity. The Reformation created confusion in the mind and caused men to question their superiors – if God’s Vicar can be denied, then everyone and everything can be denied, even the distinction between good and evil. By ending certainty, free examination brought only chaos, enfeeblement, decadence, inertia and tyranny. For Maurras there were only two choices available to France: it could either disappear as a great power or it could re-establish itself as a true monarchy ‘with the King of France as the arbiter of the peace of the world’.25

Rolão Preto

We can examine other elements of Integralismo Lusitano’s and Action Française’s doctrines, and we will find similar differences. 0n the question of the mo­narchy, for example, Action Française followed a dogmatic line while the Integralists approached it pragmatically. Maurras was uncompromising in his declared support for the House of Capet, a ‘dynasty that is truly of the earth and the soil since it rounded out our land and shaped our country,’26 ‘Power should be entrusted to the “race of Capet”. It is the oldest royal line in Europe, and it belongs to us. Even better, “it is us.” Its history is our history without it there is no France.’27 The monarchy, and only the monarchy can, according to Maurras, restore France’s pride and grandeur, because it is only a monarch who can act with absolute impunity in accordance with his belief that ‘Les droits de l’homme étaient inconciliables avec ceux de la nation et un pouvoir qui reposait sur la souveraineté se désintéressaitné­ cessairement du bien public.’28 France’s dictator ‘must be the servant only of France, and such a man can only be the King’.29 Central to Maurras’ monarchism was his contention that ‘unwise decisions may be made by a king, but such decisions are purely due to errors of judgement rather than any desire to cause harm to the nation, which the monarchy itself embodies.’30 The Portuguese Integralists were eager to proclaim their support for the legi­timist heir to the Bragança heritage: however, their adherence to the monarchist ideal was much more closely associated with the institution of the monarchy than it was with the person of the monarch. The novelty of the Portuguese Republic ensured that reaction to the Republic was one of the central elements of the Integralist philosophy in a way that opposition to Republican France could no longer be. This imbued Integralism with an immediacy that was largely absent from Action França­ise, allowing a leading Integralist to proclaim that which Maurras could never accept:

Nós não professamos a legitimidade da pessoa do Rei, proclamamos a legitimidade do interesse nacional. Numa palavra; somos nacionalistas antes de somos monárqui­ cos e somos monárquicos porque só pela monarquia podemos servir a Nação.31

Thus Integralismo could play an active part in the life of Republican Portugal, even to the extent of collaborating in Sidónio Pais’ República Nova of 1918, and, immediately on its collapse, to participate in the monarchist uprisings of 1919, after having received assurances the previous year from the Constitutionalist D. Manuel II’s lieutenant, Aires de Ornelas, that the exiled King would support the monarchist struggle against the Republic.32 The Integralists’ lack of coherence regarding the question of the monarchy can be attributed to the pragmatism of the movement’s core leaders to obtain support from both monarchist camps as well as from the Republican right. This interpretation becomes compelling when one takes into ac­ count their interpretation of Sidónio’s regime as a question of morality rather than one of politics.

The restoration of the monarchy may have been sufficient for the good government of the nation, but, according to Sardinha, it was not a necessary conditi­on. Thus armed, the Integralists felt able to present their Sidonista adventure as a means towards an end: ‘mais do que a simples alteração de forma do governo, é a instauração de toda uma nova ordem que mobiliza os integralistas.’33 Thus we readily observe a key difference between the Portuguese integralists and their French peers – one, moreover, that would not have escaped Proença’s notice. While Integralism clearly sought to achieve leadership of the Portuguese right and were prepared to exploit any opportunity that came their way so to do, Action Française under Maurras preferred to maintain an aspect of intellectual superiority and separation from the political battleground.

The members of Integralismo Lusitano, standing: Ruy Ulrich, Hipólito Raposo, Luís de Almeida Braga and José Pequito Rebelo; seated: António Sardinha, Vasco de Carvalho, Luís de Freitas Branco, Xavier Cordeiro and Alberto Monsaraz

Both France and Portugal were experiencing distinct political, economic and demographic challenges during the fin-de-siecle period – challenges that had an important bearing on the subsequent development of their respective integralist nationalist movements. While it is fair to state that the Portuguese integralist movement borrowed heavily from Action Française in terms of doctrine and ideology, it is no less clear that Integralismo Lusitano recognised that it would be unwise, even futile, to merely transplant Maurras’ thoughts into the Portuguese arena without making several important adjustments to it.

Of the two movements, Action Française was undoubtedly more concerned with maintaining doctrinal purity than with direct intervention in the political pro­cess. This political aloofness was to be a continuing trait of the Maurrasian move­ment that was pursued, at no small cost to the movement’s effectiveness, largely through the efforts of Charles Maurras himself. Integralismo Lusitano, on the other hand, had no such qualms concerning intellectual and doctrinal purity. The Portuguese monarchy had only recently been overthrown, a result they argued,of the urban elite’s desire to create a system through which, according to Hipólito Raposo, they could ‘aniquilar o Passado… , renegar de todos os valores tradicionais … para que a História de Portugal só começasse noglorioso ano de 1910.’34 This, of course, made Integralism’s goal of monarchic restoration much more immediate – in Portugal, the iron was still hot, and it would have been irresponsible for integral monarchists to affect a disdain for political action in such an atmosphere.

Where Maurras believed that the nationalist path had been laid out by a supreme navigator and that sentiments had to be raised through a clear explanation of the failures and deceits effected by the democrats, his Portuguese counterparts could, and did, respond that in their situation there was quite simply no time for such a plan and that it was imperative to prevent the Republic from institutionalising itself:

A crise histórica que o nosso país atravessa reveste de exigências imperiosas o que noutras condições bem poderia ser apenas para a mocidade culta uma pacífica atitu­ de psicológica.35

Rural Portugal was being ignored, and its role in the nation’s success was being minimised. Integralismo Lusitano, as the self-proclaimed defender of the traditional way of life, did all it could to promote dissension and disunity between the urban and rural populations. Unlike Action Française, which was effectively prevented by its leader from actively entering the political arena, Integralismo Lusitano and its followers were on the constant lookout for bandwagons that could be used to bring their message to a larger audience. Where the French movement retained its intellectual disdain for active politics, Integralismo Lusitano threw itself headlong into the battle. lntegralist leaders, and many of their followers, were active supporters of the short-lived Monarquia do Norte and Levantamento do Monsanto of 1919.36 Also, as we have seen above, leading Integralists, including Sardinha, were quite willing to lay their monarchist beliefs to one side in order to participate in Sidónio’s New Republic, both as members of its legislature and as its ideologues. Such opportunism, which would have been anathema to Maurras, was, according to the Integralists, essential for keeping their movement at the forefront of nationalist politics. They could not, they believed, afford to be complacent.

Similarly, following the Pact of Paris of April 1922, Integralism’s leaders did not impose a line on its followers as to which claimant they should support in the future. Rather, Integralismo declared itself to be ‘nationalist in principle, syndicalist in means, monarchist in aim’, stating that it would embrace supporters of this policy regardless of their personal dynastic preference.37 ln many respects, this constant repositioning of the Integralist message can be interpreted as its leadership’s desire to accept all bons portugueses into its ranks, suggesting that Integralismo Lusitano had more in common with other Portuguese monarchist groups than it had with Action Française.

This highlights another important difference between the two movements, that of their respective attitudes towards the monarchy. As we have seen, Action Française was a primarily royalist organisation that sought to lay the proper foundations for the restoration of the rightful heir of the House of Capet. Although Maurras did briefly accept that it would be possible for a person to rise from the ranks to become king, he nonetheless believed it improbable that even if such a person could establish a claim of legitimacy to that position that he would be able to maintain it. Consequently, he devoted his and Action Française’s energies towards forming opinions in favour of the ‘traditional’ monarchy and the hereditary principle which he believed to be the cornerstone of France’s natural, traditional and historical superiority. Kings, he claimed, are not made, but are born. ln this sense, therefore, we can quite reasonably state that Action Française was royalist rather than monarchist, insofar as Maurras believed that only the head of a family of ancient lineage and with a historic claim to the throne could be considered. ln effect, Maurras and Action Française were supporters of a royal line in such a way as it could be claimed that they were ‘monarchist by means, royalist in aim.’

Integralismo Lusitano, however, was much less exercised by this problem. Sardinha’s movement sought to present itself as a rallying point for all monarchist factions, and even for conservative non-monarchist supporters of strong government. This attitude can clearly be seen through their active participation in Sidónio’s 1918 regime and their willingness to grant Pais the title El Presidente-Rei, accepting the belief that certain strong individuals could rise to assume the supreme position without holding any historic claim to that position. Similarly, by accepting, indeed by embracing, Sidónio’s dietatorship, the Integralistas tacitly accepted that the hereditary principle, which was so important to Charles Maurras, was of secondary im­portance to the necessity to achieve strong govemment, despite Raposo’s comment that ‘[Sidónio’s] mentalidade, ainda deformada pelo influxo de fortes ligações e por simpatias de antigo jacobino, não podia visionar outras linhas ou outros planos de reforma que não importassem a reincidência nos erros que procurava remedi­ar’.38

Proclamation of the Portuguese republic in Praça do Município, Lisbon, 5 October 1910.

The essential difference between Action Française and Integralismo Lusitano, therefore, was more a difference in method. Both sought to achieve broadly similar ends but utilised different strategies towards reaching them. These strategies, moreover, were developed and applied largely as a result of the differing historical experiences that had affected the two nations, and of the distinct cultural differences that separated them. Maurras had a wealth of historical evidence to support his theory that the simple imposition of a strong man, with or without popular con­ sent, could be no more than a short term measure, and could in no way be constru­ ed as a solution to the problems that had afflicted France since 1789. His main objective, and that of Action Française, was to change the way the French thought about their system of government-he sought to encourage them to ‘unleam’ the principles of the Revolution that had brought nothing but instability and decay to a once-great nation. Only a return to its historical roots could save France, and this could only be achieved if the French themselves were able to cut through the mist of half-truths and lies that had been perpetuated by the heirs of the Revolutionary ca­ use. ln order to do this, he believed, Frenchmen had to take control of their own destinies once more. For Maurras, the essential and fundamental truth was that only the experience of time can lend legitimacy to any institution, and it is only those individuals who are the bearers of that legitimacy who can truly claim to repre­ sent the soul of France.

The differences in method, however, indicate a much more significant distinction between the two movements, a distinction that was fundamental to the success of Portuguese Integralists in shaping politics in their country over the following decades. By engaging in direct action and in blatant entryism, Integralismo Lusitano, perhaps more than any other integral nationalist movement, including Action Française, was able to exercise an influence in Portuguese society that exceeded by far that which it should have expected by its numerical support. Whilst it was unsuccessful as a political party (a policy that was in any event quickly abandoned following the assassination of Sidónio Pais), its tolerance of internal difference and its opportunistic nature permitted it the flexibility to make tactical alliances where Action Française would not.

Action Française’s policy of doctrinal purity and political aloofness had the twin effect of discouraging potential new members from signing up and of disillusioning existing members who were keen to participate in the political mêlée. This had an ultimately debilitating effect on Action Française’s ability directly to affect the political situation in France during the 1920s and led, albeit indirectly, to a proliferation of heterogeneous right-wing mini-movements that were distinguished more by the personal differences between their respective leaders than by any clearly obvious ideological goals.39

Returning to Proença’s ‘straw man’, we can admit that the Portuguese Inte­gralists had indeed modelled their organisation and many of their beliefs on those of Action Française, although we must conclude that their tactics and their interpretations were their own, and reflected the reality as it existed in Portugal at the time. Integralism’s willingness to dispense with doctrinal purity in order to pursue promising tactical alliances led it to obtain greater material influence than its French peer. This was largely the result of the different social, economic and political environments in which the movements operated. While frequent ministerial changes gave the French Third Republic the appearance of imminent collapse, it was in fact remarkably durable. It is clear that in these circumstances Maurras and his followers had a difficult task persuading people that democracy was destined to fail when it was so clearly surviving. The recent installation of the Portuguese First Republic, and its obvious instability, evident throughout its brief 16-year life, made for a different set of political circumstances altogether, circumstances that Integralismo Lusitano could, and did, exploit to its advantage.


  1. Seara Nova, 24 December 1921-1 July 1922.
  2. Proença, R. ‘As contradições íntimas do nacionalismo integralista’, Seara Nova, 14 January 1922.
  3. Proença, R., ‘Acerca do Integralismo Lusitano’, Seara Nova, 24 December 1921
  4. Proença, R., ‘As contradições… ‘, op. cit.
  5. Proença, R., ‘O que é o integralismo’, Seara Nova, 24 December 1921.
  6. Maurras, C., Enquête sur la monarchie, 1900-1909, Paris, 1909.
  7. Proença, R., ‘As contradições… ‘ op. cit.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Robinson, R. A. H., Contemporary Portugal: a history, Londres, 1979, p. 40
  10. Martins, H., ‘Portugal’, in European fascism (ed. S. J. Woolf), Londres, 1968, p. 304
  11. Cruz, M. B. da, ‘O Integralismo Lusitano e o Estado Novo, ‘ O fascismo em Portugal, Lisboa, 1980 p. 106.
  12. Pinto, A. C., Os camisas azuis: ideologia, elites e movimentos fascistas em Portugal, 1914-1945, Lisboa, 1994, p. 27.
  13. Preto, R., O fascismo, Guimarães, 1939, pp. x-xi.
  14. Monsaraz, A. de, A Monarquia, 3 January 1922
  15. Proença, R., ‘Política das ideias e política do facto, ‘ Seara Nova, 1 February 1922.
  16. 0n 19 October 1921, the Prime Minister, António Granjo, was assassinated in Lisboa.
  17. For more on Seara Nova’s internai strategic debate regarding the value of defending or attacking the Democratic Republic, see António Reis, Raúl Proença: biografia de um intelectual político repúblicano, unpublished doctoral thesis, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2000, esp. pp. 832-5.
  18. Curtis, M., Three against the Third Republic, Princeton, 1959, p. 85
  19. Pinto, A. C., ‘A formação do Integralismo Lusitano, 1907-1917, ‘Análise Social, XVII, 1982 (2, 3, 4), p. 1417.
  20. Cardoso, M. E., ‘Misticismo e ideologia no contexto cultural português: a saudade, o sebastianismo e o integralismo lusitano, ‘Análise Social, XVIII, 1982 (3, 4, 5), p. 1400.
  21. Raposo, H., Folhas do meu cadastro, vol. 1, Lisboa, 1945, p. xxxvi.
  22. Lloyd-Jones, J. S., Action Française and Integralismo Lusitano, Dundee, 1999, p. 5.
  23. Sardinha, A., Memórias e alguns documentos para a história e teoria das Cortes Gerais, Lisboa, 1924, p. cxxxi.
  24. Noite, E., Three faces of fascism, Londres, 1963, p. 106.
  25. Curtis, M., Three against the Third Republic, Princeton NJ, 1959, p. 197.
  26. McLelland, J. S., The French right: from Maistre to Maurras, Londres, 1970.
  27. Ibid, pp. 235-36
  28. Captain-Peter, C., Charles Maurras et l’ideologie d’Action Française, Paris, 1972, p. 52.
  29. Tannenbaum, E. R., The Action Française: die hard revolutionaries in 20th century France, Londres, 1962, p. 77.
  30. Lloyd-Jones, op. cit., p. 9.
  31. Cruz, M. B. da, op. cit., p. 114
  32. Raposo, H. op. cit.
  33. Braga da Cruz, op. cit., p. 118.
  34. Raposo, H., op. cit.,F. xxiv.
  35. Almeida Braga, L., Sob a pendão real, Lisboa, 1942, p. 424.
  36. Raposo, H., op. cit., pp. 45-77.
  37. Cruz, M. B. da, Monárquicos e republicanos no Estado Novo, Lisboa, 1986, pp. 22-25.
  38. Raposo, H., op. cit., pp. 35-36.
  39. Cobban, A., A history of modern France, volume 3: 1871-1962, Londres, 1965, pp. 137-146.

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