Saturday, 17 June 2017

Pedro II (EII): Personality Type Analysis

Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, also called Dom Pedro II the "Magnanimous", was the second and last monarch of the Empire of Brazil, from his father’s abdication in 1831 to his deposition in a military coup in 1889.

He was born in Rio in 1825, the son of Emperor Pedro I (SEE) and Leopoldina of Austria. He was five years old when his father abdicated the Brazilian throne and returned to Portugal. Raised by tutors, he was a serious, studious and shy boy, very different from his impulsive, physically hyperactive father. As per the constitution, regents were elected by Parliament to rule while Pedro was a minor. However, it soon became clear that without the personal authority that Pedro I had wielded, Brazil’s internal tensions and rivalries re-emerged in the form of a series of regional rebellions, some with secessionist goals. So after 9 years of near-anarchy under the Regency, the consensus in Parliament was that their best chance of avoiding further chaos was to end the Regency and enhance the central government’s authority with a ruling emperor. Therefore he was declared of age by Parliament in 1840 (not fully legally) at 14, and political stability did start to increase.

The constitution, reflecting Pedro I’s personality, assumed that the monarch would act as chief executive himself, as also the regents had done. That was initially the case with the young Pedro II, with him relying politically and emotionally upon an often self-serving inner circle of palace hangers-on and select politicians, the so-called “Courtier Faction”. Gradually, as he reached his 20s and gained more self-confidence, he dismissed or reduced the influence of that inner circle, by 'kicking them upstairs' or simply by ceasing to listen to their political advice while maintaining friendly personal relations. In 1847, with his agreement, the government’s structure was changed in a way suited to the times and to Pedro II’s personal inclinations, with the creation of the office of prime minister. Pedro II retained the considerable powers of calling new parliamentary elections and appointing the prime minister. At this time, the young monarch was described as someone who “was never rude and never lost his temper. He was exceptionally discreet in words and cautious in action”; “the shy and suspicious youth became a man who could be sophisticated and charming in social situations”. Those traits would generally remain constant throughout his life. Even taking into account his political and constitutional position, the above already points to someone not obviously focused on F, who prefers to tone down confrontations for the sake of smooth interactions.

In the exercise of his role as monarch, Pedro mostly focused on keeping the system working smoothly. As in similar parliamentary systems, he appointed as prime ministers leading politicians of the majority party in Parliament and then let the cabinets get on with governing. However, unlike more established parliamentary monarchies, he had more of a personal choice as to who exactly would be appointed. Also, since it was widely acknowledged that the party in power would cheat in elections to some extent (by ballot-stuffing etc.), sometimes Pedro used his personal influence to encourage the rotation in government of the two main parties (Conservative and Liberal, as in Britain), so preventing either one from becoming too powerful. Still, the policies during his reign were mostly those of the prime minister and the cabinet rather than Pedro’s own. This is illustrated precisely by two occasions when he clashed with his cabinet and had to threaten to abdicate to get his way: in 1850, in order to force the government to support a law that would finally enforce the ban on slave trade (in theory already banned in 1831); and in 1865, in the context of the Paraguayan War, when the government and Parliament would not grant him permission to travel to the front himself, as the nominal commander-in-chief. Those episodes are useful because they illustrate not only the limitations of Pedro II's political role in government, but also his unwillingness to clash with the political establishment except in matters about which he felt particularly strongly. Apart from such episodes, his other visible influence in government was that of essentially vetoing the appointment as minister of men whose personal integrity was in any way questionable, a matter in which the party politicians got used to and did not try to overrule. Overall Pedro's approach to his duties seemed to be keeping things running smoothly, guaranteeing the rotation of power between the two main parties, keeping an eye on the personal character of ministers, and mostly not interfering in the policies themselves. This points to R and P rather than L and E as quadra values.

Besides fulfilling his duties as monarch, Pedro spent his time essentially in intellectual pursuits. Those included a general interest in all sciences - he was an amateur astronomer, for instance - and in languages in particular, having become fluent (or at least functional) in the main international languages of the time: French, English, German, Spanish, and Italian, as well as in Guarany (spoken in Paraguay), classical Latin and Greek, and studied even Hebrew and Sanskrit. During his reign he refused to accept increases in the allowance allocated him, and he spent large sums granting student scholarships. That meant he lived in a (relatively) modest style, and he only adopted the 'pomp and circumstance' of his role when formally opening Parliament. In his private letters he even said that he disliked that part of his job, and that in his opinion the noblest profession was that of teacher, since they developed young minds. Again this shows a total disregard for the elements of power and status projection, i.e. E and F, and his interest in a variety of subjects and in developing minds suggest I as a valued function. All of the above already points to Delta as Pedro's quadra.

As soon as his eldest daughter Isabel was of age and could legally act as regent in Pedro's absence, he started a series of travels abroad, in the 1870s and 1880s, mostly through Europe but also to the Middle East and the US. In such trips he did not quite travel in cognito but on a modest budget, with a minimal retinue, and staying in small hotels. In one revealing episode, during his first visit to Paris, he wrote to Victor Hugo asking him to come see him in his hotel. Hugo, annoyed at being often seen as a 'tourist attraction' by important foreigners, curtly wrote back to say that he never left home to visit anyone. To Hugo's surprise, a few days later Pedro II knocked on his door, on his own, asking to see him. As per Hugo's own account, the Emperor was a polite, even shy man.

In 1876 he became the first foreign head of state to visit the United States, and together with President Ulysses S. Grant (SLI) he opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. There, he played a significant role by being fascinated by, and calling attention to, Alexander Graham Bell's invention - the telephone - which had already been overlooked by the exposition's judges. In 1930, AT&T recreated the event in short film. It is significant that this is pretty much the only event of historical relevance in Pedro's foreign trips, and that it was a P and I event. Otherwise, Pedro's trips consisted of him visiting places, and meeting people, that he found interesting, and although not hiding, he certainly downplayed his role as a monarch and sitting head of state, preferring to spend time at the many literary and scientific associations he became a member of, particularly in France. Again, that points to I.

The prestige and power of the monarchy in Brazil was in obvious decline in the 1880s, for several reasons. The new generation of politicians and military officers had no personal recollection of the near-anarchy of the 1830s; the Paraguayan War of 1865-70 had vastly increased the army's sense of self-importance and corporate identity and grievance; the Princess Imperial, Isabel, and her French husband, the Comte d'Eu, were personally unpopular and few believed that she would succeed her father upon his death. An European-style monarchy in the Americas was starting to look increasingly anachronistic. Finally, the agrarian oligarchy ceased to support the monarchy due to its decades-long support for the gradual abolition of slavery, which was completed in 1888. By then Pedro II himself was a prematurely aged 63-year old, suffering from diabetes and mercilessly mocked in newspaper cartoons as falling asleep in official events. From his writings, the Emperor seemed aware that the monarchy would not survive him but he lacked the will, or the inclination, to do something about it (or even the knowledge of what he could do). So in November 1889, a minor military revolt in Rio which at first only intended to demand the replacement of the prime minister quickly escalated into a movement aiming at abolishing the monarchy itself. Rather than attempt any kind of resistance, Pedro II returned by train to Rio from his mountain summer residence, and was ordered by the new military provisional government to leave the country with his family by ship the next night. Too proud to accept the provisional government's offer of a large sum of money, Pedro spent the next two years in Paris, doing pretty much the same he did during his previous visits there, that is, at scientific and academic events, financially supported by wealthy friends and European relatives, until his death from pneumonia in 1891.

The overall picture we have of Pedro II is of a man who, despite his hereditary position, was seen by all who met him as modest and even shy; who obviously disliked the trappings of power and status of his position and who was apparently completely oblivious to, or uninterested in, threats to his personal political position, pointing to such weak and devalued F as to point to F4. Also a man obviously able to project personal charm in close encounters and to defuse conflicts (his only active role at the front of the Paraguayan War was precisely to calmly mediate a conflict of egos among the leaders of the three allied nations) and to manage personal relationships with politicians without seemingly any personally disliking him, which points to strong R as well as some awareness of E at personal level. His interest in a wide variety of subjects and languages, as well as his fascination with science and technology, suggest strong I and valued P but with I stronger - his P seemed more manifest in his attraction to knowledgeable people, pointing to P5.  R1, I2, F4, P5 and E7 all fit well what is known of Pedro II, making EII his likely type.

To learn more about EII, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources: besides the video linked above, the Wikipedia entries on Pedro II are long and high-quality, sufficing for a good idea of his type.

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