The Abolition of Slavery in Brazil: Causes, Consequences, and Importance

1. Introduction

Slavery was the powerhouse of the Brazil economy for many years. It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century when the country started to see an abolitionist movement emerge. This Andres de Santo movement was able to spread its views in the countryside, where the majority of the population were slaves. The movement helped in drumming up support for abolition and eventually led to the abolishment of slavery in Brazil in 1888. This essay will explore the ways in which the abolitionist movement spread its views, the role of abolitionist literature in the social reform movement, and the political and economic impact of the abolition of slavery.

2. The Spread of Abolitionist Views in Brazil

The abolitionist movement in Brazil emerged in the late eighteenth century and quickly began to gain momentum. The movement was able to spread its views thanks to a number of factors. Firstly, it had the support of some of Brazil’s elite society members. These elites used their positions of power to help spread the message of abolition among other members of society. Secondly, the movement also benefited from a growing literacy rate in Brazil. This allowed more people to access information about the movement and its goals. Finally, the use of poetry, drama, and novels as a means of social reform also helped spread the movement’s message far and wide.

3. The Role of Abolitionist Literature in the Social Reform Movement

Abolitionist literature played a vital role in spreading awareness about slavery and its evils. This type of literature helped to rally public opinion behind the cause of abolition. Some famous works of abolitionist literature include “The Slave” by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis and “O Guerreiro da Luz” by Castro Alves. These works helped to inspire people to fight for the freedom of all slaves in Brazil. In addition to novels and poems, plays were also used as a means of social reform. Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” is one such example. This play highlighted the plight of slaves and inspired people to work towards their emancipation.

4. The Political and Economic Impact of the Abolition of Slavery

The political impact of slavery’s abolition was far-reaching. It helped to bring about a number of social reforms that improved conditions for all people in Brazil, regardless of their skin color or social status. One such reform was Brazil’s first constitution, which was ratified in 1891. This constitution abolished slavery and guaranteed equal rights for all citizens, regardless of their race or social status. Another political reform that can be attributed to the abolition of slavery is Brazil’s switch from an absolute monarchy to a republic in 1889. This change was partially due to public pressure following the abolishment of slavery; many felt that it was time for Brazil to become a republic so that all citizens could have an equal say in how their country was governed.

The economic impact of slavery’s abolition was also significant. Prior to its abolishments, slave-based agriculture was responsible for much of Brazil’s wealth. Following emancipation, however, this changed; slave-based agriculture became increasingly unprofitable, leading to a decline in Brazil’s economy overall (although there were some areas where non-slave-based agriculture managed to thrive). In addition, emancipation also resulted in a decline in Brazilian exports; as slaves were no longer being shipped overseas, there was less demand for Brazilian goods. As a result, the abolition of slavery had a negative impact on Brazil’s economy in the short-term. In the long-term, however, it helped to spur economic growth and development, as Brazil began to focus on more modern forms of agriculture and industry.

5. Conclusion

The abolition of slavery in Brazil was a momentous event that had far-reaching consequences. The movement that led to its abolishment was able to spread its views thanks to a number of factors, including support from some of Brazil’s elites and a growing literacy rate. In addition, the use of literature, poetry, and drama as a means of social reform helped to rally public opinion behind the cause of emancipation. The political and economic impacts of slavery’s abolition were also significant; in the short-term, the economy suffered, but in the long-term, it helped to spur economic growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions


How did slavery come to be the stronghold of the Brazilian economy?

Slavery in Brazil began with the arrival of the first Portuguese settlers in 1500. The settlers brought slaves from Africa to work on their plantations.

What were some of the key factors that allowed slavery to flourish in Brazil?

Some of the key factors that allowed slavery to flourish in Brazil were the abundance of land, the lack of a strong indigenous population, and the demand for labor to produce crops such as sugarcane and coffee.

How did slaves contribute to the growth and development of Brazil?

Slaves contributed to the growth and development of Brazil by working on plantations and in mines, constructing buildings, and performing other manual labor tasks.

What was life like for slaves in Brazil?

Life for slaves in Brazil was often harsh, with long hours of work, poor living conditions, and little rest or recreation. Slaves were also at risk of being sold or traded if they disobeyed their owners or tried to escape.

How did abolition eventually come about in Brazil, and what impact did it have on the country's economy?

Abolition eventually came about in Brazil through a gradual process that began in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The abolition of slavery had a significant impact on the Brazilian economy, causing a decline in agricultural production and leading to a period of economic instability known as "the dark years."


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