Dados vol. 31 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro 1988

As Elites Agrárias e a Abolição da Escravidão no Brasil

Reis, Eustáquio J.; Reis, Elisa P.


This article discusses from a Political Economy perspective the abolition of slavery in Brazil. Drawing upon the "open resources theory", which relates slavery to land abundance/labor scarcity, it aims at identifying the regional cleavages of interests among agrarian elites which, it argues, made possible a gradual-reformist transition to free labor. Section 1 briefly sketches the theoretical model. Section II characterizes basic regional cleavages of interests which were, first, between the Northeast, where land scarcity made possible a secular transition to free labor and, the South Center regions where an open frontier required the survival of slavery. Later, new cleavages emerged between the old coffee regions attached to slavery and, the Paulista western frontier whose major interest was the plenty supply of cheap labor. Finally, section III shows how the structure of economic interests was translated into the logic of coalitions which took place along the process of slavery abolition as it evolved in the political arena.

Texto completo

As Elites Agrárias e a Abolição da Escravidão no Brasil