The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831-1871

The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831-1871

The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831-1871

The Party of Order: The Conservatives, the State, and Slavery in the Brazilian Monarchy, 1831-1871

Excerpt

In 1988, having completed a book on the society and culture of the elite in Rio de Janeiro, I began work on the conservative social and political thought which seemed their intellectual armature and expression. I sought the origins and nature of the Brazilian concerns with authoritarianism, race, and historical exceptionalism. Preliminary studies on the more recent figures in this tradition, Joaquim Nabuco, Oliveira Viana, and Gilberto Freyre, went well enough. However, as I began work, about 1992, on the time and the studies of the thinker honored as the most prominent voice of the Conservative Party, the visconde do Uruguai, my assumptions began to dissolve. I found, in studying his work, that this most honored voice of the Conservatives read very much like a liberal. Moreover, neither his published work nor his correspondence jibed with what I understood from the historiography of the Monarchy. By 1995, I decided I would have to study the archival and contemporary evidence from Uruguai's time if I were to understand his context and his work. I could not understand the thought without understanding the society, the economy, and the politics of the Monarchy, and that has required a great deal of reassessment and historical research. That was the beginning of the book I now present to the reader.

I was surprised to find out how much in the literature of Uruguai's era remained either unsettled or unknown. After all, his period was the time when the Brazilian nation was founded and structured, a nation unusual in the region for its relative stability and wealth. As a Latin Americanist, I had always thought this contrast compelling. One might have thought such aspects of a nation's birth would have made this past more attractive to scholarship. Instead, it remained a somewhat obscured genesis.

Yet, a basic narrative can be outlined simply. Traditionally, Brazil's early po-

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