From “Senzala” to Colony
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In this essential book, the author demonstrates the abolition of slavery in Brazil was only a step into the liquidation of the colonial society, however, it greatly affected the old ruling class and crowned a transformation process that extended to the first half of the nineteenth century. Such process foreshadowed the transition from colonialist to capitalist society, from slave to wage labor, from monarchy to republic.

This work reexamines the social and economic structure of that period, during which a new ruling class, still predominantly agrarian, emerged with the proclamation of the Republic, a regime that best served their autonomy interests. This new, more dynamic oligarchy also took a stand alongside broader social and political sectors for the end of slavery, defended only by the backward and inefficient agrarian sectors at that time .

Taking a groundbreaking approach for the time the study was concluded (1964), Viotti demonstrates the expansion of coffee culture, at the end of the first half of the nineteenth century, was largely responsible for prolonging the slave trade and slavery regime. Its decadence, likewise, was closely related to the death throes of slavery in Brazil.

Until the publication of this book, most studies considered abolition as an exclusive result of abolitionist movements, placing vital importance to Emperor D. Pedro II and Princess Isabel and the emancipating laws sanctioned during their rule, without taking the social and economic demands of the time into consideration.