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The Politics of Ambiguity: Conditional Manumission, Labor Contracts, and Slave Emancipation in Brazil (1850s–1888)*

  • Sidney Chalhoub (a1)

Although it seems that slaves in Brazil in the nineteenth century had a better chance of achieving freedom than their counterparts in other slave societies in the Americas, studies also show that a significant proportion of manumissions there were granted conditionally. Freedom might be dependent on a master’s death, on a master’s daughter marriage, on continued service for a number of years, etc. The article thus focuses on controversies regarding conditional manumission to explore the legal and social ambiguities between slavery and freedom that prevailed in nineteenth-century Brazilian society. Conditional manumission appeared sometimes as a form of labor contract, thought of as a situation in which a person could be nominally free and at the same time subject to forms of compulsory labor. In the final crisis of abolition, in 1887–1888, with slaves leaving the plantations in massive numbers, masters often granted conditional manumission as an attempt to guarantee the compulsory labor of their bonded people for more years.

Sidney Chalhoub. La politique de l’ambiguïté. Affranchissement conditionnel, contrats de travail et émancipation des esclaves au Brésil (dans les années 1850–1888).

Bien qu’il semble que les esclaves au Brésil au 19e siècle eurent plus de chance d’accéder à la liberté que leurs homologues dans d’autres sociétés esclavagistes aux Amériques, des études montrent également qu’une importante proportion des affranchissements fut accordée conditionnellement au Brésil. La liberté pouvait ainsi dépendre du décès d’un maître, du mariage de la fille d’un maître, d’un service continu pendant plusieurs années, etc. Cet article concentre donc sur l’affranchissement conditionnel pour étudier les ambigüités légales et sociales entre esclavage et liberté, prévalant dans la société brésilienne au dix-neuvième siècle. L’affranchissement conditionnel apparut parfois comme une forme de contrat de travail, envisagée dans une situation dans laquelle une personne pouvait à la fois être libre de nom et assujettie à des formes de travail forcé. Pendant la crise finale de l’abolition, en 1887–1888, lorsque les esclaves quittèrent massivement les plantations, les maîtres accordèrent souvent un affranchissement conditionnel dans une tentative de garantir le travail forcé des personnes qui leur étaient liées pendant quelques années de plus.

Traduction: Christine Plard

Sidney Chalhoub. Politik der Ambiguitität. Konditionelle Freilassung, Arbeitsverträge und die Befreiung der Sklaven in Brasilien (1850er Jahre bis 1888).

Es hat zwar den Anschein, dass Sklaven im Brasilien des 19. Jahrhunderts bessere Chancen hatten, ihre Freiheit zu erlangen, als Sklaven in anderen amerikanischen Gesellschaften, doch hat die Forschung auch gezeigt, dass ein wesentlicher Anteil der Freilassungen in Brasilien an Bedingungen geknüpft war. Die Freilassung konnte abhängig gemacht werden vom Tod des Sklavenhalters, der Eheschließung durch dessen Tochter, der mehrjährigen Leistung weiterer Dienste usw. Der Beitrag widmet sich Kontroversen um die konditionelle Freilassung und erkundet so die rechtlichen und gesellschaftlichen Ambiguitäten, die den Bereich zwischen Sklaverei und Freiheit in der brasilianischen Gesellschaft des 19. Jahrhunderts prägten. Die konditionelle Freilassung erschien zuweilen als eine Art Arbeitsvertrag und wurde als Zustand aufgefasst, in dem eine Person nominell frei, zugleich aber Formen der Zwangsarbeit unterworfen sein konnte. Während der finalen Krise der Sklaverei, die in deren Abschaffung mündete (1887–1888), entschlossen sich Sklavenhalter vor dem Hintergrund einer massenhaften Fluchtbewegung der Sklaven von den Plantagen, häufig zur Gewährung konditioneller Freilassungen, um auf diese Weise die Zwangsarbeit ihrer Untergebenen einige Jahre länger sicherzustellen.

Übersetzung: Max Henninger

Sidney Chalhoub. La política de la ambigüedad. Manumisión condicional, contratos de trabajo y emancipación esclava en Brasil (1850–1888).

Aunque pudiera parecer que en Brasil a lo largo del siglo XIX los esclavos tuvieron mejores oportunidades de alcanzar su libertad que sus iguales en otras sociedades esclavistas del continente americano, los estudios también muestran que una parte bastante significativa de las manumisiones fueron concedidas de forma condicional. Alcanzar esa libertad podía depender de la muerte del amo, del matrimonio de la hija de éste, del servicio continuado durante un número concreto de años, etc. Este artículo se centra en las controversias que se plantean alrededor de la manumisión condicional para explorar las ambigüedades legales y sociales entre esclavitud y libertad que prevalecieron en la sociedad brasileña del siglo XIX. La manumisión condicional aparecía en ocasiones como una forma de contrato de trabajo según lo cual la persona podía ser nominalmente libre y, al mismo tiempo, quedar sujeta a formas de trabajo cautivo. En la crisis final de la abolición, en 1887–1888, con los esclavos abandonando las plantaciones de forma masiva, los amos a menudo recurrieron a la concesión de manumisiones condicionadas en un intento de garantizarse el trabajo forzado de sus cautivos durante unos cuantos años más.

Traducción: Vicent Sanz Rozalén

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This article is a sequel to Sidney Chalhoub, “The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society (Brazil in the Nineteenth Century)”, International Review of Social History, 56 (2011), pp. 405−439. A first draft was written while I was a fellow at IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, January−July 2013. Research in Brazil was funded by the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq) and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP). My thanks to Michael Hall and Robert Slenes for their critical comments and corrections of my English.

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1 For a comparative overview of this process see, for instance, Tomich, Dale W., Through the Prism of Slavery: Labor, Capital, and World Economy (Lanham, MD, 2004), pp. 5671.

2 For the centrality of slavery to the geopolitics and international political economy up until the American Civil War, see Marquese, Rafael de Bivar and Parron, Tâmis Peixoto, “Internacional escravista: a política da Segunda Escravidão”, Topoi, 12 (July–December 2011), pp. 97117.

3 The literature on the subject is vast and growing; see, for instance, Steinfeld, Robert J., The Employment Relation in English & American Law and Culture, 1350–1870 (Chapel Hill, NC [etc.], 1991); Stanley, Amy Dru, From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation (Cambridge, 1998); Hay, Douglas and Craven, Paul (eds), Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562–1955 (Chapel Hill, NC [etc.], 2004); Linden, Marcel van der, Workers of the World: Essays Toward a Global Labor History (Leiden, 2008); Stanziani, Alessandro, “Introduction: Labour Institutions in a Global Perspective, from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century”, International Review of Social History, 54 (2009), pp. 351358; Linden, Marcel van der and Mohapatra, Prabhu (eds), Labour Matters: Towards Global Histories. Studies in Honour of Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (New Delhi, 2009); van der Linden, Marcel (ed.), Humanitarian Intervention and Changing Labor Relations: The Long-term Consequences of the Abolition of the Slave Trade (Leiden, 2011).

4 For what follows in this paragraph, see Hahn, Steven, The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom (Cambridge, MA [etc.], 2009), chs 1 and 2.

5 Ibid., p. 13; see also, on “the precarious terrain of northern freedom”, Berlin, Ira, Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves (Cambridge, MA [etc], 2003), pp. 234236.

6 Chalhoub, “The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society”.

7 Scott, Rebecca and Hébrard, Jean, Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Cambridge, MA [etc], 2012).

8 I analyzed some cases in Chalhoub, Sidney, Visões da liberdade: uma história das últimas décadas da escravidão na Corte (São Paulo, 1990), pp. 122142.

9 The Revista Illustrada was perhaps the most famous illustrated periodical published in the city of Rio in the nineteenth century. It acquired great prominence during the abolitionist campaign in the 1880s. Angelo Agostini (1843–1910), an Italian artist who had probably arrived in Brazil in 1859, founded it in 1876 and was its director for the next thirteen years. For a detailed study of Agostini’s life and art, see Balaban, Marcelo, Poeta do lápis: sátira e política na trajetória de Angelo Agostini no Brasil imperial (1864–1888) (Campinas, 2009).

10 Steven Hahn draws inspiration from W.E.B. Du Bois, who described the Southern slaves’ flight towards freedom and service to the Federal army during the Civil War as a “general strike”; see Hahn, The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom, ch. 2, entitled “Did We Miss the Greatest Slave Rebellion in Modern History?”. For the reference to Du Bois’ idea of a “general strike”, see pp. 106–110.

11 Data compiled from, accessed on 6 September 2010.

12 Tomich, , Through the Prism of Slavery, pp. 5671.

13 Slenes, Robert, “‘Malungu, ngoma vem!’: África coberta e descoberta no Brasil”, in Nelson Aguilar (ed.) Mostra do Redescobrimento: Negro de Corpo e Alma – Black in Body and Soul (São Paulo, 2000), pp. 212220; Slenes, Robert, Na senzala, uma flor: esperanças e recordações na formação da família escrava – Brasil sudeste, século XIX (Rio de Janeiro, 1999).

14 Salles, Ricardo, E o Vale era o escravo. Vassouras, século XIX. Senhores e escravos no coração do Império (Rio de Janeiro, 2008), p. 200; Pirola, Ricardo, Senzala insurgente: malungos, parentes e rebeldes nas fazendas de Campinas (1832) (Campinas, 2011), p. 63. According to Pirola, considering only adult slaves, Africans represented 93 per cent of the slave population in Campinas, province of São Paulo, in the 1830s.

15 Chalhoub, , Visões da liberdade, pp. 186187; for comprehensive studies of urban slavery in Rio, see Karasch, Mary, Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro: 1808–1850 (Princeton, NJ, 1987) and Soares, Luiz Carlos, O ‘Povo de Cam’ na capital do Brasil: a escravidão urbana no Rio de Janeiro do século XIX (Rio de Janeiro, 2007).

16 Senra, Nelson de Castro, História das estatísticas brasileiras (Rio de Janeiro, 2006), I, pp. 418419, 423; for the first census see Diretoria Geral de Estatística, Recenseamento geral do Brazil de 1872, I: Quadros gerais. Recenseamento da população do Imperio do Brazil a que se procedeu no dia 1º de agosto de 1872 (Rio de Janeiro, 1876).

17 Slenes, Robert, “The Brazilian Internal Slave Trade, 1850–1888: Regional Economies, Slave Experience, and the Politics of a Peculiar Market”, in Walter Johnson (ed.), The Chattel Principal: Internal Slave Trades in the Americas (New Haven, CT [etc.], 2004), pp. 325370.

18 Senra, , História das estatísticas brasileiras, p. 423.

19 Berlin, , Generations of Captivity, pp. 278279.

20 Mamigonian, Beatriz, “O direito de ser africano livre: os escravos e as interpretações da lei de 1831”, in Silvia Lara and Joseli Mendonça (eds), Direitos e justiças no Brasil. Ensaios de história social (Campinas, 2006), pp. 129160; idem, “O estado nacional e a instabilidade da propriedade escrava: a lei de 1831 e a matrícula dos escravos de 1872”, Almanack, 2 (2011), pp. 20–37; Chalhoub, “The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society”; idem, A força da escravidão: ilegalidade e costume no Brasil oitocentista (São Paulo, 2012).

21 Campbell, Gwyn, Miers, Suzanne, Miller, and Joseph, “Women in Western Systems of Slavery: Introduction”, Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, 26 (2005), p. 169.

22 Cowling, Camillia, Conceiving Freedom: Women of Colour, Gender, and Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro (Chapel Hill, NC, 2013); Dorsey, Joseph, “Women Without History: Slavery and the International Politics of partus sequitur ventrem in the Spanish Caribbean”, Journal of Caribbean History, 28 (1994), pp. 165207; Millward, Jessica, “‘That All Her Increase Shall Be Free’: Enslaved Women’s Bodies and the Maryland 1809 Law of Manumission”, Women’s History Review, 21 (2012), pp. 363378.

23 Studies about manumission in Brazil are numerous, and growing steadily. See, for instance, regarding conditional manumission, Eisenberg, Peter, “Ficando livre: as alforrias em Campinas no século XIX”, in idem, Homens esquecidos: escravos e trabalhadores livres no Brasil, séculos XVIII e XIX (Campinas, 1989), pp. 255314; Florentino, Manolo, “Sobre minas, crioulos e a liberdade costumeira no Rio de Janeiro, 1789–1871”, in idem (ed.), Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade. Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII–XIX (Rio de Janeiro, 2005), pp. 331359. For recent surveys of the literature on Brazilian slavery that show the centrality of the theme of manumission, see Klein, Hebert and Luna, Francisco Vidal, Slavery in Brazil (New York, 2010), especially ch. 9; Slenes, Robert, “Brazil”, in Robert Paquette and Mark Smith, The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas (Oxford, 2010), pp. 111133; Hébrard, Jean, “L’Esclavage au Brésil. Le Débat Historiographique et ses Racines”, in idem (ed.), Brésil: Quatre Siècles d’Esclavage. Nouvelles Questions, Nouvelles Recherches (Paris, 2012), pp. 763; Klein, Herbert and Reis, João, “Slavery in Brazil”, in José Moya (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History (Oxford [etc.], 2011), pp. 181211.

24 For a previous discussion of this issue with different analytical purposes, see Chalhoub, , Visões da liberdade, pp. 122130.

25 Grinberg, Keila, O fiador dos brasileiros: cidadania, escravidão e direito civil no tempo de Antonio Pereira Rebouças (Rio de Janeiro, 2002); Paes, Mariana, “Sujeitos da história, sujeitos de direitos: personalidade jurídica no Brasil escravista (1860–88)” (Master’s thesis in Law, Universidade de São Paulo, 2014).

26 However, a recent study did not find any resort to Roman codes in slavery-related civil suits in eighteenth-century Minas Gerais; Fernanda Pinheiro, “Em defesa da liberdade: libertos e livres nos tribunais do Antigo Regime português (Mariana e Lisboa, 1720–1819)” (Doctoral dissertation in History, Universidade Estadual de Campinas [UNICAMP], 2013).

27 For groundbreaking comparative views on ancient Roman and US slavery see: Finley, Moses I., “Between Slavery and Freedom”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 6 (1964), pp. 233249; idem, Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology (London, 1980); see also Wood, Marcus, The Horrible Gift of Freedom: Atlantic Slavery and the Representation of Emancipation (Athens, OH [etc.], 2010), pp. 4450.

28 [Caroatá], J.P.J. da S.C., Apanhamento de decisões sobre questões de liberdade, publicadas em diversos periodicos forenses da Corte (Bahia, 1867).

29 Ibid., p. 4. All translations from Portuguese are mine.

30 Ibid., pp. 12–37; for a detailed study of these debates and others regarding emancipation in the IAB, see the excellent book by Pena, Eduardo Spiller, Pajens da Casa Imperial: jurisconsultos, escravidão e a lei de 1871 (Campinas, 2001).

31 Caroatá, , Apanhamento, pp. 1213, 17. Legally, in nineteenth-century Brazil, the offspring of free and freed women were called ingênuos (as opposed to the offspring of bonded women, who were slaves). According to the Constitution of 1824, ingênuos, regardless of color, could have access to political rights when they came of age and if they met the income requirements established by the Constitution. After the Free Womb Law (1871), the word ingênuos was commonly used to refer to the thereafter freeborn children of slave women.

32 Caroatá, , Apanhamento, pp. 1427.

33 Ibid., p. 17.

34 Ibid., pp. 18–20. This contrast between slavery and labor contracts highlighted by Freitas at the same time also implied a proximity between them, especially in the case of conditional manumission: both of them involved a high degree of obligation. Peter Eisenberg had noticed this similarity between conditional manumission and labor contracts; Eisenberg, “Ficando livre”, passim. Henrique Espada Lima has been studying systematically the “rental service contracts” made by freed persons to pay for their freedom. These contracts were made within the realm of the law of 1837 and, later, of the law of 1879; see, for example, Lima, Henrique Espada, “Freedom, Precariousness, and the Law: Freed Persons Contracting out their Labour in Nineteenth-Century Brazil”, International Review of Social History, 54 (2009), pp. 391416. See also Ariza, Marília, “Ofício da liberdade: contratos de locação de serviços e trabalhadores libertandos em São Paulo e Campinas (1830–1888)” (Master’s thesis in History, Universidade de São Paulo, 2012).

35 Caroatá, , Apanhamento, p. 20.

36 Ibid., pp. 20–30.

37 Ibid., pp. 5–10.

38 Graziele Basílio de Freitas, Letícia, “Escravos nos tribunais: o recurso à legislação emancipacionista em ações de liberdade do século XIX” (B.A. thesis in History, UNICAMP, 2012). Available online:

39 O preto Pompeu (plaintiff), and João Araújo Rangel (defendant), petition for freedom, n. 2665, maço 923, galeria A, Arquivo Nacional do Rio de Janeiro [hereafter, ANRJ]. I have analyzed this story before in Chalhoub, Visões da liberdade, pp. 123–127. For Visões da liberdade I had found only the proceedings pertaining to the lower court (2a. Vara Cível); very recently, I found the appeals to the higher court (Tribunal da Relação da Corte), which contain, at the beginning, a transcript of the proceedings in the lower court; microfilm copy, AN 84.0.ACI.096, made from the originals belonging to the Arquivo Nacional and deposited at the Arquivo Edgard Leuenroth, UNICAMP.

40 Lower-court proceedings (2a. Vara Cível), leaf 3, front side; the quoted passage reads as follows in Portuguese: “a servir somente durante a vida de seu libertador, e ficaria absolutamente livre, desde o dia em que ele falecesse”.

41 In the lower-court papers, the initial petition of the plaintiff and accompanying documents run from leaves 3 to 10, both sides of each leaf; the copy of the letter of manumission is on leaves 8 and 9. Pedro do Couto appears as one of the persons authorized to file on Pompeu’s behalf on leaf 10. The witness who mentions Pedro do Couto as Lauriana’s former mistress’s son-in-law is Edwiges Godinho, born in Rio de Janeiro, thirty years old, widow, illiterate, “vive de seus bens” (that is, of income derived from her properties); testimonies appear in sequence beginning on leaf 44.

42 The practice of reducing to slavery the children of slave women who were freed but remained dependent on the master’s family seemed relatively common. For other cases, see, for example, Odorico (plaintiff), petition for freedom, Juízo Municipal da Segunda Vara do Rio de Janeiro, no. 1, caixa 523, galeria C, 1862, ANRJ; Teresa Maria da Hora (plaintiff), petition for freedom, Tribunal da Relação do Rio de Janeiro, no. 8118, caixa 2, 1869–1872, ANRJ.

43 The expectations and anxieties regarding their sale often led slaves to revolt, commit crimes, and file petitions for freedom. For several such cases, documented in civil and criminal trial records, see Chalhoub, Visões da liberdade, especially ch. 1.

44 Despite the wealth of studies on manumission in Brazilian slavery, as was mentioned above, works focusing on the experience of conditional manumission are still rare. For a recent study which seeks to analyze the masters’ perspective as it appears in last will and testaments, see Alessandra Pedro, “Liberdade sob condição: alforrias e política de domínio senhorial em Campinas, 1855–1871” (Master’s thesis in History, UNICAMP, 2009).

45 The participation of slaves in the country’s legal culture has been an important theme in the historiography of Brazilian slavery for almost three decades; for early examples, see Lara, Silvia H., Campos da violência: escravos e senhores na capitania do Rio de Janeiro, 1750–1808 (Rio de Janeiro, 1988); Chalhoub, Visões da liberdade; Mattos, Hebe, Das cores do silêncio: os significados da liberdade no sudeste escravista – Brasil, século XIX (Campinas, 2013; 1st edn, 1995); Grinberg, Keila, Liberata – a lei da ambiguidade (Rio de Janeiro, 1994). For a volume that gathers several of the most important Brazilian authors in the field and offers a very useful analysis of the state of the art in its introduction, see Lara, Silvia H. and Mendonça, Joseli M. (eds), Direitos e justiças no Brasil. Ensaios de história social (Campinas, 2006). Also, the studies of Rebecca Scott have been very important: Slave Emancipation in Cuba: the Transition to Free Labor 1860–1899 (Princeton, NJ, 1985); Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (Cambridge, MA, 2005); Scott and Hébrard, Freedom Papers. See also Fuente, Alejandro de la, “Slave Law and Claims-Making in Cuba: the Tannenbaum Debate Revisited”, Law & History Review, 22 (2004), pp. 339369.

46 Lower-court proceedings (2a. Vara Cível), leaf 35; the quoted passage reads as follows in Portuguese: “somente seja cativa durante a vida dele outorgante”.

47 Lower-court proceedings (2a. Vara Cível), leaf 35; the quoted passage reads as follows in Portuguese: “que se bem o continuasse a servir, por sua morte ficaria liberta”. Allegations of the defendant in the lower-court volume begin on leaves 21, then 34; in the higher-court volume, there are allegations beginning on leaves 31 and 70.

48 Although masters retained the right to revoke manumissions (conditional or not) until the law of 1871, some freed people were more vulnerable to re-enslavement than others; see Chalhoub, , “The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society”, pp. 418420.

49 I failed to write down the name of the judge when I read the lower-court proceedings in the mid-1980s; the transcription of the sentence and the name of the judge appear in the higher-court volume, leaf 28. For the confirmation of the presence of a lawyer called Alvares de Azevedo in the 1857 debates at the Institute of Brazilian Lawyers, see Caroatá, , Apanhamento, p. 31. For Luiz Alvares de Azevedo Macedo as a member of the editorial committee of the periodical published by the Institute and as the institution’s secretary see, respectively, Revista do Instituto da Ordem dos Advogados Brasileiros. Ano II, Tomo II, n. 4, October to December 1863, p. 163 and Ano II, Tomo II, n.3, July to August 1863, p. 121.

50 A.M. Perdigão Malheiro, “Illegitimidade da propriedade constituída sobre o escravo – Natureza de tal propriedade – Justiça e conveniência da abolição da escravidão; em que termos”, Revista do Instituto da Ordem dos Advogados Brasileiros, Ano II, Tomo II, n.3, July to August 1863, pp. 131–152.

51 Perdigão Malheiro, “Illegitimidade da propriedade constituída sobre o escravo”, p. 151.

52 Idem, A escravidão no Brasil: ensaio histórico, jurídico, social, 2 vols (Petrópolis, 1976); for the passage mentioned, see I, pp. 114–117.

53 Idem, A escravidão no Brasil, I, p. 118.

54 Ibid., p. 120.

55 See, for instance, the “Introduction” in Cooper, Frederick, Holt, Thomas, Scott, and Rebecca, Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies (Chapel Hill, NC [etc.], 2000), pp. 132.

56 Chalhoub, Sidney, Machado de Assis, historiador (São Paulo, 2003), pp. 186187.

57 For the discussion on the statuliberi in 1871 and 1885, see Eduardo Pena, Pajens da Casa Imperial, ch. 3; for an in-depth study of the 1885 law and its application, Mendonça, Joseli, Entre a mão e os anéis: a lei dos sexagenários e os caminhos da abolição no Brasil (Campinas, 1999).

58 My account of events in September 1887 is based on the reading of the Gazeta de Notícias, a daily paper published in Rio de Janeiro. Because discussions in the Senate became the focal point of the political crisis regarding slavery at that particular moment, the Gazeta is an essential source. The periodical published the proceedings of the Senate and commented extensively on what happened there. It opposed the conservative cabinet then in power. For a detailed study of slave resistance in the province of São Paulo in the 1880s, including the massive slave flights beginning in 1887 and continuing until abolition, see Maria Helena Machado, O plano e o pânico: os movimentos sociais na década da Abolição (Rio de Janeiro [etc.], 1994).

59 Section entitled “Diario das Camaras”, Gazeta de Notícias, 18 September 1887, p. 1.

60 On p. 3 of the same issue, there is an article about this episode, and the title is “Greve de escravizados” [“A strike by enslaved people”].

61 See, for instance, two different bills proposed by senators Taunay and Godoy, section entitled “Elemento Servil”, Gazeta de Notícias, 25 September 1887, p. 1. A similar combination of slave resistance, proprietors’ grants of conditional manumission, and discourses on the alleged vagrancy of freed people appeared in the province of Bahia in the months before abolition; see Filho, Walter Fraga, Encruzilhadas da liberdade: histórias de escravos e libertos na Bahia (1870–1910) (Campinas, 2006), especially chs 3 and 4.

62 For a good-humored and ironic comment on the repercussions of Nabuco’s electoral victory, see the section entitled “Chronica”, Gazeta de Notícias, 18 September 1887, p. 1.

63 Hall, Michael, “Os fazendeiros paulistas e a imigração”, in Fernando Teixeira da Silva et al. (eds), República, liberalismo, cidadania (Piracicaba, 2003), pp. 153161.

64 Gazeta de Notícias, 17 September 1887, p. 1. The text appeared soon thereafter; see José da Silva Costa, “Das relações juridicas dos sujeitos à condição de servir, especialmente após a promulgação da Lei n. 3270 de 28 de Setembro de 1885”, Revista do Instituto dos Advogados Brazileiros. Tomo XI, 1887, pp. 10–52 (includes his reply to a colleague who criticized his text, as we shall see).

65 Pereira, J. Baptista, Da condição actual dos escravos, especialmente após a promulgação da lei n. 3270 de 28 de Setembro de 1885 (pamphlet) (Rio de Janeiro, 1887).

66 Ibid., pp. 33–34.

67 Hall, Michael, “The Origins of Mass Immigration in Brazil, 1871–1914” (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1969); Stolcke, Verena and Hall, Michael, “A introdução do trabalho livre nas fazendas de café de São Paulo”, Revista Brasileira de História, 6 (1983), pp. 80120; Andrews, George Reid, Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil, 1888–1988 (Madison, WI, 1991); Corrêa do Lago, Luiz Aranha, Da escravidão ao trabalho livre, Brasil, 1550–1900 (São Paulo, 2014).

68 Ana Rios and Hebe Mattos, “Para além das senzalas: campesinato, política e trabalho rural no Rio de Janeiro pós-Abolição”, in Cunha, Olívia and Gomes, Flávio, Quase-cidadão: histórias e antropologias da pós-emancipação no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, 2007), pp. 5578; Mattos, Hebe, Ao sul da história: lavradores pobres na crise do trabalho escravo (Rio de Janeiro, 2009); idem, Das cores do silêncio, part IV; for the region of the Recôncavo, in Bahia, see Fraga Filho, Encruzilhadas da liberdade, chs 6 to 9.

69 For the case of Rio de Janeiro, there is a very detailed study of internal migration and racial inequalities after abolition: Adamo, Samuel, “The Broken Promise: Race, Health, and Justice in Rio de Janeiro, 1890–1940” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of New Mexico, 1983).

70 Velasco e Cruz, Maria Cecília, “Da tutela ao contrato: ‘homens de cor’ brasileiros e o movimento operário carioca no pós-abolição”, Topoi, 11 (2010), pp. 114135.

71 See Gomes, Ângela de Castro and Teixeira da Silva, Fernando, “Os direitos sociais e humanos dos trabalhadores no Brasil: a título de apresentação”, in idem (eds), A Justiça do Trabalho e sua história: os direitos dos trabalhadores no Brasil (Campinas, 2013), pp. 1416.

* This article is a sequel to Sidney Chalhoub, “The Precariousness of Freedom in a Slave Society (Brazil in the Nineteenth Century)”, International Review of Social History, 56 (2011), pp. 405−439. A first draft was written while I was a fellow at IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, January−July 2013. Research in Brazil was funded by the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq) and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP). My thanks to Michael Hall and Robert Slenes for their critical comments and corrections of my English.

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International Review of Social History
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  • EISSN: 1469-512X
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