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Politics and Parentela in Paraiba

Politics and Parentela in Paraiba: A Case Study of Family-Based Oligarchy in Brazil

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 524
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  • Book Info
    Politics and Parentela in Paraiba
    Book Description:

    This richly documented work focuses on the parentela (extended family), including Epitacio's, to illustrate the role bonds of blood, marriage, and friendship played in formal politics at local, state, and national levels throughout the Old Republic (1889-1930).

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5828-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xx)
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
    (pp. xxv-2)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 3-36)

    On the 5th of July 1919, the U.S.S.Idahosailed from New York, bound for Rio de Janeiro on a voyage of state. It carried as its special passenger the president-elect of Brazil, Epitácio Lindolfo da Silva Pessoa. He traveled as President Wilsonʹs personal guest, for the two men had been diplomatic colleagues at the Paris Peace Conference, where they had developed a relationship of mutual admiration and respect. Epitácio was the first Brazilian head of state to visit North America since the Emperor Dom Pedro II attended the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, almost half a century earlier. Epitácio, his wife,...

  10. Part One: Political Economy

    • I Land and Population
      (pp. 39-80)

      Land and population in Paraíba reflected geographical patterns common to the Brazilian Northeast. However modest its territory, Paraíba occupied the geographical heartland of the region. Brazilʹs seventh smallest state, it shared with its neighbors the two major ecological zones of the Northeast: a coastal sugar belt that had originally opened the region and the colony to sixteenth-century European expansion, and an agro-pastoral hinterland that subsequently maintained coastal export production. Strategically placed in the very center of Brazilʹs northeastern ʺhump,ʺ Paraíbaʹs political boundaries encompassed all of the topographical and climatic features considered typical of the region. (See Map I.1.) In addition,...

    • II The Agrarian Oligarchy and Its Export Economy in an Era of Change, 1889–1922
      (pp. 81-124)

      More economic growth occurred in Paraíba during the forty-one years of the Old Republic than had taken place in the preceding three centuries. The unprecedented expansion of the export sector could be measured in an impressively rising volume of cotton shipped abroad and to domestic ports, a larger capital investment in infrastructure, and a higher proportion of land planted in cotton. Together, these indicators of growth defined a boom economy that would have important effects on Paraíbaʹs system of family-based oligarchy. The agrarian oligarchy depended directly on the export economy not only for its livelihood but also for its control...

  11. Part Two: Politics and Parentela

    • III The Parentela in Empire and Republic
      (pp. 127-173)

      For the politicians in the Paraíba state oligarchy, membership in a parentela, or extended family, was their most important organizational affiliation. Their private letters confirmed in either language or unspoken assumptions that politics was rooted in a family base. One local boss from the alto sertāo, for example, wrote to the governor referring to his struggles with the opposition at the município level as literally ʺpolítico de família,ʺ or family politics.¹ At the national level, politicians also made direct reference to the intimate connections between kinship and politics when delivering rhetorical attacks on their opposition. Thus, Sen. Sílvio Romero condemned...

    • IV The Politics of Parentela in the Era of the Oligarchies
      (pp. 174-226)

      Changes in kinship organization that had been transpiring in Paraíba since the mid-Empire can be more easily perceived from the vantage point of the Old Republic. Those changes were by no means confined to Paraíba or even to the Brazilian Northeast. Elite family power was evolving generally throughout Brazil, although regional differences undeniably occurred.¹ However, in smaller, more underdeveloped, and politically subordinate states such as Paraíba, the adaptation to change was more conservative than elsewhere. Brazilʹs weaker states, consequently, became less dramatically reoriented along the lines of interest group politics than the Center-South, where the states with dynamic economies were...

  12. Part Three: Oligarchical Politics

    • V The Formative Decade: The Republican Nineties
      (pp. 229-270)

      On November 15, 1889, the Second Empire that had been ruled by Dom Pedro II since 1840 collapsed in the face of a republicancoup d’état. The leaders of the coup were prominent civilian politicians, especially those associated with the Republican Party of Sāo Paulo, and high-ranking military officers with their more positivistically inclined subordinates. The government they imposed, subsequently known as the First or the Old Republic, would endure until 1930. The decade of the nineties witnessed the oscillation of national political power between the civilian and military factions that had created the Republic. The initial civilian-military provisional government...

    • VI From ʺAnarchyʺ to ʺOrder,ʺ 1900–1912
      (pp. 271-307)

      The second decade of Machado—Leal rule in Paraíba coincided with a period of republican consolidation in the nation. Thanks to ʺthe politics of the governors,ʺ the presidential succession did not engender the domestic conflict that had characterized national politics in the nineties, nor did secessionist movements wrack the nation. Under the political entente defined between Sāo Paulo and Minas, colloquially christened ʺthe politics of café com leite,ʺ federal policy favored the expansion of the export sector, guaranteeing the preeminence of the coffee elite in the polity. The federalism embodied in the 1891 Constitution ensured Sāo Pauloʹs unrivaled position in...

    • VII The Pessoas in Power: The Years of ʺOrder,ʺ 1912–1924
      (pp. 308-348)

      The inauguration of Governor Castro Pinto on October 22, 1912 opened a new era of direct domination by the Pessoa oligarchy in Paraíba. Epitácioʹs assumption of a seat in the Senate two months later, followed by his election as state party boss in February 1913, initiated a decade of superbly coordinated factional cohesion that endured unchallenged until 1924. Between 1912 and 1915, Epitácio secured undisputed control of the state oligarchy through electoral victories that awarded his faction control of the Congressional delegation and Assembly and reduced his oppositionʹs political representation to the legal minimum.

      At the federal level, Epitácio maintained...

    • VIII The Oligarchy Moves toward Crisis, 1924–1930
      (pp. 349-407)

      As the decade of the twenties rolled toward the Revolution of 1930, national events carried greater significance for oligarchyʹs survival in Paraíba. The 1922 presidential crisis had revealed that the politics of café com leite was nearly exhausted as a basis for oligarchical consensus among the most powerful states. In its aftermath, divisions among the elite grew. Career officers in the military, both senior and junior, continued to be disaffected with the priority their civilian counterparts in government accorded to the regional interests of state oligarchies with rural power bases. The expanding urban middle class and working class voiced increasing...

  13. Conclusion: The Demise of Family-Based Politics
    (pp. 408-424)

    The era of the oligarchies had ended, and the Pessoas had been swept away in its wake. But what of the role that family-based politics had played in Paraíba? Had the developments of the 1920s modified those powerful, informal groups? Did the decade mark a significant transformation in the political alignments historically reflecting affiliations of kinship and friendship?

    On the most obvious level, the conclusion could be drawn that little had changed. José Pereiraʹs Princesa Revolt appeared to represent a cyclical phenomenon in Paraíbaʹs oligarchical politics, one common in the Northeast: the attempt of powerful backlands parentelas to redress their...


    • Appendix A: Cotton Production and Export, 1889–1930
      (pp. 425-430)
    • Appendix B: Elite Family Genealogies
      (pp. 431-436)
    • Appendix C: Patrimonial Implications of Endogamous Matrimonial Strategies
      (pp. 437-440)
    • Appendix D: The Family Base of Oligarchy in Paraíba
      (pp. 441-446)
    (pp. 447-452)
    (pp. 453-456)
    (pp. 457-474)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 475-497)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 498-498)