Politics in Rio de Janeiro province under the Empire (1822-1889)
This dissertation adds a new dimension to the
understanding of Brazilian politics under the Empire (1822-
1889). a highly centralized political and administrative
system, by offering one of the first detailed analyses of
provincial politics. In contrast, a large number of
regional studies are already available for the period of the
Old Republic (1889-1930).
The province of Rio de Janeiro is taken as the
research's case study. Its geographic proximity to the
country's national capital placed the province at the heart
of national politics. The period in question witnessed the
rise, apogee and decline of Rio de Janeiro province's
national political and economic preeminence. Internally,
the province is unusually interesting because of its economy
based on coffee, sugar and foodstuffs, supplying export and
The main contribution of this research to the debate
on the nature of Brazilian politics under the Empire is its
analysis of the vital role played by Rio de Janeiro
provincial (fluminense) politicians in linking the various
provincial economic and social interests behind a program
for the defence of export agriculture based upon slave
labour. After 1870, it was a matter of maintaining and
defending the province's dominant economic and social
structures during a period of decline. At the same time,
they attempted to sustain the province's leading position on the national political scene.
The study is organized in three main parts. Part One
considers the general background to fluminense politics.
First, a general survey is presented of the economy and
society of Rio de Janeiro province under the Empire.
Secondly, the operation of the fluminense provincial
administrative system (Camaras Municipais, Provincial
Legislative Assembly, Provincial Presidency and various
provincial administrative offices) is described. Part Two
analyses the debates that took place in the fluminense
Legislative Assembly, the principal provincial political
forum. This focuses on the way in which local sectors were
represented and how they related to each other. The data on
which this section is primarily based was obtained from the
Anais (published proceedings) of the Provincial Assembly.
Part Three examines local participation at various levels in
the provincial political and administrative machinery. A
database was created using data supplied by the Almanack
Laemmert - a annual publication of the period, which
recorded the names of all politicians and administrative
personnel nationally, including the province of Rio de Janeiro.