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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s i u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardiner south of the border in the arranging countryside and teeming population that is Latin America. Brazil is the big one big in terms of the area that finds the Portuguese American country larger than any three of the Spanish American countries big in terms of the population that finds Brazil as populous as any four of her South American neighbors. Big in terms of the potential that continuously finds Brazil labeled the land of the future. Indeed there have been so many books dealing with
Brazil land of the future over such a long period of time that some of that future that has been so brightly anticipated has already slipped into the past. It's of the past of Brazil rather than that future that I would speak today because we have in a recent Oxford University Press publication a volume entitled Brazil the land and people authored by ra e Pompano. This work is a clear concise and informed introduction to Brazilian society in a volume of fewer than 350 pages. Brazilians often describe their country as a continent. To set it apart from the rest of Latin America and indicate the magnitude of its problems and its promise in this solid social and economic history. And those are the aspects that are featured. Professor Pompano reaches deep into
Brazil's past to set its present problems in their proper context. He traces Brazilian history through the Portuguese settlement in the move into the interior. The boom or bust economy. The titanic struggle to abolish slavery. The massive wave of immigration the forced economic development and its present political instability. The book is a political Chronicle and yet replete with statistical tables. It is also a work of reference the annotated bibliography is designed for further study. And so this is a book written in a manner pleasing to the general reader and of service to the serious student of Brazil as well. When one looks at the history of Brazil which now stretches almost full five hundred years in the consciousness of the Western world one is struck by the fact that basically
this has always been a land of evolutionary change. There was nothing in the very beginning that was sudden or explosive about the Portuguese identification with the Brazilian landscape. The colony Brazil gradually evolved. There was no great rush. Thanks to the Portuguese meeting a high civilization as the Spaniards had in Mexico in Peru and elsewhere. There was no sudden explosion of interest and rush of population because gold and silver diamonds are some other get rich quick approach to living had been found. No these are not in the early Portuguese record. And so there is an element of struggle. There is an element of gradual ness that I repeat in the colonial years makes for an evolutionary pattern. If evolution is the keynote for
most all of the colonial period be it a social revolution an economic evolution a consciousness of one's Brazillian nature that is evolving and much more. There was also evolution in the very manner in which Brazil wins its independence. Here the contrast is strong not only with Spanish America but with the United States. After all all the rest of the Western Hemisphere have had up to that time gained independence had done so in explosive bloodbaths but found colonies rebelling against mother countries but not so Brazil Brazil had in days the Napoleonic period. Had its royal family moved from Portugal to Brazil and for a time Brazil was foremost. Even the thinking of Portuguese leaders and when gradually the need for
Portuguese leadership to return to the Continent to the continent of Europe after the end of the poli onic era. John left a young son named Pedro behind as his personal representative in Brazil but with the admonition that he should stay abreast of trends that he should as it were ride the crest of the wave and not let it break over him not let it swamp him. And so there comes a time when Brazilian sentiment moves sufficiently toward independence that young Pedro out riding that day as he read the latest dispatches from Portugal rose in his saddle and proclaimed the independence of Brazil. It wasn't quite as simple as all that they did quietly rather bloodlessly have to get a few troops from Portuguese garrisons aboard ship and ship them back home. But there was no long war. There was no trend toward a militaristic psychology. There was no upset
of family life no disruption of the economic patterns. You do not have 15 years in which colonels and generals become indispensable and so affect the complection of the coming government of independent Brazil Brazil then you see is unique in the western hemisphere. It evolves from colonial status to independence. And then in 1900 years this trend of evolutionary practice continues. Brazil percentage wise had more of its population black and enslaved than did the United States. Brazil percentage wise had more of its economy related to slave labor than did the United States. And yet Brazil did not have the bloodbath that we had in terms of a civil war. Gradually from steps taken in the late 18th 20s on down to a moment in the late 1880s Brazil approached the slavery issue as
something that could be eased that could be gradually removed that by an evolutionary process could be changed. And so slavery was terminated in Brazil in an evolutionary manner that commends that segment of its history to the rest of the world. And then there comes that moment when Brazilians wearing of the political formula that was Empire began increasingly to think that the Republican form was what they wanted their government to be or rather to become. And so as Republicanism grew you have a diminution of loyalty to affection for Emperor and the trappings the spirit the tone. Indeed the nature of empire. And so in time once more you have by the removal of support from Empire the build up of support for a republican system what
amounts to an evolution. Call it a revolt if you like. There comes that moment when an emperor is put aboard ship and he quietly goes off to an exile in Europe. But again is Brazil evolving evolving from royalty to Republicanism to from empire to Republic. Some would say that this pattern that Brazil has known of seeking solutions through evolution has continued to the present time but not with a negative rather than a positive twist to it all. Since 1930 Brazil has had an increasing measure of instability and chaos politically and economically and there are those who would say that things are not getting better that indeed they are through the accumulation of troubles in the prolongation of them are
getting worse that Brazil may indeed be evolving once more. But this time toward a complete breakdown or chaos. This of course is difficult to imagine. It's horrible to imagine in terms of a nation that now counts a population close upon 90 million people. There are those who believe however that this land of the future with a great potential human in terms of physical resources will muddle through. We'll get on the right track as it were and prove that it's capacity for meeting the prospect of becoming a great power. Perhaps one of the only great powers ever in an equatorial zone in world history. Yet becomes a prospect that can be realized. And yet as Brazil has this problem of political call it chaos
instability it is spiraling inflation which encourages an individual to spend the paycheck he gets on Friday lest it purchase. 5 percent less by Monday. In this uncertain setting Brazil has had the great desire to move population emphasis of life toward the interior. They have built a new capital. They have tried as a magnet to pull people away from the narrow range of interest that's focused for centuries upon a coastal strip. In all of Brazil However no one area is so dominant as it is that state of Sol Paulo and the capital city of the same name. Some Paulo is a city considerably larger than Chicago possessed of more than 32 percent of all the industrial plants in Brazil possessed of more than 54 percent of all the industrial capacity in Brazil. But rest assured that an area like Sao
Paulo has every growing pain that urbanization knows. A recent volume entitled child of the dark. Written by a woman who lived in a slum there gives us better pictures of Sol Paulo slum life they call the slums the favelas. And she writes I had faith in President Cooper's shack. But now democracy is losing its followers in our country everything is weakening. The money is weak democracy is weak and the politicians are very weak. Everything that is weak dies one day. She took that dismal negative view too of the political process when she wrote Our elections are just a Trojan horse that appears once every four years. And then she points up the fact that either life must be better or all
can and might fall apart. Brazil then is the giant that is in the Portuguese world. The largest expression the Portuguese culture anywhere it has served to be a leader in Latin America for a long time an active ally of the United States in wartime. A firm customer and friend in peace time and all this focus is a measure of American attention that is sincere and real. The volume Brazil the land and people authored by Riley puppy Gnome is published by Oxford University Press and gives us the most recent assessment of the life in the big land in South America. This was another programme in the series Latin America perspectives with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University.
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 13 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: Brazil: The Land and the People by R.E. Poppino
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-31-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:51
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 13 of 38,” 1968-12-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 18, 2022,
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