Monday, April 1, 2013

The Brazilian Law of Sexagenarians: Slaves Over The Age of 60

As translated from History of Brazil, "Lei dos Sexagenários," by Antonio Junior Gasparetto, on 5 March 2010 -- The Law of the sixties gave freedom to slaves aged over 65 years. Represented another onslaught of the abolitionists toward the final end of slavery in the country.

In the mid-nineteenth century Brazil started to enact laws that aimed to end the use of slave labor in the country. As a result of pressure from England, which in 1845 enacted a law Bill Aberdeen, Brazil enacted Law Eusebio de Queiroz in 1850 banning the slave trade in the Atlantic Ocean. The move caused an initial shock and caused growers arrumassem other methods to acquire their slave laborers. In the years following what happened in Brazil was an intensification of the domestic slave trade, the core of higher concentration of hand labor involved compulsory São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, the three main provinces coffee.

Although there were many supporters of abolitionism, only two decades after a new law was passed in favor of the slaves. In 1872 the parliament passed the Law of the Free Womb, which gave freedom to the children of slaves born from the date of its approval. In practice this measure does not solve the problem of slave labor, because until the individual reaches the age of 21 years at the time was the farmer who cared for him. Thus, the freed slave and ended up doing when reached his majority was indebted to the farmer, having to provide services without pay for many more years to pay off their debts.

The following years marked an intensification of the speech and the Republican abolitionist. Already in the 1880s the internal and external pressure was too great for Brazil to determine the order of slave labor. In 1884 the liberal Sousa Dantas introduced a bill advocating freedom for slaves aged 60 years or more. The project was highly debated in Parliament, on the one hand, the abolitionists remained steady for another conquest, and on the other hand, the slave responded with force. Like most sexagenarian was coffee in the provinces, the slave protested against the law. Farmers, individuals of great influence in the period, could the law was passed only in 1885 and with an addendum favorable. The Law of the sixties, also called the Law Saraiva-Cotegipe, took that name because initial project consisted in the liberation of the slaves with 60 years or more, only that coffee growers succeeded in raising the age to 65 years of freedom.

The Law of the sixties, which was enacted on September 28, 1885, did not have much practical effect, because slaves with such age were not as valued. It was also very difficult that slaves were able to live under the conditions imposed to reach this age. Just as the Law of the Free Womb, Law of sexagenarians granted freedom to another installment of slaves, but the practical application of both was irrelevant, keeping the country marked by its base slave. (source translated:ários


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