It is a subject for congratulation that the great Empire of Brazil has taken the initiatory step toward the abolition of slavery. Our relations with that Empire, always cordial, will naturally be made more so by this act. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
- This article is about the South American country. For the film, see Brazil (film).
Brazil is the largest country in South America.
- It is a subject for congratulation that the great Empire of Brazil has taken the initiatory step toward the abolition of slavery. Our relations with that Empire, always cordial, will naturally be made more so by this act. It is not too much to hope that the Government of Brazil may hereafter find it for its interest, as well as intrinsically right, to advance toward entire emancipation more rapidly than the present act contemplates.
- Brazil, an intense dream. A vivid ray of love and hope descends to earth.
- The argument that slavery would 'naturally' have been abolished in the course of time in the South, as it was peacefully abolished in Brazil by 1888, creates a couple of problems. One is that the South was not Brazil. Brazilian society included much more intermarriage and much less in the way of stark black/white racism than in the South. Even though slavery in Brazil probably had been much more brutal than in the United States, the Catholic Church at the same time had always strongly affirmed the equal humanity of the slaves, and recognized slave marriages. In the South, on the other hand, the humanity of the slaves received little recognition from the law, slave marriages had no legal standing, as in Roman slave law, and the religion of most slave holders was perfectly willing to degrade the descendants of Ham to intrinsic inferiority. That take on the Old Testament, together with Aristotle's idea of 'natural slaves', fostered agreeable rationalizations for slavery and racism. Thus, the social and intellectual dynamic in the South does not compare with Brazil. At the same time, we must ask whether the abolition of slavery in Brazil was a consequence of the kind of precedent set by the American Civil War. If the war had not occurred, and slavery had continued in the South, abolishing slavery in Brazil might have seemed much less like the thing to do, especially if the Confederacy had decided to reopen the slave trade with Africa, which had previously ended because of the agreement of powers like Britain and the United States. It is now often forgotten, or ignored, that Africans were still perfectly willing to sell slaves and actually protested when Britain and others began to suppress the slave trade.
- In Brazil we have a saying, 'You're married, but you're not dead'.