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Ethnic conflicts and slave trade. Comparing the United States and Brazil

Essay 2016 7 Seiten


Ethnic Conflict: Comparing the United States and Brazil


In the 19th century, slave trade was conventional in the American continents. The United States and other developing nations such Brazil have a similar history with the slave trade. The abolishment processes in these two countries were through the development of anti-slavery laws that aimed at denying dominant whites the rights to own slaves. In the United States, the 13th Amendment was a pivotal point for the abolishment of human trafficking. A section of the American politician known as anti-slavery Republican Party sought to counter the expansion of slave trade and not suppress it entirely. As a result, the effectiveness of the American efforts to abolish slave business remains questionable. The scope of the regulations made may have played a significant part in promoting ethnic divisions in the US. Regarding Brazil, colonists in 1530 established sugar cane plantations and mills (Hébrard, 2013). Notably, in 1570 the colonists started to transfer African captives to work for them in the farms until 1850 with over five million Africans shipped to Brazil to work and live as slaves in the farmlands, in Brazilian cities and mines (Hébrard, 2013). As such, activists such as Nabuco and Freyre led the fight against enslavement with the establishment of Brazilian Anti-slavery Society. Similar to the U.S., the effectiveness of the laws used to control slave trade in Brazil is questionable. Thus, this essay aims at comparing the manner in which U.S. and Brazil handled the transition of former slaves to free citizens. The primary objective is to determine the reasons ethnic conflict reduced in one country than the other. Notably, this paper will use historical intuitionalism and cultural theories to compare the two countries. However, the exploration is limited to the explanation of significant differences that exist between US and Brazil in handling the transition from slavery to citizenship and the recent appearance of ethnic conflict in the two countries.


Historical institutionalism theory is based on the assumptions that institutional rules, constraints, and the response to them over a long time help to guide political actors (Orfeo, Tulia, & Adam, 2016). Therefore, this hypothesis points to the impact of the laws that were made to abolish slave trade in the modern policy-making process in the U.S. and Brazil. Consequently, it will facilitate a critical exploration of Slavery concerning segregation laws and civil rights movements and laws. Based on this assumption, the institutional requirements used to control slave trade played a more significant role in the development of the current social divisions between the blacks and whites in the modern U.S. society (Orfeo, Tulia, & Adam, 2016).

Cultural theory is based on various attempts to conceptualize and have a better comprehension of the dynamics of culture. Mainly, it proposes that individuals tend to identify danger and react to the risk in diverse ways that tend to motivate the establishment of various social schemes that can be examined as ‘grid’ and ‘group’ to demonstrate unity and the amount of authority exerted unto them from above (Rusell, Suze, & Bram, 2017). Precisely, it is limited towards the relationship between culture and society, specifically the split between high and low cultures. In this regard, cultural theory will help to demonstrate the engagement with concepts that are often concealed by cultural differences between the whites and blacks in the U.S. and Brazil and their impact on the abolishment of slavery. Thus, it will help to prove that differences in cultural superiority develop ethnic conflicts.

Historical institutionalism and the cultural theory help to develop a sufficient basis for the exploration of African-American cultural trauma. The strain opens an exciting new perspective on black American identity. Even after the establishment of laws to abolish slave trade, there exist some significant gaps between the whites and blacks. The dream of gaining cultural integration and full citizenship was cut short by the nature of laws developed in the 1800s (Washington, 2002). The result was an emergence of the meaning of slavery; hence, developed a site for identity conflict. The newly expanded and resourceful ranks of the civilized blacks have helped to articulate the identity conflict.



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Titel: Ethnic conflicts and slave trade. Comparing the United States and Brazil