The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945

TitleThe Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsBeattie, Peter M.
Number of Pages390
PublisherDuke University Press
CityDurham, NC

In this volume, the author analyzes the transformation of army recruitment and service in Brazil between 1864 and 1945, using this history of common soldiers to examine nation building and the social history of Latin America's largest nation. Tracing the army's reliance on coercive recruitment to fill its lower ranks, the author shows how enlisted service became associated with criminality, perversion, and dishonor, as nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Brazilian officials rounded up the "dishonorable" poor--including petty criminals, vagrants, and "sodomites"--and forced them to serve as soldiers. The author looks through sociological, anthropological, and historical lenses to analyze archival sources such as court-martial cases, parliamentary debates, published reports, and the memoirs and correspondence of soldiers and officers. Combining these materials with a colorful array of less traditional sources--such as song lyrics, slang, grammatical evidence, and tattoo analysis--he reveals how the need to reform military recruitment with a conscription lottery became increasingly apparent in the wake of the Paraguayan War of 1865-1870 and again during World War I. Because this crucial reform required more than changing the army's institutional roles and the conditions of service, this volume is ultimately the story of how entrenched conceptions of manhood, honor, race, citizenship, and nation were transformed throughout Brazil.

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