History, Sociology and the Political Conflicts of the 1920s in São Paulo, Brazil
|JAMES P. WOODARD a1|
a1 Department of History, University of Maryland.
In recent years an ‘ethno-economic’ interpretation of politics in the coffee state of São Paulo in the early twentieth century, associated particularly with the work of Mauricio Font, has gained widespread acceptance. Its claim that state politics in the period was increasingly shaped by a cleavage between a declining traditional coffee aristocracy on the one hand, and a rising, mostly immigrant, smallholding and industrial economy on the other, is challenged here. It is argued, in part on the basis of a re-examination of the sources used by Font, that ideological rather than economic concerns motivated the Liga Nacional, while at county level, in Araras and elsewhere, personal and clientelistic motives continued to shape political loyalties. Finally, the argument that the Partido Democrático was driven primarily by ‘Big Coffee’ reaction to the PRP is shown to be unfounded.