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Law schools and slavery in Brazil (1827-1888): Natural Law and Political Economy in the legitimation of the `servil element´

Grant number: 19/04345-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law
Principal researcher:José Reinaldo de Lima Lopes
Grantee:Ariel Engel Pesso
Home Institution: Faculdade de Direito (FD). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research project deals with Law Schools and slavery in the nineteenth century and seeks to answer the following question: "did legal teaching serve as a legitimizing tool for slavery?". Our hypothesis is that the teaching practiced within the Academies of Law reinforced and justified the slave regime (the "servile element", as it was called at the time), through the use of philosophical, legal and economic arguments that supported the maintenance this way of working. The period analyzed corresponds to the creation of legal courses in 1827 until the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888. The disciplines selected for analysis are the "Natural Law" and the "Political Economy", since the former "opened" the course in the 1st year, the latter closed it in the fifth year. Due to the propaedeutic character of these disciplines, there was a thematic proximity with slavery, attributing to it arguments of a philosophical and moral as well as economic order. Through the historical method, inscribed in the history of ideas, it is intended to make an intellectual history that combines at the same time an institutional history and a history of legal thought. (AU)

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