The Tribute Of Blood Analysis

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Beattie, Peter M. The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864-1945. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.
Peter Beattie examined the transition from an impressment based military to a conscription based military in Brazilian history. Beattie eloquently argued that the transition was vital to the development of Brazilian nationalism in The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864-1945. Beattie artfully showed how the change from impressment to conscription, as a method of maintaining a military, required both a change in the public perception of the military men’s honor and the removal of the military from their historic policing and penal roles. The modernized draft army of Brazil, Beattie successfully
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Portugal’s initial colonization effort brought the tradition of impressment to Brazil, which was actively used until 1916. Impressment gangs often hunted men to forcibly recruit into military service, targeting rural men who were poor, unmarried and unemployed. Local authorities also often impressed men suspected of committing non-homicidal crimes. By targeting poor, unmarried and unemployed men and criminals, the army impressed individuals who were perceived as lacking honor; either because they lacked head of the household status or because of their perceived criminality. The complex hierarchical social order which dominated Brazil viewed masculine honor as being essentially tied to the male role of head of a household. The practice of impressment remained intact, although several prior laws made it technically illegal, until the draft was successful in filling the gaps in the ranks in 1916. In order to keep the impressed soldiers in line, the officers used flogging and other physical punishments. Punishments of a physical nature gave soldiers the perception of being little more than slaves. Although attempts were made several times to outlaw physical punishment of soldiers, this was not achieved until 1890. The combination of the demographics of the military and the…show more content…
As most of the Brazilian states did not employ a large police force, the army was often called upon to aid in policing duties. Beattie argued that this often prevented soldiers from training in a manner consistent with modern professional armies. The military of Brazil was responsible for incarcerating both civil and military criminals and holding criminals within army forts. It is important to note that most of the criminals which the army incarcerated either did not meet the physical standards set by the military, or were convicted of a crime considered too violent for impressment, such as murder. The 1830’s creation of an army-administered penal colony, on Fenando de Noronha Island, increased the army’s role in administering civil justice. By the 1860’s eighty percent of inmates on Fenando de Noronha had been sent there by civilian courts. The author demonstrated that the military’s penal and police duties took time it could have used for more modernized training. Beattie argued that the break made in the 1890’s, which restricted the military’s role in policing and incarcerating, was a necessary step in the modernization of the Brazilian
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