Autos and Progress: The Brazilian Search for Modernity by Joel Wolfe

By Joel Wolfe

Automobiles and growth reinterprets twentieth-century Brazilian historical past via cars, utilizing them as a window for figuring out the nation's fight for modernity within the face of its immense geographical dimension, susceptible primary govt, and dependence on agricultural exports. one of the themes Wolfe touches upon are the 1st activities vehicles and elite consumerism; intellectuals' include of autos because the key for transformation and unification of Brazil; Henry Ford's development of an organization city within the Brazilian jungle; the production of a transportation infrastructure; democratization and client tradition; automobile employees and their construction of a countrywide political get together; and the commercial and environmental effect of automobiles on Brazil. This specialise in Brazilians' fascination with autos and their reliance on car creation and intake as keys to their financial and social transformation, explains how Brazil--which enshrined its trust in technological know-how and know-how in its nationwide slogan of Order and Progress--has differentiated itself from different Latin American international locations. automobiles and development engages key concerns in Brazil round the which means and position of race in society and likewise addresses numerous vintage debates in Brazilian reports in regards to the nature of Brazil's nice dimension and variety and the way they formed state-making.

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34 The Praça da Sé, the public square widely considered to be the center of town, was turned into a parking lot, and jammed streets led to calls for studying ways to alleviate traffic. 36 Other large cities, such as Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, and Porto Alegre, likewise registered large numbers of motorcars in the 1920s and also started using trucks and buses in everyday commerce. 37 Already by the late 1910s, São Paulo’s and Rio’s streets were well known for their dangerous traffic. In addition to the steadily increasing number of cars, trucks, and buses, Paulistanos and Cariocas had to contend with horse-drawn vehicles and trolleys.

The growing tire industry did not usher in a second rubber boom, and a true domestic automobile industry would not begin producing cars until the late 1950s. Moreover, the few urban women who learned to drive did not, by their presence behind the wheel, have a discernible impact on gender ideologies in the 1910s. 86 Although cruising through the cities did not end, it was soon eclipsed in the popular imagination by the daring of young men who raced cars and drove them through previously inaccessible terrain.

Outside Rio and São Paulo, they were available through an ad hoc collection of outlets, from individuals to farm supply merchants. One Ford executive recalled the trouble he had creating the initial network of dealerships in Brazil: “We had to appoint blacksmiths and even dentists and doctors and whoever we could. ”46 Drivers and mechanics ran these garages and rented their services to wealthy men who had little interest in driving their vehicles and even less interest in maintaining them. São Paulo’s mayor in 1900, Plínio da Silva Prado, for example, bought a Delahaye in France and looked in Europe for help with the vehicle.

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