IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Educational Initiatives and Mobilization for Primary Schools in São Paulo, 1830-1889


  • Renato P. Colistete



One of the most common explanations for the historical deficiencies of public primary education in Brazil has been the alleged indifference of families that lacked the resources to send their children to private schools. This article addresses this issue in a period, comprising most of the Empire, when the conditions for access to primary schools were especially unfavorable. Poverty, isolation, illiteracy, political centralization and bureaucracy inhibited local initiatives and created few incentives, if any, for families to get involved in primary schools. The article shows, however, that parents and residents organized themselves across the province of São Paulo and submitted petitions to their local representatives and the provincial assembly requiring the installation of schools, since the first decades of the Empire. Town councils and, in the 1880s, education councils strengthened local demand for primary education. Under particularly adverse conditions, the evidence of mobilization for public schools gains a special significance and raises doubts about the views that, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, rejected the viability of local self-government due to the alleged inability of the "people" to intervene in the public sphere consistently.

Suggested Citation

  • Renato P. Colistete, 2017. "Educational Initiatives and Mobilization for Primary Schools in São Paulo, 1830-1889," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_04, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
  • Handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2017wpecon04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Primary education; municipalities; S�o Paulo;

    JEL classification:

    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spa:wpaper:2017wpecon04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Pedro Garcia Duarte). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.