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There had always been antislavery statements in Brazil, but a social movement for abolition arose in the mid-1860s, thanks to changes in the international scene – the abolition of slavery in the United States and its acceleration in the Spanish colonies – that caused a split in imperial political parties over whether to propose a free-womb law. This context triggered the onset of anti-slavery mobilization in Brazil, as an elite based abolitionism, led by dissident members of the imperial elite. Two of them created styles of activism which were used throughout the campaign. The black entrepreneur André Rebouças started lobbying for abolition, working as a bridge between the social elite, court society, and the political system, while the educator Abílio Cesar Borges created abolitionist “civic ceremonies”, with poetic declamations, and encouraged his international abolitionist contacts to pressurize the Brazilian Emperor to be in favor of abolition.
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