The Old Republic could have been a turning point in Brazilian development, but two important factors stunted that potential. The Hospedaria provided a cheap labor supply by bringing in working families, proving a disincentive to industrialist innovation. World War I cut short standards-of-living advancements and exacerbated working-class divisions. By the end of the Old Republic, access to the middle class was open to some, but closed to most, especially Afro-Brazilian women. These conclusions encourage scholars to revisit World War I’s impact in Latin America; to investigate how state institutions impact development; to consider working-class divisions when analysing Getulio Vargas–era labor reforms; and to include family agency in analyses of the modern era.
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