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One's Status In Nineteenth Century Rio De Janeiro

Decent Essays
One’s status in nineteenth century Rio de Janeiro had a huge impact on all areas of their life. It could allow them to have full or limited access to institutions, it determined their employment opportunities, determined if they can participate in political matters, and even determined where in the city they were allowed to travel. The three biggest factors that shaped a person’s position in society were family status or ancestry, property and slave ownership, and occupation
A person’s family status and ancestry was probably the most important determinant of one’s status. In nineteenth century Rio de Janeiro, a person was often born into their status. If they were born into a high status family, then they were of high status, and the same reasoning
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Since young elites “would automatically be trained for medicine, the law, or the priesthood, and he would be introduced to the imperial court and enjoy the high status of a courtier,” occupation was not a primary status determinant for the high status people (Karasch 69). If someone was a merchant, clerk, shopkeeper, tavern owner, craftsman or artisan, than they were of middle status. These jobs were mostly known as middle status jobs because they required manual labour. Even if a person was to make a decent amount of money from one of these jobs, they would remain in the middle status because their job required manual labour, which was looked down on. If a person’s occupation was being a soldier, sailor, fisherman, or sailor, they were of low status, and then at the very bottom of society were “beggars, vagrants, scavenges, and the poorest of the poor, mainly people of color and ex-slaves who owned not even one slave” (Karasch 70). It was rare for someone to change their status based on their occupation. If a person of low status was the slave of a middle status worker, then they were typically the only people who, after being freed, could raise their status. Middle status owners often taught their low status slaves the skills needed for their occupation, and then, once that slave was freed, they had the skills needed to work in that field and raise their status from low to
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