Before the Myth: Citizen Soldiers of the National Guard in Rio Grande do Sul (1850-1873)
Abstract This paper explores the troops of citizen-soldiers and officers that took part in the National Guard in the province of Rio Grande do Sul, during the pivotal years of administrative centralization (1850-1873). By doing so, it challenges the classic image of that province and its soldiers: they were not only peons, commanded by their landlord bosses. Drawing upon soldiers' and officers' qualification lists, this paper develops a more complex picture of the Brazilian society in its frontier, particularly focusing on poor, free and freed men who were also citizens. Being the National Guard the crucial gear of the hybrid military system of the country, one can conclude that throughout its networks of interdependence the war affairs were administered in the borderlands, shaping also the essence of the Imperial State.