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Despite its defeat in 1932 and Vargas’s repeated political victories, by the 1950s São Paulo had become even more dominant economically, and its capital had become Brazil’s largest city. It is in this context that civic boosters in the state capital planned the massive commemorations of the four hundredth anniversary of São Paulo’s founding. This “IV Centenário” in 1954 provided an occasion to celebrate São Paulo’s triumph and underscore its centrality to Brazil’s economic progress, but there was constant tension between organizers’ tendency to focus on activities that would appeal to the paulista middle class and political representatives’ promotion of more popular festivities.

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