Giuseppe Mazzini

Giuseppe Mazzini. Information about his background and significance to the Italian Unification. 

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  • Created on: 19-04-12 16:51
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Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72)
Mazzini was born in Genoa in 1805. He became a
nationalist in 1821 after he saw Piedmontese refugee
revolutionaries begging in the streets. Mazzini went on to
study medicine and then law between 1822-7. In 1827 he
decided to join the Carbonari, although later in 1830 he
was betrayed. During the time he was imprisoned he
decided to work towards the independence and
unification of Italy. He became a full-time and committed
revolutionary. He wore black, symbolic for a sign on
mourning for his divided/oppressed country. In 1831 he
founded `Young Italy' when we moved to the south of
France; this was Italy's first real political party. However,
in 1837 he was forced to go into exile in London.
Although he returned in 1849 as head of the Roman
republic until Rome fell in June 1849 to the French. He
was once again exiled to London where he was forced to
live in poverty, writing thousands of letters and hundreds of books.
Mazzini's Ideas
Mazzini believed in equality to human beings and of races.
He also believed that the next stage of world history would be domination by the
nations. The political map needed to be redrawn so that distinct people occupied
their own national states.
Italy had to be united.
He did not want a federal Italy. The whole peninsula should be independent, with
one central government and authorities locally elected.
There needed to be democracy and a guarantee of individual rights.
Italy should be unified by her own efforts.
Unification `from bellow'. The people should rise up against their oppressors. If
monarch were prepared to fight against Austrian domination, they should be
He wanted greater equality, an end to poverty and taxation proportional to wealth.
Mazzini's supporters described him as `greatest, bravest, most heroic of Italians'; whereas
his political enemies criticised him as an enemy to Italy and a terrorist, due to his radical
In conclusion, although Mazzini's ideas did inspire many people, things did not all plan out as
he had hoped. Italy was unified as Mazzini claimed it would be, although it was unified `from
above' opposed to as `from bellow' and Mazzini had wanted.
A unified Italy under Mazzini may have had more of an liberal approach and had been more
progressive and likable than the state which did come out of unification.


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