Italian Unification

Factors which influence the unification of Italy in 1871


Congress of Vienna

·         ‘politically fragmented’

·         ‘geographical expression’ ‘Italian affairs do not exist’ – Metternich

·         The central Duchies (Tuscany, Moderna and Parma) returned to Austrian-appointed rulers

·         Papal states returned to control of the Pope

·         Italy largely controlled by Austria: direct control over Venetia and  Lombardy

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·         Economic barriers – rich statesgrouped geographically (north), poor in south – also created social division

·         Variation of Language – e.g. Piedmont Sardinia = French, Papal States = Latin, Austrian rulers = German – limited communication

·         Regionalism- loyalty to their states – e.g. Neapolitans

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Failure of Revolutions

·         Lack of co-operation between revolutionary groups – e.g in Piedmont army volunteers from other states not accepted until they became Piedmontese

·         Aims were divided – e.g. Naples + Sicily revolution from 1820-21 some people wanted Sicily to be an independent state while others inly wanted rise in agricultural prices to stop

·         Lack of military resources, experience and power

·         Austria’s military supremacy

·         Lacked co-operation – e.g. revolutionary government in Bologna refused to send help to Moderna

·         However, ideas of liberalism and nationalism spread. Temporary unity betwwen states + resignation of Metternich

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Power and Influence of Roman Catholic Church/Papac

·         Power to hinder rather than encourage unification:

-          Series of hard- line popes, known as ‘zealots’

-          Established tight holdon government, education, culture and politics

-          All opposition forcibly repressed

-          Communication within states hindered – Pope’s refusal to allow railways in Papal States

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Power of Papacy (2) - Pope Pius IX

·         Pope Pius IX seen to contribute to unification to some extent

-          Believed to have liberal sympathies

-          Freed 2,000 political prisoners

-          Reformed education, the law and papal admissions

-          HOWEVER, he sent 20, 000 men from French army to restore power in roman republic revolution 1848-9: this shattered any expectations of Pius being a supporter of national unity

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·         Wanted ‘brotherhood of people’ – unification of Italy

·         Wanted a democracy

·         Founded ‘young Italy’ in 1831 – Italy’s first real political party

·         Became president of Rome in 1849

·         Involved in uprising in Naples (1832), a mutiny in the Piedmontese army + rising in Savoy – however none come anywhere near to success

·         Converted many to the cause – especially Guiseppe Garibaldi

·         Assessment: kept ide of unification alive BUT ideas too intellectual for many and too radical for most middle class reformers

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·         Soldier

·         Quickly converted to dream of a united Italy

·         Brought up ‘southern question’

·         Joined ‘young Italy’ movement + became involved with Mazzini’s revolutionary plans in Piedmont 1833

·         Abandoned republic preference for Charles Ablert

·         Converted ‘The Thousand’ man army to 60,000 men – played an important part in fighting war against Austria in northern Italy and Naples

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·         Statesman/ Politician

·         Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister by 1855

·         Expressed vague wish for Italy to be united + to be free from Austrian domination

·         In 1850s referred to idea of Italian unity as ‘rubbish’

·         Made acquaintances with French figures (e.g. Louis Napoleon and Emperor Napoleon III) by joining the Crimean War in 1854

·         After Plombieres meeting in July 1858 - made Italy into 4 states

·         At peace conference in Paris, 1856- able to negotiate almost equal terms with great powers

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Cavour (2)

·         Developed railways (railway link between Turin – Genoa – Milan)

·         Increased trade by 300%

·         Mobilised Piedmontese army provoking War of 1859

·         Assessment: gave Piedmont economic and political leadership + gave military and diplomatic strength to Italy. Made important foreign contacts. Contributed to Crimean War (further declining Austria’s strength)

·         However, wanted ‘piedmontisation’ rather than unification of Italy? Not a true nationalist?

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