Italian Unification - 1815 - Revision Cards

Revision Cards for the beginning of the Italian Unification topic in IB History

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Il Risorgimento - 1815

The Italian Situation in 1815

  • Italy was divided into various kingdoms and principalities; these were Lombardy and Venetia (occupied and directly ruled by Austria), the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (a monarchy ruled by Victor Emmanuel I, an Italian), the Central Duchies (of Modena, Parma, and Tuscany - it was ruled by Habsburgs), the Papal States (ruled by Pope Pius VII, with close relations to the Austrian Empire), and finally the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies/Naples (a corrupt and bankrupt state ruled by King Ferdinand I, a Spanish Bourbon).
  • Lombardy and Venetia - the richest provinces in Italy, compulsory education until the age of 12, lower levels of illiteracy than other states, high taxation, made up 1/8 of the Austrian Empire and contributed to 1/4 of her tax revenue, the official language was German, all official positions were held by Austrians, heavy censorship, no personal freedoms, and modern history was banned in education.
  • Piedmont-Sardinia - capital was Turin, the second most economically developed nation in the peninsula, initially no personal freedoms (remarkably even beards were banned as they were seen as revolutionary), generally conservative.
  • Central Duchies - no real personal freedoms, education was not too controlled, French legal system used in Parma (under the Duchess Marie-Louise, a notably liberal/progressive ruler).
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Il Risorgimento - 1815

Italian Situation in 1815 - Continued

  • The Papacy - absolute rule of Pope who was elected by other cardinals, extremely conservative, no freedoms, frequent Papal inquisitions, ghettoisation of Jews, smallpox vaccine and street lights banned as they were seen as evil (very backward), education provided by the Church, pro-Austrian and pro-status quo.
  • Naples - monarchy supported by clergy, very poor, a corrupt kleptocracy, virtually no freedoms, almost no education (very high levels of illiteracy).
  • Prince Klemens von Metternich in 1815 on Italy - "Italy is just a geographical expression".
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Il Risorgimento - 1815

The European situation in 1815

  • Treaty of Vienna (1815) redrew the political map of Europe, and re-created the kingdoms of Italy. It also confirmed Austrian superiority within Europe following the Napoleonic Wars (the last one being the War of the Sixth Coalition).
  • The ideas of liberté, égalité, fraternité were still around in Europe following the defeat of France.
  • Europe was dominated by the 'great powers'; Britain (a more liberal constitutional and protestant monarchy), France (a reinstalled conservative and Catholic monarchy), Prussia (a growing conservative and protestant imperial monarchy), Austria (a conservative and Catholic imperial monarchy), and, finally, Russia (a conservative and feudal imperial monarchy that followed Russian Orthodox Christianity).
  • The French defeat at Waterloo, Belgium, marked the growth of Prussia and the collapse of France. Despite this, France was still a strong power, desperate to prove her worth.
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Il Risorgimento - 1815

The European Situation in 1815 - Continued

  • The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) was collapsing following several wars with Austria and Russia.
  • Russia was seen as the 'sleeping giant' of Europe - she was very under-developed, as well as socially and economically under-developed, but still a very strong power indeed.
  • Austria, at the time, was a declining nation that was beginning to fall behind other major powers. Though still militarily a superpower, she was beginning to be upstaged by the might of the expanding Prussian Empire
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Il Risorgimento - 1815

Key Figures in the Italian Unification

  • Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872) - a strong influence on the unification process, who kick-started the idea of Il Risorgimento. He was an influential liberal nationalist who was exiled from his native Piedmont and wrote extensively on the unification of Italy (he wrote up to 40,000 letters to other thinkers, spreading his ideas). Additionally founded the Carbonari andYoung Italy (two Italian nationalist secret societies); the Italian flag is based on the colours of the latter organisation. Historian Dennis Mack Smith: "Defining the goal and arousing enthusiasm".
  • Klemens von Metternich (1773-1859) - a German politician in the Austrian Empire who became, most notably, the Austrian chancellor (1821-48) and foreign minister (1809-48). Though he vehemently opposed any resistance to Austrian rule, he attempted repeatedly to reform his country's economic and governmental system, and had only his nation's best interests in mind. He lost his job in 1848 following the liberal revolutions across Europe.
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Il Risorgimento - 1815

Key Figures of the Italian Unification - Continued

  • Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour (usually known as Cavour) (1810-1861) - prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1852-9 and then 1860-1. Seen as the 'brain' behind Il Risorgimento, he was an influential politician that many see as the main leading-force behind the movement. He became the first prime minister of the Kingdom of Italy in March 1861 - June 1861 (dying while still leader of the new state).
  • Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon III) (1808-1873) - installed in December 1848 as thefirst president of France, he became the emperor of the Second French Empire as well. Napoléon III played a major role in fighting Austria during the Second Italian War for Independence and, therefore, uniting Italy.
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) - Italian general and politician, well known for fighting for both Uruguayan independence and Italian. Known to many as the 'hero of two worlds', he strove for Italian unification and contributed to the movement greatly.
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