Italian Unification - Characters

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Dennis Mack Smith Autobiog of Mazzini

  • Wanted independant Italy with one central government
  • Didnt want external help - should 'make herself'
  • Wrote to Charles Albert to help - didnt respond

Young Italy

  • Attempted coups throughout Italy (Pied., Naples, Savoy) - none suceeded


  • Converted many to cause of unification - Garibaldi
  • Attempted to involve WC people
  • Created Italy's first political party

United Italy

  • Critical of new kingdom - used foreign help. N/S divided. Not true democ. - king and nobles still in control 
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Impact on Piedmont

  • Brought to attention of world powers - Crimea
  • Increased trade production in 1850s by 300% - able to fund army and make better than other Italian states
  • Created extrensive railway network - used for moving troops
  • Saw need to external help
  • Some believe secretly supported Garibaldi
  • Others believe he hated him
  • Most hist. agree Italy united as result of G. and C's clash, not harmony
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Napoleon III


  • Without him, Aust. wouldnt have been driven out of Lombardy 1859
  • P. army poor track record (Custoza 1848) - needed F. army
  • Wanted to 'do something for Italy'
  • Future P. would be good F. ally - couldnt be too large to threaten F. - reason for distrusting C.

Napoleon's record

  • 1849 - sent troops to crush R. republic
  • Plombieres 1858 - aim was to keep Italy divided into fed. of states
  • V. E and C. felt betrayed at Villafranca
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  • Converted to Young Italy - 1833 involved in M's attempted rev. in Pied. - M. sentenced to death for it
  • Offered mil. service to C. A. in revs on 1848 - nobody trusted him
  • Helped defend Roman Repub. 1849
  • Invited by Cavour after Plombieres through Nat. Soc. to visit Turin
  • Important in North. Italian Wars 1859 - given Gold Medel for valour
  • Sole aim was unification - explains why wanted to include Rome and was upset about Savoy and Nice
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Victor Emmanuel II

Inspired by Risorgamento and Italian mythology

Foreign Historians - only at right place at right time to become figurehead of Nationalists


  • Appointed Cavour
  • Keener than Cav. for joining Crimea
  • Refused Cav's demands for carrying on Aust. war after Villafranca
  • Gave G. encouragement in 1860 and 1862 against Cav (1861) and parliament's (1862) wishes
  • Used rhetoric to create nationalist feelings in Italy - 'could no longer stop his ears to the cries of Italy'
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Risorgamento and Historians


  • Movement where Italy found itself - Cav, Mazz, Gari, Vic. E II
  • Rivalries between them played down as petty squables
  • Very romantic views - how Ris. was down to sacrifice of Italian people


  • Dennis Mack Smith - disagreements, not agreements between Cav. and Gari led to uni. - role of Gari in S. states forced Cav. to take action
  • More 'down to earth' than Italian historians - role of 1859 and impact of Nap. lead to uni., not Risorgamento


  • Nat. Unity not only possible outcome of struggle for independance - wasnt just wars that led to unity, but nat. feelings as well
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