• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far does the North South divide in Italy explain the weaknesses of the Liberal State in the years 1896-1914?

Extracts from this document...


How far does the North South divide in Italy explain the weaknesses of the Liberal State in the years 1896-1914 It is clear that the North South divide was a key reason for the weaknesses of the Liberal State in the years 1896 to1914. However, there are many other factors which affected the stability of the Liberal state such as weaknesses in Italian parliamentary government, opposition groups and the emergence of nationalist politics. In the years 1896 to 1914 the north and south of Italy were completely divergent, with the main difference being in the development of their respective economies. The fertile plains of northern Italy had an increasing number of prosperous farms using modern methods such as mechanised tools, fertilisers and irrigation schemes which made farming more efficient. In addition it was an area of diverse and profitable agriculture with crops such as grapes rice olives and maize alongside dairy farming. Furthermore, in this region the days of the subsistence peasant farmer growing food largely to feed the family were over. Farms run by capitalist tenant famers employing landless farm labourers on short contracts became the norm. ...read more.


A further factor which contributed to the weakness of the Liberal state was as a result of inherent weaknesses in the Liberal system and Italian parliamentary government. Italian politics was the preserve of a minority; the educated middle class man. A major weakness of the Liberal government was the fact that they were not prepared to work with ordinary Italians until they were "made" in the Liberal image. They were a minority government wary and opposed to the population at large. A further reason for the unsuitability of the Liberal state was that a gulf existed between legal Italy and real Italy. The majority knew little of what went on beyond their villages. The limited suffrage meant most Italians were uninvolved in the new state apart from paying taxes and being conscripted to the army. Even in 1900 the high property qualification required before men could vote meant that only one man in fifteen had the vote thus hindering loyalty. An additional reason for the weaknesses of the Liberal state was that Liberal policies failed on the whole to solve Italy's pressing economic problems. ...read more.


The emergence of these new political groups all appealing in different ways to a new mass electorate meant that the liberal system of coalition politics based on narrow class interests and revolving around a few well know individuals became very difficult to sustain. Therefore, to conclude it is clear that the north south divide clearly played a major role in the instability of the Liberal state as it did not allow for Italy to progress as a united country, so hampered economic progression. However, the north south divide although important does not appear to be the main reason for the weaknesses of the Liberal State. The weaknesses of the Liberal state was due to a culmination of factors such as opposition groups and the emergence of nationalist politics with the main reason being inherent weaknesses in Italian parliamentary government. The weakness of the Liberal state was due to fundamental flaws within the Liberal system of government. Liberal politicians represented a narrow educated elite and their quarelling led to frequent changes in governement. A government unprepared to accept change and work with the people, for the good of the people was unlikely to succeed. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. To what extent was the Italian Liberal state unstable in the years 1896 ...

    The introduction of the wider suffrage had encouraged the emergence of Catholic groups dedicated to helping the poor Catholic peasantry. Governments during the Giolittian era had granted monies to southern provinces to improve irrigation and the supply of drinking waters.

  2. Free essay

    To what extent had Liberal Italy satisfied the needs of Italians by 1914?

    However, the Church had a new enemy in the Socialist party. Socialists rejected religion in itself, and in 1904 the Pope authorised bishops to advise Catholics to vote in elections if it helped to defeat the Socialists. In an attempt to get Italians to recognise with the state, Giolitti passed laws to assist them.

  1. How Secure was Liberal Italy in 1914?

    linked by roads and railways and making interaction between all areas of the country possible. This growing unity even meant that the Italian language had become a lingua franca. This was a language used for communication between people of different mother tongues, and was therefore spoken by people in the army and towns when trading.

  2. How effectively did Irish Catholic and Nationalist leaders advance their cause in the years ...

    The death of innocent people was clearly not popular, and one could argue that both Fenian rescue plans did little to actually advance their cause for Nationalism other than raising awareness. However, William Gladstone, leader of the Liberal party decided that he would make it his task to 'pacify Ireland'.

  1. How far does the North-South divide explain the weaknesses of the liberal state in ...

    National unity was another weakness evident within the liberal state. Cultural identity in Italy leading up to 1914 was limited because it lacked generalization and a consensus. The weakness in Culture was manifested by the general lack of social acceptance of the liberal state, as before the unification of Italy, each individual state had separate languages and customs.

  2. How far do you agree that the limited appeal of Mazzini's ideas was the ...

    The peasants only learnt things through what they listened from the church and so meant that the Church had a big influence in the peasant?s life. This made it easy for the Church and the Pope to slow the progress of national unity as they only told the peasants what they wanted to tell them.

  1. How successful were Italian leaders at dealing with Italys problems 1896-1914?

    Giolitti was also left with little success, failing to promote any assertive foreign policies which would later spur the nationalist movement, and failing to build Italy?s empire despite the invasion of Libya, which while was technically a success, resulted in several Italian casualties and long term instability.

  2. How far does the North-South divide in Italy explain the weakness of the Liberal ...

    The strongest factor that explains the weakness of the Liberal State was political instability. Despite the government being named as ?Liberal?, in reality suffrage was extremely limited with only 2 percent of the population initially being able to vote. While this would have technically not presented a major problem for

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work