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How likely was Italian Unification before 1848?

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How likely was Italian Unification before 1848? Plan Unlikely Vienna Treaty Revolutions Localised Austrian Army influence Mistrust of Working class, not MASS revolutions Lower classes welcome back monarchy Lack of national co-ordination Intellectuals - no agreement and inaccessibility No agreement on state format between political groups, liberals, radicals Secret organisations, structure, social representation Likely New moderate pope-Gioberti Charles Albert? Even a federation seemed along way off Emergence of Piedmont The areas that encompass modern day Italy after 1815 and the treaty of Vienna were a series of states mostly, either directly or indirectly, under the control of Austria and the fearsome Austrian chancellor Metternich. Unification of the States in any form before 1848 was seen by many as a distant dream and by many more as an undesirable change. Austrian influence within Italy was huge; Austrians directly governed three states and controlled many others. The Vienna treaty in 1815 had established Austrian control of many of the states. The drive for restoration of 'legitimate' monarchs started by the French had resulted in all of the states taking back their monarchs or their monarch's descendants. Many of these dismissed many of the economic, judicial and constitutional reforms introduced by the previous French rulers and imposed extremely strict, absolutist and reactionary measures. ...read more.


There was no unified voice from the thinkers that the population could unite under and crucially no leadership. The academics were "too intellectual, too idealist and too impractical to be a real basis for revolution." Italy had a strong history of secret organisations many of which were set up in the period of French rule, the most famous and largest of which was the Carbonari. These organisations simply believed that the French occupiers had been replaced by the Austrians and through a series of actions they should try and drive these out. The Secret societies membership soared during the periods of revolution but as a rule membership was restricted to the middle classes and the upper landed classes. The Carbonari and other organisations used their power to try and force minor concessions such as the introduction of constitutions. The Secret societies, although a force to be reckoned with, were disjointed and few within their ranks saw unification as the primary objective of their cause. The secret societies therefore did not increase the likeliness of Italian unification up to 1848. In the period before 1848 there was little inclusion of the huge majority of the middle classes. They were effectively banned from the secret societies; the nationalistic literature of Mazzini and the like were beyond most intellectuals let alone the uneducated working classes. ...read more.


He was a dithery man who changed his mind frequently. He flirted with revolutionaries and when the present king abdicates and the first in line dies before crowning he takes the crown. Although an outward liberal before he was crowned he granted few concessions, such as a constitution, once in power and abandoned his liberal beliefs. The fact that Nationalists were pinning their hopes on a figure that historians have proven was weak willed, of dubious moral disposition and changed his mind so habitually it was difficult to keep informed of his current viewpoint highlights the lack of power and credibility the nationalist movement had before 1848. It must have seemed very unlikely that the Italian states would become unified in the period to 1848. Many obstacles faced the Italian Nationalists and little was going to be done under Metternich's nose. A mass revolution that encompassed all areas of society seemed a distant dream and the revolutions that preceded the 1848 date had highlighted both this and the lack of Italian wide cooperation. There was a clear lack of leadership whether it be Mazzini or Charles Albert and conflicting approaches to unification. The only possible leader was the Pope at the head of a mere federation. Most of all unification was simply unappealing to the masses of lower class population who really had few other interests apart from feeding their families. ...read more.

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