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Why was Piedmont able to play an increasingly dominant role in the movement towards unification in Italy in the period up to 1857?

  • Essay length: 1408 words
  • Submitted: 20/07/2007
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AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945

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Sehaj Lamba L6 Mr Gray

Why was Piedmont able to play an increasingly dominant role in the movement towards unification in Italy in the period up to 1857?

The formally known 'poor and backward state of Piedmont' became the strongest and most imperative of the Italian states and was consequently able to put itself and its king on the top of a newfound united Italy by 1860. A number of reasons were contributing to Piedmont's increasing dominant role in the period up to 1857, particularly the role and achievements of Cavour which introduced modernisation and brought improved economy to Italy and the role of Victor Emmanuel 2nd in the Crimean War.

Cavour was a liberal and firm believer in political progression, which meant that an increasing number of citizens should hold a share in power. His call for a constitution in 1847 exemplified his strong opposition to the principle of autocracy and simultaneously his support of anti-clerical legislation showed his opposition to the church holding power. Cavour was in fear of democracy and rather supported a 'middle way', favouring social reform. He was also in favour of free trade and railway development in Italy

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