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"His contribution to the cause of Italian unification was negligible." How valid is this assessment of Mazzini.

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Introduction

Michaeljohn Kalakoutis IB History HL Mr. Hengstler December 11, 2005 "His contribution to the cause of Italian unification was negligible." How valid is this assessment of Mazzini. Giuseppe Mazzini, the founder of the revolutionary party, "Young Italy" during the build up to the Italian unification, is regarded through different perspectives. Mazzini is considered by some historians to be an idealistic, intellectual man, but by many Italian historians as "nothing by a terrorist" (page 18). These two antithetic opinions on Mazzini, define whether his contribution to the cause of Italian unification was in fact negligible or not. Mazzini was an intellectual man, whose political opinions were of much controversy and whose actions raise question marks over his motives and his significance in the unification of Italy. Giuseppe Mazzini's contrasting opinions on important matters such as the Monarchy, the Catholic Church and Christianity and the People greatly affected his influence and popularity in Italy, as well as people's opinions of himself. ...read more.

Middle

Mazzini preached that Christianity should be replaced by democracy and that God was no longer speaking through the scriptures of the Church, but through the people of Italy. Thus, God's will was what the people wanted, which was national independence and unity and is the reason Giuseppe founded "Young Italy." Mazzini's main weakness was the lack of support for his secret society, "Young Italy" which was mainly due to his lack of understanding of the peasants' needs. The peasants, making up 80-90% of the population of Italy would have turned Mazzini's "Young Italy" movement from a minority support based revolutionary party, to a popularly supported political party. As Mazzini did not regard the peasants of much importance, it is little wonder why he was widely regarded by many as an anti-revolutionary by the general population of Italians. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps the only consolation Mazzini has of his fruitless efforts to supposedly unite Italy, is that he identified the reason why no Italian revolutions had succeeded. Unity and cooperation amongst the Italian revolutionary parties. "Young Italy is Unitarian because without unity there is no true nation." (Page 15) Mazzini identified the point of weakness in the failed attempts of Italian revolutionaries however he was never once successful in his own efforts, which is why his motives and actions are a topic of debate amongst historians. Mazzini's tendency to contradict himself, for instance by opposing the Monarchy yet requesting to work in collaboration with the Monarch, justifies certain views that Mazzini was a nuisance to the bid for Italian Unification. Giuseppe Mazzini can be considered a "dangerous enemy of free and united Italy" (page 17) whom had made "frantic efforts to keep the country divided," (page 17) and his contributions to the cause of Italian unification can be considered negligible. ...read more.

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