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How far had the Liberal Governments of Italy gone to solve Italy's problems by 1914?

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Introduction

How far had the Liberal Governments of Italy gone to solve Italy's problems by 1914? The formation of "Italy" in 1870 saw the birth of a nation and the start of its struggle against the odds; a succession of Liberal Governments had the task of steering them through the stormy weather. When the state of "Italy" was formed it faced many problems these can be put into 5 separate problems, however they were all interlocking. In this piece I will explore the many problems faced by Italy and look at the great stride forwards made by the Liberal Governments of Italy to reduce their effects. First we have to define the notion of the Italian Liberal Governments, by definition they should pursue the 19th century ideology associated with strong support for a broad interpretation of civil liberties for freedom of expression and religious toleration, for widespread popular participation in the political process, and for the repeal of protectionist legal restrictions inhibiting the operation of a capitalist, free market economy. Or to put it simply take the middle road on most issues, encourage people to vote and breed an atmosphere of tolerance. The Liberal Italian governments knew that the vast majority of Italians were not loyal to any all Italy state there was a culture of "localism" in which people were far more ready to fight for their town than any national government headed by people based 150 miles away. There was the problem of dialects and communication problems, only 2% of the population actually spoke Italian the others spoke languages from their region. ...read more.

Middle

However in 1911 they fought Turkey and won the country of Libya, this was seen by some as a defining moment and the start of Italian greatness others saw it as a pointless war in which Italians died. Also, the fact that Austria-Hungary still held the Italia Irrendenta was a matter of national humiliation on the part of Italians and especially amongst the newly formed Nationalists. The political landscape of Italy had changed over the period since Unification and it had split to two extremes, you had the Left-Wing Socialists and the Right-Wing Nationalists. This meant a polarisation in government, in the press and amongst the people. The Liberals still had the majority of support in elections but the socialists gained support from disgruntled workers and the Nationalists enjoyed the votes of the influential wealthy middle and upper classes. These splits in political persuasion saw more and more alienation between the government and the people and the people themselves were polarising and isolating themselves into different groups. However, the fact that a Nationalist movement had grown up meant that The government continued to try and please everyone and in doing so pleased no one. The relationship between unions, workers and peasants is a prime example. In industrial disputes the government, under Giolitti took a neutral stance; this was an improvement on the former policy of siding with the factory workers and sending in the army, however it did little to improve the workers view of the government. The government did instigate one rest day per week for all workers and brought in legislation to lower taxes on food and provide anti-malaria drugs, free of charge to areas affected by the disease. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude the Liberal government endeavoured to solve the problems it found itself with after Unification, however the problems were too much for the government to fulfil its own mandate and promises to the people. A newly formed state such as Italy could not solve the problems it faced in just 50 years. The comparison between it and Britain is a little unfair as Britain as a collection of states had been formed for over 300 years. The Liberal governments did almost the best any government with its ideals could of, and its political persuasion does to some extent have an effect on its handling of Italy's problems. A far right government may have been quicker to quash socialist upsurge, and it may well have gone to war a lot sooner than the liberals did. A government verging to the left may have insisted the landowners redistribute the land and they may have put more money into education schemes. The problems of Italy were of course not solved but the problems of any country are never solved. The overriding theme of the Liberal governments was not to intervene too much but not at the expense of leaving things to fall apart. The ideal of this kind of politics is A Third Way, in which you please enough people enough of the time to form effective government. The Liberal Governments grew Italy into a country in its own right, but did they leave enough of their own problems for it to be susceptible to extremists? 1 'Fascist Italy' John Hite and Chris Hinton Martin Fox Ridley12 26.09.'02 ...read more.

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