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'We have made Italy, now we must make Italians' How successful had the Liberal Government been in creating a united and prosperous Italy by 1914

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Introduction

Assessment Task 1: 'We have made Italy, now we must make Italians' How successful had the Liberal Government been in creating a united and prosperous Italy by 1914 The Liberals had achieved some successes by 1914. The Liberals had held Italy together for 40 years; they had to be doing something right. They had provided education to the masses (adult illiteracy in the north had fallen from 42.1% in 1871 to 11% in 1911) and exerted control over the industrialisation of the country. Opportunities created had pulled the majority of Italians from poverty that had hindered them for generations before 1914. Unemployment in the south had been greatly reduced and wages improved as a result. Giolitti (either as Prime Minister, or from behind the scenes) had supported co-operatives and other working classes into passing new laws and legislation to improve working conditions and lower food taxes. Giolitti had also introduced international male suffrage for those over thirty in 1912. Giolitti had achieved great support and admiration. However the government still faced problems. Italy was still a backward and disunited state. There was a large gap in the north-south equality issue. By 1911 adult illiteracy in the north was 11% compared to 65.3% in the south. ...read more.

Middle

The Catholic Church in Italy was a very powerful body. The Pope (Head of church) had been the ruler of the Papal States covering much of central Italy. However, between 1861 and 1870 when the Kingdom of Italy was created, most of his land was taken from him. He was left with the area around St. Peter's Church in Rome, known as the Vatican City. The rift between the Church and the state was a major problem for the Liberal State. In 1874 the Pope instructed all Catholics not to take part in the new state by, for example, not voting. By 1914, however, there had been a reduction in State-Church hostility. The Pope had become worried at the rise of Socialism and by 1904 authorised bishops to advise Catholics to vote in order to help defeat the Socialists. The Marxist Socialists not only criticised the power of the Church but also rejected religion (atheists.) In the 1890s, the Socialist Party (PSI) had built a base in the northern industrial towns. It was formed through the unity of trade unions, under the development of industry in the north. The moderates wanted peaceful reform whereby living standards would be improved. ...read more.

Conclusion

Within a few days the strikes collapsed and Giolitti's decision seemed justified. Unfortunately at the same time he angered the industrialists who saw his government as being too sympathetic to workers. Many so a more authoritarian government as a better way forward. Relations with the Vatican remained tense. Giolitti also managed to win some Catholic support. He dropped a law allowing divorce and stood up for the rights of Catholic schools. Giolitti had also managed to gain support from the Nationalists by agreeing to attack Libya. However, many Italians resented the war. They were conscripted and had to pay higher taxes in order to pay for the war. Whilst the war won support of the right it strengthened radical Socialist's criticisms of Giolitti and trasformismo. By 1914 the government had succeeded in some areas, but the failures outweighed these. The government had won support of some Nationalists by attacking Libya and Catholics by standing up for the rights for Catholic schools. However the war on Libya upset many Italians as they resented war. Industrialists were upset as concessions were made to workers, there was still unrest amongst the majority of Italy ('Risorgimento' hadn't been achieved.) The general believe was a more authoritarian government was need to pull Italy from its problems to make the nation great and statistically equal to other major European powers. Sam Coleman AS HISTORY 1 1 ...read more.

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