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Notes on Italian unification - background and main events

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Italy and the Congress of Vienna 1815 - Napoleon had conquered Italy and rearranged it into a small number of Italian republics - To some degree, he left behind a sense of Italian nationalism in the country - Napoleon has just been defeated at Waterloo in June 1815 and was exiled to Saint Helena - Main representatives at Vienna: o Britain; represented by Lord Castlereagh o Habsburg Emperor o Russian Emperor o King of Prussia o France; represented by Talleyrand - Louis XVII is restored as King of France for the second time in 1815 after Napoleon's exile - All the leaders wanted to establish a Cordon Sanitaire on France to prevent the spreading of revolution - The decision- makers at Vienna decided to return Italy to strong dynastic rulers; o The Habsburgs were given two states of Northern Italy; Lombardy and Venetia. They had four fortresses in these two states; Mantua, Pieschiera, Legnano and Verona o Most other Northern Italian states were given to minor Habsburg rulers o Central Italy was more or less part of the Papal States; under the Pope's rule. They would support monarchial principles and be ruled as a monarchy by the Pope o In the south, Naples and Sicily were ruled by Spanish Bourbons - What were the main obstacles to Italian Unification and how were they overcome? o The territorial adjustments of Italy made by the peacemakers in Vienna were deliberately set up to hold back Italian Unification o Austria was put in the North with a great deal of power and was prepared to send troops outside their assigned territory to put down revolutions, especially between 1815 and 1848 o Austrian armies always defeated Italian armies o Count Metternich was Chancellor of the Habsburg Empire. His political system was to use secret police against revolutionaries to support Monarchial rule o Rulers, courters and often officers opposed revolutions, as they were aristocrats living in an autocratic system which they benefitted from o There was no sense of Italian Nationalism; the average person in Italy had no perception of being Italian. ...read more.


in France - At this meeting; 2 men (Cavour and Napoleon III) met secretly in July 1858 in a small town in Plombieres --> Cavour has come to the conclusion that he cannot unify Italy without international help (a foreign power is needed to achieve this, FRANCE) - Napoleon wants to help Italy, but in a non-revolutionary way - Cavour made it clear that the French garrison would remain in Rome --> for public appearances - Napoleon even proposed a French candidate for the throne of Naples --> nothing came of it - Napoleon does this for his prestige - There was to be a Kingdom of upper Italy under the house of Savoy (the Monarchy of Piedmont); Lombardy, Venetia and a small part of the Papal states would be offered to Piedmont; this was all a secret agreement between Napoleon and Cavour - There was also supposed to be a central Italian State - It is important to know that neither Cavour nor Napoleon III thought in terms of setting up a unitary Italian State and Cavour's aims were more limited to enlarging Piedmont and drive out the Austrians. France gets glory and prestige out of it - Napoleon says he wants Nice and Savoy as a form of reward for his help (not just glory) --> Cavour easily agreed to Savoy, but nice would be more difficult - Victor Emmanuel's daughter (he was King of Piedmont) was to marry Prince Napoleon (Napoleon's cousin)--> dynastic relations - They thought that at least 300, 000 troops would be necessary to defeat Austria; Napoleon thought this would be difficult because the Austrians would not give up their land easily. The Italians (Piedmont) could only offer 100, 000 troops so the French would have to offer the majority of the troops - January 1859 --> the details above become part of a secret Franco- Italian treaty. ...read more.


back on Italy because- o In 1864- the Pope had issued the Syllabus of Errors which condemned nationalism and liberalism - At the same time, the Italians had been anti-clerical (against the Church) - These feelings last until 1929 Overall Conclusions of Italian Unification 1) By enlarge Italian Unification was complete by 1870 except for some areas such as South Tyrol that were still not part of the unified Italy 2) Italy was unified as a monarchy under Piedmont 3) 1861- the capital of the New Italy had been Turin then Florence, and eventually it became Rome 4) "We have made Italy, now we must make Italians"- Massimo Dazeglio; this obstacle was never really overcome even after unification --> Particularism still existed 5) Many Italians died fighting against unification; in Naples they were still in support of the Bourbons 6) Anti-clericalism of Piedmont now was spread to the rest of Italy 7) The legacy of Cavour; New Italy should be constitutional, centralized and based on a parliamentary assembly (Mazzini did not join this assembly). Skepticism about the parliamentary assembly: a. Population of Italy was 22 million people; of those only 500, 000 could vote --> only 300, 000 actually voted --> voting was restricted to the uppermost strata of the society... could we call this true democracy? b. There were always coalition governments c. There is bargaining for power d. It is an inherently unstable system e. A lack of party development 8) There tend to be two views of Italian Unification; a. First view: a famous British historian, Denis Mack Smith said that Cavour was a man without scruple and he saw Italian Unification as a matter of political opportunism and cynicism. He believes Italian Unification is a result of chance, bargaining and calculation. He also sees tension between Cavour and Garibaldi (as a positive thing) b. Second view: that the first view itself is too cynical; there should be passion, suffering, sacrifice and glory --> its heroic and romantic NOT cynical 9) ...read more.

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