Cavour's Diplomacy and Garibaldi's Ideas and Italian Unification

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Cavour's Diplomacy and Garibaldi's Ideas and Italian Unification

The historical view of Italian Unification like other revolutionary

processes of the nineteenth century has become a mix of both

exaggerated myth and fact. With hindsight historians can now detach

themselves sufficiently from events to distinguish, objectively which

figures in the Risorgimento allowed it to result in the United Kingdom

of Italy in 1870. Any historical movement is a culmination of events

and combination of different figures. Both Giuseppe Garibaldi and

Count Camillo Benso di Cavour emerge as leading figures in the

movement. Garibaldi is celebrated as a hero, a natural leader and

military genius who inspired men to follow him to the death and he has

become an admired figure in Italian History due to his inescapable

charisma. On the other hand, Cavour is distinguished from Garibaldi

and other revolutionaries of the Risorgimento, quite simply because,

at heart he was not a revolutionary at all. Cavour instead was an

astute politician and pragmatist whose great awareness and sensitivity

to changing international events, acted as the catalyst for Italian


Garibaldi is celebrated for his two main contributions to the

Risorgimento, his valiant defence of the Roman Republic in 1848 and

his Expedition to the South in 1860. Garibaldi only really emerged on

the Italian scene in 1848 when he returned from South America where he

was held in exile and never ceased to think about the liberation of

Italy[1]. Garibaldi's power and influence became obvious with his

brave resistance to Pius IX's French intervention in 1848. Although

Garibaldi was ulti...

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[9] Garibaldi - Denis Mack Smith (1969) - p.156

[10] Adriana Stiles - The Unification of Italy 1815-1870 (2001)

[11] Denis Mack Smith - Cavour (1985) - p.71

[12] Denis Mack Smith - Cavour (1985) - p.70

[13] Jasper Ridley - Garibaldi (1974) - p.635

[14] ibid

[15] Denis Mack Smith - Cavour (1985)- p.274

[16] Jasper Ridley - Garibaldi (1974) - p.435

[17] Vecchi - Garibaldi et Caprera - p.144

[18] Denis Mack Smith - Cavour and Garibaldi 1860 - A Study in

Political Conflict (1985)- p.222

[19] Ibid

[20] A.J.Whyte - The Political Life and Letters of Cavour 1848-61

(1930)- p.398

[21] William Roscoe Thayer - The Life and Times of Cavour(1911) -


[22] Session of Camera dei deputati (April 18th 1861 ) quoted in : Il

parlamento dell'unità d'Italia

- p.610-19_

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