Italian Unification

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Before 1860 Italy was a collection of independent states controlled by other European powers or the rich noble families of the region. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the Congress of Vienna split Italy into eight independent states with major influences from the surrounding powers of Spain, France and especially Austria. Uprisings against the state governments swept the country, but were suppressed by the Habsbergs1 in Northern Italy. This however, was soon to change. Giuseppe Mazzini, Count Camilo Benso Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi organized and inspired the people of Italy to unite and support a solid constitution which was not only key to unification but gave long term stability to Italy.
Giuseppe Mazzini, often called “the beating heart of Italy” was the son of a doctor from Genoa in northern Italy. Early on he joined the occasionally violent Italian secret society, the Carbonari, where he developed his political aptitude. The Carbonari was instrumental in creating tensione in certain areas to spark a revolution. However soon it was exposed that Mazzini was affiliated with them, and so he was forced to flee to France. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because he inspired one of the biggest movements in the process of unification, La Giovane Italia from his apartment in Marseille. La Giovane Italia, (or Young Italy), was a brotherhood of Italians who strongly believed in progress and duty, with the goal of eventual Italian Unification.2 . At a time when many, including the Austrian minister Metternich said that “Italy is merely a geographical expression” due to the Italian peninsula being politically constituted of a patchwork of historically established aristocratic and clerical states. La Giovane Italia tot...

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...public pg. 74) 9 (Garibaldi: Great Lives Observed, edited by Denis Mack Smith pg. 108)10 (LiPira, Benedict S. Giuseppe Garibaldi: A Biography of the Father of Modern Italy pg. 203) (G. M. Trevelyan, Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic, Longmans, London (1907) p. 227) 12 (Mouritsen, Henrik. Italian Unification: A Study in Ancient and Modern Historiography. pg. 120)13 (Smith, Dean. "General History." General History. Italian History pg. 421) 14 (Camillo Benso, The Writings of Cavour, pg. 355)15 (Mouritsen, Henrik. Italian Unification: A Study in Ancient and Modern Historiography. pg. 198)16 (Smith, Dean. "General History." General History. Italian History pg. 443)17 (Lo Statuo Albertino. By Charles Albert Of Sardinia. 1848. Print.) 18 (World Atlas. "Italian Unification." Map. Mappe Di Cittá Ed Altre Mappe Antiche Diverse. 1870.)19 (Mouritsen, Henrik. 1959)
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