Why was Italy not unified after the Congress of Vienna (1815)?

633 Words2 Pages

Before the Congress of Vienna the French occupation had far reaching affects on Italy. The power of the Church and the Pope was reduced, changes were made in landownership and land was redistributed. A new middle class began to appear. Agriculture was improved and the peasants were freed from their old feudal ties and obligations. Then when Napoleon was defeated and the restoration of the old regime and monarchs was started, Italy again became a country divided into eleven independent states, excluding the tiny principalities and the Republic of San Marino. So Italy was not unified after the Congress of Vienna due to a number of reasons, such as the foreign influence of the Central European Powers, parochialism within the states, the lack of a common language and a strong economy coupled with the poor geography that separated Italy from itself and the rest of Europe.

One of the major factors that contributed to Italy not being unified after the congress of Vienna was the impact of foreign influence. Before the restoration of the old regime in Italy state boundaries were rearranged a number of times, ending up with a division of the peninsula into only three parts instead of eleven states. One third, including Piedmont, was annexed to France, one third became the Kingdom of Italy, and Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, as the Kingdom of Naples, ruled the remainder. Yet at the restoration of the old regime in Italy after the Congress of Vienna, the Pope was among those who regained their positions. During the Napoleonic occupation successive Popes had been taken into exile in France, and the temporal power of the Pope as ruler of an Italian state had been declared at an end. But when the Pope returned he was intent on restoring temporal, as well as spiritual, control. The Papal States were divided into seventeen provinces, five of which were under the authority of Papal Legates, or Cardinals, who acted as provincial governors. The remainder, which were nearer Rome, were controlled by priests known as Delegates. The whole administration of the Papal States was in the hands of the clergy. The lay people had no part in government, apart from a few lay members of advisory bodies called ‘congregations’. Politically, Italy was fragmented. Further, half the states were governed by kings or dukes who already occupied or hoped soon to inherit the thrones of the non-Italian countries.

Open Document