Making Italians in 1861 Essay

Making Italians in 1861 Essay

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Making Italians in 1861

According to Robson, if governments had succeeded in ‘making
Italians’, then Italy would have been made up of hardworking and
patriotic citizens that were respectful of both the political and
social order. This would be a challenging task for anyone as after
the creation of Italy in 1861, many people were still very bitter
about being forced into such an unnatural unification and this
resentment towards the government and each other was bound to lead to
problems. In 1861, literacy rates were low, most were uneducated, and
the church still had an impressive stronghold over peoples actions and
opinions, thus suggesting that the so called ‘Italians’ were somewhat
ignorant and that they therefore could not be described as
‘hardworking’. Also, apart from criminal gangs such as the Carbonari,
there were no national institutions, which would have made it
extremely tough to establish feelings of patriotism, and much more
likely that people would become parochial and fixated with issues in
their own local communities. Finally, as shown by the riots in Sicily
throughout the 1860s, Italy was far from being a nation respected by
its people, and it would take time for their confidence in society and
the government to be restored. The question is to what extent over
the next one hundred years did the liberal, fascist, and Christian
Democrat governments manage to turn the situation around and make

Clark argues that all through the liberal period, the Italian people
were industrious and diligent and they did reap the rewards of this
extra effort. For example, industry was flourishing in the north and

... middle of paper ...

...r and work towards a mutual goal. However, as many did not see
fascism as their goal, Mussolini was not truly victorious at making
hardworking, patriotic citizens that were respectful of the political
and social order. It was ultimately during the Christian democrat
reign that most traces of rebellion, idleness, and parochial
tendencies disappeared, and the pace of change from Italian people to
‘Italians‘ really quickened. The main problem with this, is the
length of time it took. If the individuals of Italy were ever going
to become complete Italians, then it should have been easier to
achieve, whereas it actually took about one hundred years. Therefore
perhaps this suggests that all of the political upheaval and
controversy throughout this era essentially inhibited this natural
process rather than encouraging it.

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