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How Far Do You Agree That The Limited Appeal Of Mazzini's Ideas Was The Main Reason For The Slow Progress Of National Unity In The Years 1815 48?

1530 words - 7 pages

After the congress of Vienna in 1815 and the subsequent restoration of reactionary monarchs to the Italian states, the idea that the idea that there could be a single, united nation of Italy remained. The movement supporting a national republic grew throughout the 19th century, influenced significantly by Giuseppe Mazzini, a passionate nationalist and an extremely influential politician, founder of Italy's first political party, Young Italy. Despite his charisma and determination, his ideas are very questionable in their effectiveness in eventually securing unification. The process of unification, specifically between the Congress of Vienna and the revolutions of 1848, was undoubtedly a ...view middle of the document...

Instead, he aimed his policies at the working class peasants, who made up 80% of the population in Italy, and over 90% in poorer states such as Naples. By inspiring them to revolt, Mazzini would ensure the formation of a democratic Italy that gave equal rights to everyone. However, Mazzini was absent or in exile from Italy for over 40 years of his life, causing him to become disconnected with the people of Italy. This led to his ideas failing to gain the support from the majority of people, as he overestimated their willingness to revolt and change their circumstances. Quite simply, the governing of Italy was of little concern to most of the peasants, so there was no real reason to risk their lives in a revolution against a government over a matter that would make next to no difference to their lives if they were successful. Therefore, Mazzini's only real supporters were the small middle class that occupied the towns and cities. They found themselves to be well off and politically aware, yet almost unable to participate in politics or to make a difference to their own lives, which made them anxious for a change that would increase their power and social standing.

After the restoration of the monarchs in 1815, Italy found itself heavily under the influence of the Austrian Empire. Only in Tuscany and Parma did the government act progressively, accepting liberal ideas. Otherwise, the restored monarchs acted on the interests of the Austrian Empire, who had returned the monarchs the throne after the defeat of Napoleon. The aim of Austria, and specifically the Chancellor Prince Klemens Metternich, was to prevent another attack from the powerful French after the decade long war they had fought against them, which had cost them a lot, both economically and socially. Because of this, Metternich decided that having a buffer zone of Italian states sympathetic to the Austrian cause would prove useful, should the French decide to revive some of their expansionist ideas. A unified Italy could be bad for Austria, as if they were to ally with France, their combined power could be fatal for the Austrian Empire. To prevent this, nationalist idea were suppressed throughout Italy, with personal freedoms being heavily limited by the monarchy. Revolutions throughout Italy in 1821 and 1831 were, although after initial success, put down with ease by Austrian troops. The Austrian armies had superior numbers, organisation, supplies and training, so the poorly equipped revolutionaries stood no realistic chance against them. The Austrians found themselves battling some disorderly middle class liberals, whereas the revolutionaries found themselves facing the might of the Austrian Empire. This is without doubt one of the most important reasons for the slow progress of national unit, as it raises questions as to whether any revolutionaries stood a chance unless they were able to gain the support of the working, middle and upper classes and unite them with a clear goal....

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