April 23, 2012 | | 2 Comments
Original Work by Jeffrey Hoehn
Born in Genoa in 1805, Mazzini would be known as one of the most influential Italian leaders in nationalism leading to the unification of Italy. Mazzini began his studies of law in Genoa, and earned his degree in law at the university there and began his life as a revolutionary. He started to become affiliated with the Carbonari group, which was instrumental in applying force in certain areas to spark a revolution. However, he was soon forced to flee to France after he was exposed in affiliating with the Carbonari and ended up in France. While in France, Mazzini founded his most influential cause to the Italian revolution, Young Italy. Mazzini actually conducted this group from abroad in France. Young Italy was a specific group consisting of liberal intellectuals vying for a strong central government after Italian unification. This group amassed 50,00 to 60,00 Italian in size, and lasted roughly two decades. Also while abroad, he called for the removal of Austrian influence in Italy, an end to the pope’s temporal power over the Papal States, and the creation of a republican national government.
Mazzini did not return to Italy until April of 1848. Still holding fast to his revolutionary ideas, he supported King Charles Albert of Piedmont-Sardinia against the Austrian monarch. However, this revolution failed, and he relocated to Rome where Mazzini was eventually named as the “triumvr” of the first republic of Rome. Similarly, this was short-lived as French troops overran Rome to restore the Pope’s power. Mazzini was once again forced to flee Italy this time landing in Switzerland. His influence in unification was never really the same again. The Mazzini cause was crushed Mantua and Milan, and when he found himself again in Italy in 1856 his revolutions were crushed. After this attempt, Mazzini was reduced to an onlooker than an active role. However, his role in Italian unification was considerable as it appeared in some of the laws passed by the eventual Roman Republic such as : universal manhood suffrage, instituted government control over clerical salaries, and political clubs designed to support the common man. Although he never saw the democratic republic Italy would become in his lifetime, Italy became a unified nation under a institutionalized monarch. At the very least, Mazzini saw his Italians hold a single country to call home.
Sources: The West: A Narrative History Second Edition by Frankforter and Spellman.