The Risorgimento in Italy

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The Advent of the Monarchy                                             (go Back to the main menu of History of Italy)

But the seeds of liberty and change had been sown in Italy above all with the First Napoleonic Campaign and a sense of national unity had been aroused by the establishment of first republican structures and then the Kingdom of Italy. These, united to the administrative and judicial reforms extended from France into Italy (especially the introduction of the Code Napol?n), began to take root despite the restoration. Support came from the intellectual and middle-classes in all the Italian States and from numerous patriotic associations, often working in secret (as the `Young Italy', of Giuseppe Mazzini) but profoundly influencing society. The demand for freer and more democratic institutions, the frequency of episodes of insurrection stretching from Piedmont to Sicily but above all the concession of the Spanish constitution forced the Italian rulers (from Carlo Alberto to Leopoldo II and from Ferdinando II to Pius IX) to follow suit also during 1848. A year that was rich in events and innovations not only for Italy but also for the rest of Europe with the revolutions in Paris and Vienna.
Encouraged by the uprisings of Milan and Venice, the king of Sardinia Carlo Alberto intervened in 1848 against Austria with the help of volunteers from various parts of Italy and the regular armies of the pope and Naples. But the sudden defection of the latter two destroyed at birth what had seemed an aspiration already realized. A second attempt by the same Carlo Alberto failed the following year at Novara and he was forced to abdicate in favour of Vittorio Emanuele II. Meanwhile Rome was living with Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi a short republican season, like Tuscany, Sicily and Venice, before the French and Austrian troops intervened to restore the deposed rulers who reacted by revoking the constitutions conceded the previous year.




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