The Italian Southern problem in the 20th Century

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The 20th Century in Italy       (go Back to the main menu of History of Italy)

The Problem of Southern Italy

The country's social conditions were marked by a strong contrast between rural and urban environments. The south saw frequent protests by the peasants over the burden of taxation (such as the notorious milling tax), while the industrial proletariat gradually organized itself into political associations and trade unions. From the latter there arose in 1892 the foundation of the Partito Socialista, partly drawn from anarchic and equalitarian movements, and then in 1896 the Democrazia Cristiana party was established, inspired by the principles in the `Rerum novarum' of Leo XIII published in 1891. The participation of the outstanding representatives of these movements to parliamentary activities greatly enlivened political debate, which had been limited in the first decades of national unity to the differences between the deputies of the old right monarchists and liberals and the left republicans and reformists.


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