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Lecture 23

History 1401E Lecture 23: History Lecture #23-unification of italy

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Pierre Reynard

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History Lecture #23: The Age of the Nation-state Dec 2
I) The Unification of Italy
o Squarely in the middle of the 19th century
o Was seen as a rebirth
o Italy had been wealthy, important part of Europe but by 19th century
Italy had been seen as fallen by hard times
o Renaissance was born and bread in Italy, 14th-15th century, then
spread to rest to Europe
o Italy was most civilized and wealthy part in Europe a lot of the time
o Made economic growth feasible, insurance became a big thing
o Most agricultural advances came through Italy and then spread
o Italian engineers were crucial in development of rivers and weapons,
best weapons came out of northern Italy
o Italy was strategically positioned, centrally located at crossroads
between east and west
o Italy was also Rome… Rome was the capital of Christendom… Money
flowed there
o No central power, great number of states… city states very
o By 17th century, signs of decline (wealth, dynamism, importance,
power) … weakened by warfare, fell prey to larger states like France
and Spain
o Early 17th century, big economic crisis, couldn’t compete with
manufacturing bases in north western Europe
o Re-centering from Mediterranean to the Atlantic
o Rise of Austrian empire and rise of piracy
o Increasing weight of foreign presence in Italy, Spain and Austria
coming to dominate
II) Specifics
The nationalist movement of young Italy
o People starting to believe/understand the reality around the idea Italy
could be great again if it was unified
o Political fragmentation was a weakness
o Young Italy created by Mazzini, idealistic patriot
Envisioned of a liberal and democratic unified Italy (PEACE)
Once European nations were formed, there would be no reason
to fight anymore
Unification would come from a new generation
o Meant to promote the idea of unification, through the promotion of
the Italian language
o Fate of Rome is in the way of coming to the dream of unified Italy
o 1848 King of Naples was forced to grant a constitution
The Piedmont / Cavour plan
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