Cavour and Italian Unification

Classic Pamphlet

By H. Hearder, published 19th July 2011

The Italian Question

It may seem a little perverse to write a pamphlet on Cavour in 1972, the centenary year of the death of Mazzini, but no doubt there will be more than one publication on Mazzini to mark the occasion. To pretend that the two men had much in common would be absurd. Even to say that they both worked to secure the independence of Italy is to play with words, since Mazzini worked for a revolution which would immediately obtain full democracy for all the peoples of the Italian peninsular, while Cavour aimed at the expansion of Piedmont into an efficient, industrialised, Italian state, a state in which a limited ruling class of responsible, educated men would start the comparatively slow process of creating free institutions and a prosperous, secular, but still hierarchical community. Both men saw the Italian question in an international context, but while for Mazzini it was the context of a European revolution against monarchical regimes and the Church, for Cavour it was the context of the power game between governments, and expanding trade relations...

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