IB History: Italian Unification Study Guide

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Describe the state of political affairs in Italy in the 1850s. How did Piedmont differ from the other Italian states?
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During the 1850s, the political affairs within Italy were in disarray as a result of the 1848 revolutions. Once the counterrevolution to the 1848 revolutions took place, Vienna became an independent republic and Tuscany became a republic as well. Therefore, a majority of the 1850s was spent re-establishing the old order. In 1858 Lombardy faced numerous domestic issues as the people were being treated poorly. In Piedmont, Victor Emmanuel had recently become King, taking over for Charles Albert. Additionally, Cavour furthered the Italian question by sending Piedmontese troops to the Crimean war and in 1858 confirmed the first official foreign aid from France. Unlike the other Italian states, Piedmont was a powerful force that was actively pursuing Italian unification rather than being limited by internal political affairs. Piedmont was also the only Italian state to have a natively Italian ruler, from the House of Savoy, which made them an ideal candidate for Italian unification.
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Explain the background and nature of the movement for national unification in Italy.What role had Mazzini played? What had happened in 1848 to the unification movement?
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The nature for the movement of national unification in Italy was a power struggle focusing on Piedmont wanting to be the dominant ruler, domestic problems within Italy, motivation for unification from Mazzini’s writings, and Cavour’s interest in an economic unity of Italy. Mazzini’s role was that his writings prompted the movement. In 1848 regarding the unification movement, Italians learned that the movement was impossible without foreign aid, Sardinia was identified as the leader, and Sardinia was also granted a constitution.
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Explain the political, economic, and social views of Cavour. How did he differ from Mazzini in his program for Italian Unification?
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Cavour was a constitutional monarchist who was the prime minister of Piedmont. He was a shrewd political tactician who tried to make Piedmont a state that other Italians would admire. He did not like war, but was willing to join the Crimean War in order to unify Italy. Cavour also favored the improvement of railroads and agriculture and the emancipation of trade, while practising a strong anti-clerical policy. He was a liberal and followed a politics of reality; he did not like republicans, but was willing to work with them. Cavour differed greatly from Mazzini, who was a romantic republican and thought of nationalism and unifying Italy as almost a holy cause. He believed that it was man’s duty to unite Italy, where as Cavour thought of unifying Italy as something that should be done to strengthen it under the House of Savoy. Cavour also took a more military approach to unifying the nations, while Mazzini wrote books and told people it was their duty.
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How did Cavour react to Garibaldi’s success? What was the status of unification in 1861?
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Cavour was afraid of Garibaldi’s success. Garibaldi’s radical ideas of guerilla warfare and democracy were a potential threat to the House of Savoy. Garibaldi’s invasion of the Papal State could have created an incident, so Cavour had to intervene. In 1860 unification was mostly done. Sardinia-Piedmont controlled most of the peninsula. Lombardy, Parma, Modena, Tuscany, Sicily, Naples, and most of the Papal States were in their control. The two main exceptions were Venetia and Rome.
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What were the causes of the 1848 revolutions?
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Causes leading to the 1848 Revolution include many factors that added on top of each other which eventually resulted in a revision for Italy. Poverty among peasants was widespread and hunger was rapidly spreading along with inflation that lead to multiple demonstrations. Nationalistic ideas surfaced throughout Italy in order to motivate more Italians to represent themselves (followed ideas such as Mazzini displayed in his writing). The Old Regime was in question as well because the public was seeking a more liberal government to follow because the Italian monarchy was already failing since it favored aristocracy, and it order to create unity all classes had to be in favour. Due to the controversial opinions on what was the right way to live/rule the revolutions began.
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“In Italy there was a widespread desire for a liberal national state in which all Italy might be included.”
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I do not agree with this quote entirely, though it is partially true. There was a widespread desire for unification among republicans and liberals, however, they all had different motives driving their push for unity. Some wanted it for economic reasons, and others social reasons. The majority of lower class Italians, though, did not even know what was going on because they had more important things to focus on, like farming. They had probably never heard of Garibaldi or the revolutions going on, so while some pushed for unity, many weren’t involved at all.
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“Italy was united by the long high-minded apostolate of Mazzini, the audacity of Garibaldi, the cold policy of Cavour, war and insurrection, and armed violence endorsed by popular vote.”
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I do agree with most of the quote. Mazzini provided the idea of a unified Italy. Cavour’s diplomatic skills certainly helped. Cavour worked with the French and the Prussians to defeat Austria for him and annex more land. He also negotiated with merchants in many of the northern Italian states to stage uprisings to join Sardinia-Piedmont. Garibaldi’s role was in adding Sicily and Naples. He did this through untraditional means; guerilla warfare and peasant uprisings. Although “armed violence endorsed by popular vote” does not make sense. Armed violence was incited in many Italian States, but the country ultimately formed a monarchy.
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Risorgimento
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The Risorgimento was a resurgence of Rome by the Italian people. Ultimately, the Risorgimento movement resulted in the unification of Italy. Furthermore, Risorgimento was significant in its rousing of national sentiment, although the extent to which nationalism was spurred by the resurgence is widely disputed.
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Mazzini
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Mazzini was an Italian patriot who worked at unifying Italy and making it more independent under a republican government. He believed that the nation owed a duty to family and to God. He was significant because his writings prompted the movement for unification and showed people how to be a patriot. Mazzini was also significant because his radicalism and republicanism scared off the Pope from wanting to support italian unification.
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Garibaldi
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Garibaldi was a Piedmontese republican who wanted to unify Italy. He gathered 1,150 followers (called Garibaldi’s Thousand or Red Shirts) who marched with him to the South to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, effectively collapsing the already weak and corrupt government. Open elections were held and by popular vote Sicily joined with Piedmont, many nations soon following, forming the Kingdom of Italy. Garibaldi was extremely significant as Italy may never have been united if it weren’t for his work and his ability to spread the feeling of unification.
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Pope Pius IX
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Pope Pius IX was the last pope to rule the Papal States, before being confined to the Vatican after the Italian Unification. He was considered at the time to be a liberal pope, who passed many reforms. He turned down the Kingdom of Sardinia asking for help because he did not want to fight Austria, one of Europe’s most powerful Catholic countries.
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Charles Albert
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He was King of Piedmont, Sardinia during 1831-1849. He was active during the period of the Risorgimento and followed under nationalistic, liberal, and anti-austrian ideas. He increased economic and social development and participated in the revolutions of 1848 against Austria. He was a popular liberal ruler that believed in the Unification of Italy. His power came to end after his defeat against Austrian forces.
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Victor Emmanuel II
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Victor Emmanuel II became the King of Sardinia after his father, Charles Albert. In fact, Emmanuel was the last King of Piedmont-Sardinia and the first King of the unified Italy. Alongside Emmanuel’s secret support of Garibaldi’s Sicily and Naples conquest, the King played a significant role towards the end of the fight for Italian Unification by leading the Piedmontese army into the Papal States to meet Garibaldi. By joining Garibaldi in the Papal states, the monarchy was maintained which was significant since Garibaldi acknowledged this although not all of his followers approved of the monarchy still being in charge.
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Congress of Vienna
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The Congress of Vienna was a meeting of Europe’s major powers in 1814-1815 that worked to reorganize Europe after the Napoleonic wars through a treaty. Additionally, it was a group of conservatives wanting to restore/maintain the Old Order as it existed prior to the French Revolution. The most important statesmen from all over Europe went as representatives and they discussed problems throughout Europe. The main powers were Austria, Britain, Prussia, France, and Russia. Some of the main things resolved by the Congress of Vienna was boundary lines and the idea of a balance of power. This was all significant because after the Napoleonic wars Europe had been in chaos and this helped to restore it.
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Balance of Power System
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After the French Revolution, the major powers wanted to prevent another Napoleon-like takeover of Europe, creating the Congress of Vienna with the hopes of preventing just that. The significance of the balance of power system was it was what prompted nations to fight against each other to keep them from obtaining too much power. It was a way for the countries to keep each other in check. It was also why many nation’s leaders relentlessly put down revolutionary ideas, so that they can keep the old system and way of things.
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Metternich
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Metternich was an Austrian diplomat and their main negotiator at the Congress of Vienna. He created the Carlsbad Decrees, which suppressed liberal and nationalist movements within the German Confederation. He was a conservative and disliked liberal movements; and prefered to keep the Old Order intact. As a main negotiator during the Congress of Vienna he was able to create decades of peace and conservative dominance following the conference.
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Concert of Europe
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A system of alliances during 1814-1914 that included the United Kingdom, Austria, Russia, Prussia, and later France. The objective was to create a balance of powers throughout Europe, keep the agreements of the Congress of Vienna in tact, gain control of France after Napoleon, and prevent dictatorship. Some of their achievements included helping increase in independence in Belgium,Greece, and Syria.
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Monarchists
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A monarchist is an individual who supports the monarchy and possibly a specific monarch as well. In terms of the Italian unification, monarchists would have opposed the revolution in its attempts to overthrow the government during the 1848 revolutions. Specifically, monarchists would have approved of Victor Emmanuel II and Charles Albert which opposed the common nationalistic perspective.
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Frederick William IV
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Frederick William IV was the king of Prussia from 1840-1861. He opposed the 19th centuries political ideas and the origin of the French Revolution. He was significant because he had very conservative ideas that helped lead to the Revolution of 1848. He also let his soldiers create the first all-Prussian legislative assembly. This led to the people realizing the Prussian assembly was very radical.
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Syllabus of Errors
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Written by Pope Pius IX, this document warned all Catholics against anything under liberalism, progress, and modern civilization. This indicated the Pope’s ending support for liberalism and showed that he would not help Italian nationalists.
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1848 Revolution in Sardinia
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The revolution was a correlation of multiple Italian states seeking the same objective which was a more liberal government as well as eliminating the Austrian involvement. Sardinia was the driving force for some of the revolution due to the fact that it consisted of the most liberal government of Italy at the time which was ruled by Charles Albert. He seeked to unite Italy under his lead where he lead troops to attack Austria, but unfortunately he was in lack of common allies and was defeated by the opposing forces that took back control.
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1858- Cavour’s pact with Napoleon
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In 1858, Cavour and Napoleon created the Secret Treaty of Plombieres. Essentially, the pact made between Cavour and Napoleon ensured that France would aide Piedmont and in return Napoleon would be awarded Savoy and Nice. The pact between the two countries was significant due to the fact that it was the first officially secured foreign aide acquired by Piedmont which finally placed Cavour in a position where he could begin to expand Piedmont.
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War of 1859
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The War of 1859 was Italy’s second war regarding independence and occurred from 1859-1861. It was fought by Piedmont and France against Austria and was significant because it represented the beginning of the struggle for unification as a country. In other words, it was most of what lead up to the fight for Italian unification. It was also significant because it led Napoleon the third to create peace with Austria and in the end most of Italy had been united.
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Cavour
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Cavour was a constitutional monarchist in addition to being the prime minister of Piedmont. As a shrewd political tactician, Cavour tried to make Piedmont a state that other Italians would admire. Whilst he disapproved war he was willing to join the Crimean War in order to unify Italy. Cavour also practiced a strong anti-clerical policy. He was a liberal and followed a politics of reality; he did not like republicans, but was willing to work with them. He was important to the unification of Italy as he secured foreign aid from France and faced Austria, eventually gaining independence and creating the Kingdom of Italy. Without Cavour, Italy may not have been unified since he aided Italian unification by joining the Crimean War, making treaties with France, and stopping Garibaldi before he went to Rome and potentially starting a war with France.
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Crimean War of 1854
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In 1853 the Russian Tsar Nicholas I invaded the Ottoman provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia. The French, who were the most active Western power in the Middle East, advised the Ottomans to resist the Russians. Fearing Russian expansion into the Middle East, the British and French joined the Ottomans in the war. The small Kingdom of Sardinia also joined the war. Despite having no interest in the Middle East, Sardinia joined the war for the purpose of bringing up the Italian Question at the peace table. Austria joined too, not wanting the British and French to have complete control of the outcome. By 1854 the British had a blockade on the Russian ports in the Baltic and Black Sea, and along with the French, had invaded Crimea. The Austrians occupied Wallachia and Moldavia, which the Russians had abandoned after the start of the war. In 1855 Tsar Nicholas I died and his successor, Alexander II, sued for peace. Russia ceded the left bank of Moldavia and returned Wallachia and Moldavia to the Ottomans. The war had weakened both Austria and Russia, the greatest supporters of the Congress of Vienna at the time.
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Hapsburgs
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One of the most significant royal households of all of Europe. They wore the crown of the Holy Roman Empire reaching to modern times. They contained a large impact of power uniting countries but mostly Germany, Austria, and Spain. The unity under this empire lead to countries like France and Great Britain into strengthening their relations due to their awareness of their increasing power. This became more and more aware throughout Europe as time went on.
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General Alfred Windischgratz
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General Alfred Windischgratz was an Austrian field marshal who played a crucial role in the counterrevolutionary movement that followed the revolutions of 1848. Specifically, Windischgratz successfully forced the surrender of the second mass insurrection from the revolution in October 1848 in Vienna. The insurrection, which was strong enough to force the emperor to flee, would not have been put down without the forces led by Windischgratz. By recapturing Vienna, General Windischgratz made it possible for the old order to take over once again, effectively squandering the revolution for the time being.
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Napoleon III
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Napoleon the third was the emperor of the French from 1852-1870 (proclaimed himself emperor) and created new reforms. He also guaranteed the French their independence. However, he was faced with his downfall at the Franco-Prussian War when rather than defeating Otto Von Bismarck he was captured and sent to England. He was significant because his battles all helped lead to the eventual unification of Italy and he held a huge significance within Europe when it came to battles/unification as a whole. He also provided crucial foreign aid to Piedmont, thereby advancing Italian unification.
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Carbonari
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A secret society in Italy, it was formed by nationalists during the time of Napoleon, allowing them to circulate forbidden literature. It was a very protective society, members only knowing the names of a few other people so that if they got caught they would be unable to betray the society. Organizations like these were all over Europe, and they helped keep the revolutionary fervor from dying out.
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Piedmont
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Piedmont is a region in North West Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. The region is known for agriculture, producing grains, grapes, and livestock. It belonged to the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in the 19th century. They had used Piedmont as a springboard for the Unification of Italy because of it’s position on the peninsula.
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Papal States
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The territory located in the central peninsula of Italy. The papal states are also referred to as the church states because most of this area is claimed under the pope’s sovereign. These states independent states under the Roman Catholic Church were able to collect taxes, maintained courts of law, and participated in wars.
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Garibaldi’s Thousands
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Garibaldi’s Thousand was an army compiled of untrained students and lawyers for the most part. Without ammunition, Garibaldi and his make-shift army arrived in Sicily and eventually defeated 60,000 trained men, conquering the Two Sicilies and Naples. Ultimately, Garibaldi’s Thousand was able to achieve Italian unification at last, which was its greatest significance alongside the unbelievable defeat over trained armies.

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