Italian Unification Historiography

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1848 revolutions
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Farmer; ‘the 1848-9 revolutions changed everything’ Trevelyn; ‘the turning point at which history failed to turn’ Farmer; ‘given the strength of local loyalties and bitter regional antagonisms, the notion of a united Italy seemed a political fantasy’
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Force
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Farmer; 1848 proved ‘romantic idealism could not succeed against the existing order unless supported by force’ Pallavinco (contemporary); ‘to defeat cannon and soldiers, cannon and soldiers are needed’
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Process of unification 1870
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Darby; ‘Italy had come about by accident and was…an artificial creation’ Gladstone; ‘among the great marvels of our time’
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Role of Piedmont
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Farmer; ‘Piedmontese expansionism, rather than Italian nationalism, was the real driving force behind unification’ Rathbone; by 1859 ‘the scene was set for the Kingdom to play a central role in the unification of Italy’
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Foreign powers
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Farmer; ‘without the favourable international situation, unification would not have come about when it did’ Pearce; Austria ‘the single most important factor in the failure of previous attempts at unification’
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Cavour
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Darby; ‘Cavour was not a planner, but he was a great opportunist’ Darby; Cavour ‘his aim was to create an enlarged Piedmont’
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Garibaldi
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Taylor; ‘the only admirable figure in modern history’ Darby; ‘his success owed a great deal to luck rather than forward planning’ (but still vital)
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Victor Emmanuel II
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Farmer; ‘Victor Emmanuel united Italy with the help of Garibaldi (and Cavour)’
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Mazzini
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Stiles; ‘Mazzini gave tremendous impetus to Italian nationalism’
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Politics post-unification
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Marriott; ‘Italy was not, in 1870, ready for political unification’ PM d’Azeglio; ‘we have made Italy. Now we must make Italians’ Stiles; ‘little spontaneous national feeling’ Stiles; ‘the Italian government needed the friendship of other European powers’

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