Explain and evaluate the role of Mazzini in the process of Italian unification to 1850
Giuseppe Mazzini was born in Genoa in June of 1805 into Napoleonic rule. He went on to play a vital role in the unification of Italy up until 1850. Although many of his endeavours failed, and he made mistakes that may even have backfired on his goal of Italian unification, he did play an important role. This was not so much directly, however, as through the influence he had, and the ideas he brought out of the shadows.
Mazzini aimed to unite Italy, and made a lot of failed attempts to do so. He had a vision of an independent nation of ‘free men and equals’, and he also thought that all of the Italian speaking states should unite, not just the northern ones, as many people had previously considered. He was a strong believer in democracy, believing that it was necessary for the people’s voices and ideas to be heard. He did not, however, have any problem with the use of violence or revolution to bring about this united Italy, and in fact believed it would be necessary. In order to achieve this, he made a lot of endeavours, the majority of which were unsuccessful. In 1920 at the age of 15, he led a student demonstration, which was a failure and served only to get him into a lot of trouble – he was noticeably absent from the revolutions of 1820 and 1821 that followed soon after. He joined the Carbonari in the late 1820s, but was caught and arrested, and either exiled to France or set free and asked to leave the country (the exact nature of his departure is unknown), so he ended up in France by February of 1831. This was where he founded his first nationalist group – Young Italy. This was similar to a secret society, however had a slightly different philosophy, as it was founded on his personal beliefs of what a united Italy should be like, and what should be done to achieve it. He was soon expelled from France, so Young Italy did not get very far. He went to Switzerland and...
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