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How united was Italy after 1861

The idea of unification can be expressed in two different ways. The Italy can be unified geographically or in a national sense. However, in 1861 Italy seemed to be neither of these.The kingdom of Italy was created in 1861 but Italy as a geographical expression was still incomplete. However, the only two states not included in the kingdom of Italy were Venetia and Rome. This was the case after garibaldi successfully conquered Sicily and the south of Italy, but at the same time Cavour travelled done from Piedmont with an army to stop Garibaldi but joined and practically united the kingdom of Italy.At this time Rome seemed to be more of a priority than Venetia. This is because Cavour hoped that he could persuade Napoleon to withdraw from Rome thus enabling the ‘united’ Italy to control Rome. However, Venetia seemed less likely at this point since it would undoubtedly lead to war against Austria.In 1862 Garibaldi decided to gather volunteers and march on Rome. He had support from the Prime minister (Rattazi) and the king and gathered 2-3 thousand volunteers in Sicily and crossed over to the mainland.However, the prime minister and king of Italy were worried as this could lead to political repercussions and sent a Piedmontese army to stop Garibaldi’s force. Consequently, Garibaldi was stopped at Aspromonte with a weak army and a wounded ankle.Read also about Department of the Army HeadquartersIn 1864, the Prime Minister Minghetti decided to change the capital of Italy from Turin to Florence instead of Rome. This may have suggested to Napoleon that they were not interested in Rome. This was not the case, but Italy was simply switching its primary target to Venetia.Venetia was obtained finally in 1866 by a treaty, which was signed on 8th April. This said that Italy would receive Venetia in return for its support of the Prussians in their war against the Austrians. This seemed to be a stroke of luck because Italy fought the Austrians at the second Battle of Custoza on 24th June and were defeated along with a dishonourable retreat. This was followed by an Austrian defeat at sea where the Italians had the larger fleet. However, the tables were turned for Italy as the Prussian army led by Moltke smashed the Austrians at the Battle of Koniggratz at the beginning of July. Venetia was then handed over in October (via Napoleon III).However, as Victor Emmanuel pointed out after this Italian fortune that Italy was made but incomplete. Presumably this is referring to the absence of Rome from the Kingdom of Italy.In the autumn of 1867 Garibaldi almost perpetuated his former actions with an unsuccessful attempt at seizing Rome. This was once again backed by Rattazzi until he distanced himself from the cause after worries over the political repercussions. Unfortunately for Garibaldi his force was once again stopped but by French and Papal forces.Three years later in 1870, Rome was owned by Italy. This was mainly due to the Franco-Prussian war, which took place after relations worsened between the two nations. At the beginning Victor Emmanuel took a neutral standpoint, but began to prepare troops after napoleon began withdrawing his troops in August. The defeat of the French at the Battle of Sedan on 2nd September caused the removal of the Emperor and the collapse of the Empire. Subsequently, 50,000 Italian troops invaded Rome and the Vatican; they outnumbered the 15,000 papal troops defending Rome. It was only on 20th September that Pius IX gave up to prevent bloodshed.Thus geographically Italy was unified but Pius IX still proclaimed the Italian government to be treacherous and excommunicated Victor Emmanuel and his government.However, Italy did not seem to be united in a national sense. As d’Azeglio wrote in 1863, “Never was Italy in such a state as she is now.” The Brigand’s war showed that there was considerable opposition to unity as more Italians died in fighting these ‘civil wars’ than in all of the fighting between 1848 and 1849 and between 1859 and 1861. The brigands, disbanded soldiers, and deserting conscripts were disappointed by economic hardship due to high taxation and free trade. This war started by these people against the northern establishment was ineffective and was an obvious example of the new state extending northern control over the poverty stricken south by force.There was also the idea of ‘Piedmontisation’, that Cavour who had extended Piedmont’s territory and ‘unified’ Italy with Garibaldi had simply introduced a larger Piedmont than an Italian Kingdom.This can be proved by the national introduction of the elite Statuto that was introduced prior to Cavour’s death and only enabled 2% of the population to vote.The squabble between The North and the South of Italy was always inevitable. The North had more fertile soil and was far more prosperous economically than the South. Furthermore, the South was underrepresented in the Statuto that was naturally a Piedmontese institution. There was also a deep filled rivalry between the two parts of Italy that these stereotypes would simply be perpetuated in states of government (in terms of the North’s opinion of the South).Italy required political and administrative centralisation if you were following utilitarianism. However, this seemed impractical since most of the nations wealth and population was in the North of Italy and so needed more representation.In truth Italy was unified as a geographical expression but each state previously had self-control and so even it became unified, Italy would still be a nation compiled from nations.As a result, it would always be difficult for Italy to become a national and political entity, as there would always be barriers of opinion according to region.However, the fact that Italy stayed as a single nation since shows that Italy was in the process of being unified. This proves that in this case geographical unity is far more instantaneous than national unity.

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