The Formation of the Kingdom of Italy 1

Austria in the Lombardy-Venetia could only stand with the state of siege that lasted until 1856, harshly treating the nobility and the bourgeoisie, inciting the people of the countryside against them, hanging the patriots. All social classes are represented among the victims: from the priest Don Enrico Tazzoli and the Veronese nobleman Carlo Montanari to the Milanese populace A. Sciesa: Italy penetrated the consciousness of the different classes of the nation. In Tuscany the Grand Duke had lost his ancient prestige; supported by Austrian arms, he was considered an Austrian archduke. In the Neapolitan area, the reign of Ferdinand II, closed in obstinate isolation and in a foolish and ferocious reaction, was placed in the liberal international opinion at the level of Turkey. Two revolutionary attempts of 1956 in Sicily were repressed in blood.

According to allcountrylist, this conduct of foreign rulers and peasant sovereigns placed that of King Vittorio Emanuele II in a greater light of Italianity who, receiving the crown in Novara, saw clearly in his open mind, and all understood in his proud soul of soldier and Italian the mission of Piedmont and its dynasty, and had faith from that day of misfortune. There was no lack of reasons and advice in March 1949 for him to abolish the constitution at the prevailing demagogy in parliament and the outbreak of a republican insurrection in Genoa. He kept faith with the statute, and thus disarmed the revolution. Constitutional life gave way, and through legal means, to carry out a real revolution. The D’Azeglio ministry with the Siccardi laws, passed in 1850, boldly faced the jurisdictional problem, abolishing ecclesiastical privileges in the interest of state authority, civil equality and the country’s economy. In 1850 the count of Cavour joined the D’Azeglio cabinet as minister of agriculture and commerce. Enthusiastic about the principles of economic freedom, he inspired his work in the laws and treaties of commerce in them, but soon he felt not a few of the moderate supporters of the D’Azeglio ministry break away from him, so he approached the left center of the parliament, causing the ministerial crisis with his resignation, which the king resolved by calling Cavour to power. From November 1952 to July 1959 he ruled the fate of Italian Piedmont. Nor did the opportunities lack for him to affirm, vis-à-vis Austria, the Italian nature of his politics. Austria, however, was too sure of the indifference of the powers to the Italian question and of the disproportion of the forces of small Piedmont to its own. This was the problem that Cavour had to solve: to draw Piedmont out of political isolation. The Crimean War gave Cavour a good chance.

Austria had believed it could, with its armed neutrality, be the arbiter of the belligerents and profit from them; on the contrary, she antagonized Russia, from which she had been greatly helped in 1949, and equally displeased England and France, who had done everything to have her ally. With great anxiety the Count of Cavour followed the unfolding of the negotiations: an alliance of the Western powers with Austria would have given this greater freedom in Italian affairs, and would have left Piedmont more and more in dangerous political isolation. Fortunately, those negotiations failed; and negotiations were then opened with Piedmont, perhaps also to decide Austria to come forward. Austria made a big mistake, which Cavour immediately took advantage of, signing the alliance of Piedmont with France and England (January 15, 1855) and contributing to the Crimean expedition with a corps of 15,000 soldiers. That small army erased the memory of Novara with its valor and showed how ready it was for other battles and other victories.

With the fall of Sevastopol, and peace negotiations started, the Paris congress was called (February 1856). Cavour intervened there as a delegate of the king of Sardinia; and it was possible for him to expose the Italian question in the interest of the peace of Europe, demonstrating how Austria disturbed the political equilibrium with its military occupations in the peninsula, and contributed to the revolutionary ferment with the help it gave to governments reactionary. “For the first time in our history – so Cavour, later, in parliament the Italian question was discussed in front of a European congress, not as in Ljubljana and Verona with the spirit of reiterating the chains of Italy, but with the intention of bringing some remedy to his wounds “. Piedmont had emerged from isolation: the first step to reach an alliance with France against Austria,

Ensuring the natural border of the Alps, increasing French power in the Mediterranean, placing Italy in the orbit of French influence with the exclusion of Austria from the Po Valley: all this was part of the traditional politics of France and the wars it fought. against the Habsburgs. These political interests coincided with the chivalrous sentiments of Napoleon III, with his affectionate sympathy for Italy for the memories of his youth amidst the conspiracies and riots in Italy of ’31. From these sentiments and from these interests Napoleon III was pushed towards that alliance with Piedmont, which Cavour aimed at. It was all a skilful diplomatic work that Cavour had prepared since 1953, and which had its crowning glory in Plombières in the agreement between Napoleon III and Cavour for the alliance between France and Piedmont. It was agreed that, after the Austrians were driven out, the kingdom of Upper Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic would be established. France would have been compensated with Savoy and Nice; but reservations were made about Nice. Regarding the rest of Italy, Napoleon III expressed the desire for a federation in which the kingdom of Naples would fall to Luciano Murat. The oral agreements of Plombières were confirmed by the treaty signed in January 1859.

The Formation of the Kingdom of Italy 1