Cavour In The Unification Of Italy

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Critically examine the role of Cavour in the unification of Italy. Italy had, for some centuries, been regarded as the part of Europe least likely to be united, and seemed to merit Metternich’s observation that it was merely a ‘geographical expression’. Yet under-currents of national sentiment did exist, as did a willingness in all parts to rise against foreign rule or local oppression. The failure of the 1848 revolutions, however, proved that the expulsion of the foreigner and the reduction of the number of political units required consummate diplomatic and military skills as well. These were provided by Count Camillo di Cavour (1810–61) who succeeded where others had failed. This assignment discusses the role and methods of Cavour in the…show more content…
Most were under the direct or indirect control of Austria, and those that were not were ruled by conservative, absolutist kings. Forty-five years later Piedmont–Sardinia, by no stretch of the imagination powerful enough at the outset to dominate the peninsula, provided Italy with her first king and stamped unification on the country. Cavour is known as the father of ‘transformismo’ and was a long life opponent of republicanism and socialism. In October 1850 he entered the Piedmontese government as the minister for agriculture (John Gooch,23). He has also helped in increasing the economic activity of Piedmont (John Gooch,24). Furthermore, Cavour was the principal architect of Piedmont’s modernization (Waller 86). According to Waller, from 1852 until his death in 1861, Cavour was to dominate the politics of Piedmont and Italy. As Prime Minister in 1852 Cavour transformed Piedmont-Sardinia into a completely modern state (87). He persisted with the pragmatic liberalization of the economy which he had begun under d’Azeglio. A national bank was established, facilitating the raising of private investment capital. But Cavour also saw a dynamic role for the state in shaping Piedmont’s economic development. He embarked upon a series of public works, involving railways, canals and elaborate irrigation projects (Waller…show more content…
(John a Davis 122) Moreover according to Davis, the emergence of a new Italian nation-state in these years would have been inconceivable without the contributions of Cavour and the Piedmontese state (122). The unification of Italy would only be possible under Piedmont’s banner (Waller 90). The unification of north and Central Italy were soon followed by an heroic expedition to the south by Garibaldi and his thousand Red Shirts (Waller 91). This development which very nearly undermined the whole strategy of Cavour. Garibaldi (1807-82) wanted to sail to Sicily with a band of irregular volunteers and Cavour didn’t want to allow a Garibaldian campaign that would generate a radical momentum which might prove difficult to resist (Waller 91). Furthermore, Cavour believed that an attack on the Two Sicilies was out of the question (Seaman 79). Garibaldi on the other hand, wanted Venetia, Rome and the Two Sicilies, and he wanted them united into an Italian kingdom under the flag of the House of Savoy. Thus, Cavour used all his unscrupulous arts to try to undermine Garibaldi’s position. At the outset, he made sure that Garibaldi was supplied with archaic (and often faulty) arms and Cavour pushed Garibaldi off to Sicily in order to get him out of the way (91). Seaman points out that it was Garibaldi and not Cavour whose
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