71-160 (read Peggy Kamuf's paratextual comments on the publication history of this essay)Walter Benjamin, (Harry Zohn trans, discussed by de Man)Walter Benjamin, (revised trans.
This Cavour, Garibaldi, and Italian Unification page receives many visitors!!!
The preparation of these pages was influenced to some degree by a particular "Philosophy of History" as suggested by this quote from the famous Essay "History" by Ralph Waldo Emerson:-
A Frencharmy returned to defend Rome early in 1867 after Garibaldi and a large forcemade a serious armed incursion into these territories fromTuscany. The incursion was opposed by forces, drawn from manyCatholic countries, in the employ of the Papacy. This incursion may have had the covert personal support of the King Victor Emmanuel who hopedthat the remaining Church territories might fall to the Italian kingdom ifGaribaldi prevailed.
As the Franco-Prussian War irrupted in 1870 Napoleon III was obligedto recall those forces garrisoned in protection of Rome in orderto defend France herself on 16 August 1870. The Convention of September 1864 with France by which the Italian Kingdom had offered to guarantee the security of the territories of the Church had not in fact been in operation as France had again felt obliged to undertake responsibility for security after Garibaldi's campaign of 1867 - given the French withdrawal to meet the Prussian challenge it now came back into operation. The Convention contained a phrase that read "in the case of extraordinary events both of the contracting parties would resume their freedom of action."
Given the absence of theFrench and more particularly the fact of the Prussian ledinterest prevailing in the wars after the critical battle of Sedan on 2 September the Kingdom of Italy was largely obliged by the strength of "Italian aspiration" to deem the Prussian victory an "extraordinary event" and to seriously consider a move toannexe Rome and the remaining Papal territories.
On 7 September several Great Powers of Europe were advised by Italian diplomatic channels that Italy intended to take control of Rome but would thereafter support the continued freedom and spiritual independence of the papacy. There was no significant protest from any of the these powers as they seemed to accept that it was now inevitable that the Italian Kingdom would move to annexe Rome.
King Victor Emmanuel appealed to Pope Pius IX for a voluntaryacceptance of the protection of the Kingdom of Italy in the "name of religion and peace."
An envoy was sent to the Pope with a personal letter, dated 8 September 1871, from Victor Emmanuel who styled himself as writing "With the affection of a son, the faith of a Catholic, the loyalty of a king and the soul of an Italian" outlining that his soldiers were obliged to cross the papal frontiers to maintain the security of Italy and of the Holy See. Assurances were given in this letter that "the Head of Catholicity, surrounded by the devotion of the Italian people, should preserve on the banks of the Tiber a glorious seat independent of human Sovereignty".
On 11 September the Pope replied saying that he could not admit the demands of Victor Emmanuel's letter nor accept the principles contained therein.
Some sixty thousand soldiers in the service of the Kingdom of Italy subsequently moved to seize the Papal territories. The Pope invited the numerous diplomatic representatives that were present in the Vatican to bear witness to this assault and delivered protests to them that were to be conveyed to their authorising governments.
Thewalls of Rome were compromised after a four hour bombardment on the 20th September, 1870. Some nineteen papal soldiers and forty-nine Italian soldiers lost their lives in the associated battle. This "token" battle was itself brought to an end by the Papacy ordering its defenders to lay down their arms after making a show of resistance consistent with honour. Thesubsequent annexation of Rome to the Italian Kingdom was resoundingly endorsed by a plebiscite held two weeks later. Rome was now proclaimed as the capital of the Italiankingdom. There was in fact some debate about the wisdom of this move of the Italian capital away from Florence but it seemed that no other designation would be acceptable to the Romans themselves.
Pope Pius IX was offered numerous far-reaching assurances asto the position of the Papacy in a "Law of Guarantees" considered bythe Italian Parliament meeting in Florence in January 1871 and passed into law in May 1871. These guarantees would haverecognised the Pope as being a Temporal Sovereign with theVatican and Lateran palaces being deemed to be outside Italianterritory and with a large grant equal to previous Papal budgetsbeing made.
Pope Pius and Cardinal Secretary of State Antonelli chose to ignore such a system of guarantees and, when the first instalment of monies were offered they were repudiated by Pope Pius :- "Never will I accept it from you by way of reimbursement and you will obtain no signature which might seem to imply an acquiescence in or a resignation to Spoilation."
In June 1871 the Rome became the Italian seat of government and King Victor Emmanuel delivered an address to the parliament of the Kingdom of Italy now convened in Rome. This address begins:-
A Papal Encyclical that was sent to the higher Roman Catholic clergy in May 1871 had included the following sentiments:-
Pope Pius IX had already depicted Rome as being "in the possession of brigands" after "the triumph of disorder and the victory of the most perfidious revolution" and had styled himself as being the "Prisoner ofthe Vatican." He insisted on referring to the "usurping" power as a Sub-alpine, rather than an "Italian" government. Decades of deep estrangement between Italy and thePapacy ensued. Pope Pius forbade participation by way of votingor any political involvement in the workings of the "godless"Sub-alpine government.
Quite apart from these tensions between Papacy and Kingdom the new state had other hurdles to face. The census of 1871 showed that only 2.5% of the 26.8 million population actually spoke the Florentine-Tuscan "Italian" that was to become the language of the state. Also at this time 69% of population were illiterate but this is perhaps largely explicable by the fact that perhaps 60% of the people worked as subsistence farmers on the land and that there had previously been no widespread sponsorship of general education by the church or by the states that had so recently been replaced by the new Italy. The disparity of prosperity between the relatively prosperous north and relatively impoverished south continued as a worrisome factor for many years thereafter.
The Kingdom of Italy that emerged after 1870 was not the dynamic, powerful state that many nationalists had hoped for. The state was mired in debt. The liberal values of the regime suggested that they assume the debts of the states that Piedmont-Sardinia had absorbed in the process of unification. The wars of liberation had been expensive. The loans organized in France had to be repaid. Much infrastructure for a united state had to be created: public buildings in Rome, the new capital, a navy, a unified army, and an educational system, to name a few.
Italy was poor, since its establishment in 1861 the Italian kingdom had experienced great difficulty in balancing its budgets and the liberal, Piedmontese, administrators of the Kingdom of Italy insisted on financial responsibility. This at a time when the peninsula as a whole lacked economic development and had a poor infrastructure of roads and railways. In the south there was much brigandage and insurrection and in Sicily the Italian government was probably as unpopular as that of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been. In efforts to balance the books taxes were raised on salt and tobacco and more tellingly, as far as the poor were concerned, the tax on milling grain, the Macinato, which had been introduced into Piedmont by Quintino Sella in 1869 was now applied to the entire realm. Taxes were levied on mules, the omnipresent beast of burden of the peasantry, whilst horses and cows usually owned by landowners were not similarly taxed. There were many instances of serious rioting entered into against the economic policies being followed by the Italian royal administration. In cases the battle-cry of the economically distressed rioters was "long live the Pope and Austria". The birth of the Kingdom of Italy was not proving to be a straightforward affair. Newly united Italy experienced a wave of mass emigration as distressed poor people sought new and better lives in the United States and elsewhere.
It was not just the discontented poor of the south that threatened the stability of the regime. Many adherents of Mazzini and Garibaldi felt betrayed by the state that had emerged. Austria might still hope to restore her position in Italy. And the Church, still headed by Pius IX, condemned the new state and all that it stood for. In these conditions the state had to struggle to survive.
In many areas the masses spoke dialect and not Italian (the formerly "Tuscan" language that had become accepted as a literary language since the middle ages due to the impressive creativity of Dante and others). When Italy unified in the 1860s the question of languages other than Italian was never considered (several regional dialects continue to survive as 'household' languages) and the administrative model chosen was designed to annex a dispersed and disconnected plethora of pretty states to Piedmont. The national state that emerged was centralized but weak -- precisely what might have been expected - other things being equal - to give rise to waves of peripheral resentments and mobilizations.
Liberal doctrine also demanded that the laws and practices be standardized throughout the land. Piedmontese officials, bringing with them new laws and practices that inadvertently undermined the economy of the south. In the event the several states that now newly came under the sovereignty of the House of Savoy in the Kingdom of Italy did so under the existing Piedmontese constitution, under existing Piedmontese laws and existing Piedmontese foreign policy arrangements. King Victor Emmanuel II remained as King Victor Emmanuel II even though "Italy" had never had a King Victor Emmanuel previously. The were cases of resentment, in the south particularly, of the way Piedmontese organisers were deployed in rearranging aspects of the functioning of the territories newly under the House of Savoy.
Mazzini, who had remained committed to his republicanism, died at Pisa on 10 March 1872. At this time he was illegally present, and living under an assumed name, on Italian soil, and was regarded as an outlaw for attempting insurrection against the king.
Cardinal Secretary of State Antonelli informed Odo Russell, a quasi official British representative in Rome, that his demise might allow the relaxation of some of the restraints that Cavour had placed on Italian Republicanism.
Since these times Italians have sometimes tended to characterise Cavour as being the "brain" of Italian Unification - (with Garibaldi being sometimes characterised as its "sword" and Mazzini as its "spirit").