Enlightenment History of Italy Risorgimento

Reaction on the French Revolution : Italy

At first, news of the Storm on the Bastille (July 14th 1789) was received with enthusiasm in Northern Italy, where many were disillusioned with the attempt to establish a better society by waiting for enlightened absolute monarchs to introduce them. However, enthusiasm quickly calmed down during the period of terror (1793-1794). Vittorio Alfieri turned from a supporter into a critic of the French revolution, publishing Il Misogallo (the Anti-Gaul).

Italy turned into the battlefield of the coalition wars (1795-1800) and until 1805 saw a constantly changing political map, state constitutions often lasting less than a year. Wars, arbitrary decisions setting up new constitutions and shifting dynasties, taken without consideration of the Italian public opinion, resulted in the rise of Italian nationalism. In Murat's Kingdom of Naples (1808-1815), the secret Carbonari society was founded, which in the future would play an important role in Italian politics.
Italians were not able to contribute to the coalition overpowering French dominance. It was the British navy which protected the Savoyard and Bourbon dynasties on their island territories of Sardinia and Sicily, and the Austrian army which eliminated French influence in Northern-Central Italy in 1813, and in Southern Italy (Naples) in 1815. At the Vienna Congress in 1813-1815, Austrian and British interests thus prevailed when Italy's future was discussed.

Cronologia, Italian language site on Italian and World History
History of Italy : Foreign Domination and Unification, from Wikipedia
Article Count Vittorio Alfieri, from Catholic Encyclopedia, from Wikipedia
Article Carbonari, from Wikipedia, from Catholic Encyclopedia, from EB 1911
DOCUMENTS Il Misogallo, from Classici Italiani
REFERENCE History Book Reviews : Pre-Unification Italy

Article Italy, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.22 pp.165-247, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.22
Christopher Duggan, A Concise History of Italy, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press 1994

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 9th 2002, last revised on March 15th 2006

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz