The Development of Italian Monarchy from 1861 up to 1870


           The modern day Italy became a nation-state after the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and various separate states of the Italian peninsula became united.  The Italian unification which occurred in 1861 led the development of the Italian monarchy.  Before the unification, Italy had been divided into various separate states.  These states were under the rule of despotic kings. Although the states were separate, the Italians shared the Roman Empire.  The unification which is also referred to as “Risorgimento” was considered as the only way through which the various states in Italy would come together to form a strong state (Beales and Eugenio, 2002). One of the key personalities who are acknowledged for his important role during the unification was Count Camillo di Cavour.  He is recognized as one of the leading figures who advocated for the Italian unification which led to the establishment of the Italian Monarchy .Italy had been affected by Napoleon and the French Revolution. Italians viewed Napoleon and his invading armies as people who taught them nationalism and liberalism.  Napoleon supported a united Kingdom of Italy and also instituted some reforms that were very crucial in reinforcing the impact of nationalism and liberalism.However, the Italians showed resistance against the Napoleonic dominance after he became a dictator.

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            The Congress of Vienna played an important role in the division of the Italian peninsula into small states.  The congress was held after Napoleon was defeated. This was followed by a meeting between the representatives of the various European countries.  The meeting aimed at settling the European affairs, the Italian leadership affairs included.  After the congress, the Italian peninsula was divided into small states within which legitimate rulers were restored.  The development of the Italian monarchy had been preceded by great revolutions.  The revolutions which were led by Italian patriots and liberals aimed at seeking unity and liberty for the Italians.

           The region which was referred to as the Italian peninsula extended from the Po valley in the north and to the South which covered up to the central Mediterranean sea.  It is the end of the Napoleonic rule and the Vienna congress that initiated the process of unification. The establishment of the Italian monarchy can be attributed to the Italian unification.  Before the development of the Italian monarchy, many Italian states such as the central Duchies, the Papal States were influenced by Austria. Austria had occupied the Italian provinces of Venetia and Lombardy as a multi-racial empire.  Therefore, Austria did not want a unified Italy.  The Italian nationalists and liberalists aspirations to achieve unity and liberty in Italy triggered efforts to merge the various Italian states into one. The leadership of Piedmont-Sardinia supported the monarchist idea which later resulted to the formation of the Italian monarchy. Many Italian nationalists led the Italian unification movement.

            Before the revolution that led to the creation of the Italian monarchy began, major powers in Europe had met during the Congress of Vienna in 1815 (Di Scala, 2004). The Congress aimed at limiting the power that France had over some areas in Europe. In addition, the Congress aimed at limiting the powers that the European nations had over others so that they did not become too strong. It is during the Congress’s negotiations that the domination of the Italian Peninsula was returned to Austria. Austria was therefore able to occupy Venice and Lombardy in Italy. However, the Kingdom of Sardinia was independent, which made it possible for the kingdom to have control over Genoa, Piedmont, Savoy, and Nice.

            Several factors have been identified as having acted as a hindrance to the process of unification in Italy. One of the factors was the limited power and influence that the Italian leaders had over the states. Due to the minimal power that the leaders had in the various separate states, they were unable to initiate efforts to unite Italy much faster. Instead they had to initiate the efforts through revolutions and uprisings that advocated for unity and liberty in Italy. The autonomy of the Papal States also made it difficult for the states to join other Italian states during the Italian unification of the 1861.Austria which controlled Venice and Lombardy contributed to the slow unification process of the Italian separate states. This is because, it wanted to remain in control of Venice and Lombardy. Since having the states united with the other Italian states would deny Austria that opportunity, the Austrian Empire was not ready to give up the states in order to be united with the others. Several states in Italy such as the Kingdom of Sardinia were independent. These states acted independently, and therefore it was not easy for them to forego their independence at the expense of a more united Italy.

Background Information

           Austria had become an obstacle to the establishment of an Italian monarchy by hindering Italian unification.   The Unification of Italy in 1861 had been supported by the strong economy Italy had acquired as compared to the other countries.  The Piedmont under the leadership of King Victor Emmanuel II and the Prime Minister Cavour had implemented some economic reforms which made Italy one of the most economically advanced states in Europe. It is this Piedmont’s strength that enabled it to challenge the presence of Austria in Italy.  This promoted the revolutionary spirit in Italy, which later led to the development of the Italian Monarchy.  The revolutionary spirit led to uprisings in Italy which lasted for decades.  In search for unity and liberty, revolts in Italy were experienced in 1848.  In efforts to fight for the Italian Unification, the Kingdom of Piedmont – Sardinia declared war against Austria.  However, despotic rulers continued to suppress the revolutionary movement. Piedmont was defeated by Austria.  The brave fighting of Piedmont against Austria was acknowledged by many Italians as one way of bring unity and liberty.  Despite the defeat, the 1848 revolution raised Piedmonts’ image among the Italians.  After 1848, Italy under the guidance of its capable leaders was headed towards the development of the Italian monarchy. For instance, Cavour who became the Prime Minister in Piedmont in 1852 contributed greatly to the development of the Italian Monarchy.  Cavour was an able and farsighted statesman.  He also supported a constitutional Monarchy which made him seek the support of the Italian liberals in other states in efforts to unite the separate Italian states.

              Cavour worked hard to modernize the Piedmont economy.  Cavour is also recognized for his role in the Italian Unification through his support for diplomacy.  In addition, Cavour relied in war as he sought to achieve the Italian unification. One of the ways through which Cavour used war to achieve the Italian unification was by entering the Crimean war. Cavour entered the war on the side of Britain and France to drive Austria out of Italy. Furthermore, Cavour tried to secure the French Military assistance.  Partial Italian Unification was achieved following the Austro –Piedmontese war. Piedmont was able to gain Lombardy from Austria.  Cavour worked diligently to complete the   Italian unification by taking advantage of the Garibaldi’s expedition in Naples – Sicily, and the nationalist uprisings that were being witnessed in the central Italian Duchies.  By 1861, Cavour was able to contribute to the creation of the new Kingdom of Italy.  By the time he died, Cavour contributed to the formation of a United Italy with only Rome and Venetia remaining outside the Kingdom.

          Cavour’s aspirations and dream to see a united Italy led to the development of the Italian monarchy between 1861 to the 1870 after the Italian unification was achieved.  To seize Venetia from Austria, Italy allied with Prussia. This was a major step towards the achievement of a united Italy.  The Italian Unification was completed when the Italian forces despite the Popes’ opposition marched into the city.  This happened as the French garrisons went back home in order to fight Prussia. The Italian unification which led to the development of the Italian monarchy has been attributed to the leadership of Cavour and Victor Emmanuel II. In addition, the Prussian and the French Military forces are acknowledged for their role in the unification.  This no doubt makes the military forces major contributors to the development of the Italian monarchy.  The Italian liberators and nationalists are also recognized as some of the forces from below that supported the unification of Italy, hence supported the development of the Italian Monarchy. Through spontaneous uprisings that were witnessed in the southern and central Italian cities, the liberals and nationalists were able to fuel changes in Italy. It is these changes that led to the development of the Italian monarchy.

          Following the unification of Italy’s mainland states and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, a united Italy was formed (Di Scala, 2004).  Referred to as the Kingdom of Italy, the unification led to the formation of a constitutional monarchy whereby Victor Emmanuel II from 18th February 1861 up to 1878 served as the king until his death. Before becoming the king in the Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II had been the King of Piedmont, Sardinia, and Savoy.  He ruled from 1849 to 1861 in these regions. Victor Emmanuel II is acknowledged by many as the father of the country, well referred to as il Padre della Patria. Victor was born in Sardinia as the eldest Son of the King of Piedmont, Charles Albert of Sardinia. His mother was known as Maria Theresa of Austria and Tuscany. Victor had shown great interest in sports, military, and politics He participated in the Battles of Santa Lucia, Custoza, Pastrengo, and Goito. After a defeat by the Austrians, Emmanuel’s father abdicated the throne.  In 1849, Emmanuel II became the King of Piedmont in Sardinia. His decision to appoint Count Camillo di Cavour as the Prime Minister contributed greatly to the unification of Italy.  Cavour is recognized as a wise leader who is to some extent considered as the political mastermind behind the Italian unification.  This made Victor Emanuel II to be seen as the symbol of Risorgimento in Italy (Forester, 2002).  The Italian Risorgimento became the Italian unification movement. Victor’s popularity in the Kingdom of Sardinia resulted from his respect for liberal reforms, as well as his respect for the new constitution.  The joining of Cavour in the Crimean war paved way for the unification of Italy even as he sought support from Britain and France. The support of the military forces led to the Italian unification after Italy won wars against foreign nations’ dominance in Italian states.

The Role of Revolutions in the establishment and development of the Italian Monarchy

           The concerns to have the separate Italian states before 1861 united triggered the desire to fight for liberty and unity amongst the Italian upper and middle class, aristocrats and the intellectuals. Although the masses during the first half of the 19th century  had showed minimal concern for the unification of the Italian states, the Italian liberals and nationalists who had  a passion for a united Italy contributed to the creation of an Italian monarchy through the  unification  when they formed secret societies (Glenny, 2001). These secret societies were referred to as the Carbonari.By 1820, the Carbonari was involved in a number of revolutions that failed. The revolutions were meant to act as forums through which the Italians would air their concerns about their country’s leadership. The revolutions’ success was undermined by the crushing of the revolutions by the Austrian Empire. This increased the resentment that the Italians had against the Austrian Empire.

          Another key personality whose contribution in the 1830s led to the development of the Italian Monarchy was Giuseppe Mazzini.  Mazzini was born in Genoa and in 1827 became a member of the Carbonari.  His efforts to bring about changes in Italy had him lead revolution attempts during the 1830s.  He is recognized for initiating reforms that later came to result to the creation of the Italian Monarchy. Mazzini contributed to the unification of Italy in several ways. He encouraged the Italians to be patriotic, as this was one of the ways through which unity and liberty in Italy could be achieved.

              Due to his support for reforms, Mazzini made  great contribution to the establishment of a single state when he presented a new view of Italy.  Through the new view, the Italians would be able to advocate for what was good for their nation.  Mazzini offered inspiration to other Italian liberals and nationalists such as Garibaldi.  The inspiration attracted more Italian patriots in fighting for a more unified Italian.  This later led to the existence and development of the Italian Monarchy.  In addition, Mazzini needs to be acknowledged for his great assistance in winning the international publicity for the Italian freedom, unity and liberty even as the Italian monarchy developed between 1861 and 1870.  This enabled Italy to gather the support of foreign nations to fight for liberalism and nationalism that many Italians valued.

            The foreign nation’s intervention played an important role in the formation and development of the Italian Monarchy (Norwich, 2006). Through his actions and encouragements, Mazzini managed to put pressure on the Italian leaders such as Conte Cavour to act wisely and positively when it came to handling the leadership issues.  His support for actions that would bring the separate Italian states together no doubt acted as an encouragement to the determined and patriotic Italians who sought to achieve unity and liberty in Italy.  Despite his support for the Italian unification which formed the Italian Monarchy, Mazzini advocated against having the Italian territory under too much foreign control.

           Count Cavour who was a member of the ruling class in Piedmont was aware of the “Italia fara da se”.  After being appointed as prime minister by Victor Emmanuel II, Cavour showed his great determination in removing the Austrians form Venetia and Lombardy.  The support Italian leaders like Cavour offered to other nations such as France and Great Britain during the Crimean war helped Italy gain gratitude and respect from the nations.  This is despite the minor role that the Italian troops played in the wars.  Cavour managed to win the support for a unified Italy by encouraging diplomacy and foreign support.  Through his leadership, Cavour was able to encourage the Italian leaders to accept Piedmont as one of the regions that required to be focused on in order to give rise to the unification.

              Garibaldi’s’ involvement in efforts that led to the establishment of the Italian Monarchy made him to be actively engaged in revolutionary reforms in the Italian territory.  For instance, Garibaldi raised volunteers who were meant to fight for the unity and liberty of Italy.  He was a committed supporter of Risorgimento and his invasion on the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies expanded the territory of what would become the Italian Monarchy.  Furthermore, Garibaldi efforts to capture Rome led to the seizing of Rome by the Italian government.

           Between 1851 and 1870, the Italian Monarchy faced some problems or challenges as well as opportunities to make the territory much better.  The events that occurred before and after the Italian unification resulted to bad relations between the Italian Monarchy and the Papacy.  This was due to the Kingdom of Italy annexing the Papal States (Smith, 1997).  The society members lacked common language due to the coming together of people with different dialects or languages.  Because Victor Emmanuel II who was earlier the King of Piedmont became the King of the Kingdom of Italy, the spread of the Piedmontese constitution resulted to conflict.  Severe economic problems were witnessed in the Monarch and the political system failed to develop war.

       Giuseppe Mazzini is recognized as the man who led to the growth of the spirit of the Carbonari.Manzzini strived to see that the Italian states became united and that a collective form of government was formed. The government was expected to offer leadership to the Italian people after the states became united. One way through which Manzzini initiated reforms in Italy that later led to the establishment of the Italian monarchy   was by creating a group referred to as the “Young Italy”. He formed this group with the aim of spreading ideas about republicanism, unification, and revolution. The reforms that were also initiated by the Pope Pius IX in 1846 were followed by the 1848 revolution. The revolution affected other areas of Europe as well. For instance, Germany and France were in one way or another affected by the revolution. In the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, the revolution was marked by the signing of a constitution. Revolutions at the beginning were crushed but they later bore fruits when the Kingdom of Italy was formed. Victor Emmanuel II became the king of Sardinia in 1849 after his father was forced to abdicate. In 1861, he became the king of the Italian monarchy.

Factors that led to the development of the Italian Monarchy

          The development of the Italian Monarchy that was witnessed from 1861 to 1870 can be attributed to several factors .One of the factors that led to the development of the monarchy was the great leadership of Piedmont under Victor Emmanuel II as the King and count Cavour as the Prime Minister. Victor Emmanuel II had become the King of Piedmont – Sardinia in 1849 after his father who had earlier being the King abdicated his throne. This was as a result of the military defeat at Novara by Austria. Although count Cavor was reluctant to enter the Crimean war, Victor Emmanuel’s advice to him to join France and Britain against Russia during the war became an advantage to Italy as it sought the unification of its states into a single state. Victor Emanuel was able to understand that Italian states would be rewarded if they created alliance with the French and the British Military forces. This was proved true when the French assisted the Kingdom of Italy to fight Austria. Austria at the time of the war was still occupying the northern Italy’s Kingdom of Lombardy – Venetia. Cavour who was Piedmonts’ Prime Minister was a great leader who supported constitutional monarchy. His working together with Victor Emmanuel II and the Italian liberals and nationalists resulted to the development of the Italian Monarchy as a result of united Italy.

              During his leadership as the Prime Minister, Cavour managed to modernize Piedmont’s economy and to win the   support of the French and British Military Forces as he fought for the Italian Unification. Cavour showed his great reliance on diplomacy as he got involved in efforts to achieve the development of the Italian monarchy. For instance, through the assistance of the forces (Prussia), Italy managed to seize Venetia from Austria.  The gaining of Lombardy from Austria became possible under the great leadership of Victor Emmanuel II and count Cavour.  These two leaders had great ability to take advantage of the uprisings that were led by Italian liberals and nationalists as they sought for unity and liberty.  These uprisings had been encouraged by the revolutionary spirit in Italy.  The courageous fight of the Kingdom of Piedmont against Austria Italian unification despite the defeat was acknowledged by the Italian liberals and nationalists. They therefore showed their support for the Kingdom of Piedmont .The promulgation of a constitution by the Kingdom of Piedmont under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel II had attracted admiration of the kingdom from the Italians who fought for liberty and unity of Italy.

           The Italians resistance against the Napoleonic dominance has also been considered to trigger the Italians desire for nationalism and liberalism. Napoleon with his armies had earlier been viewed by the Italians as liberators. For instance, Napoleon support for reforms in Italy that led to the creation of a United Kingdom of Italy was appreciated. This was seen as one of the ways through which nationalism and liberalism would be reinforced in Italy.  However, the involvement of Napoleon in Italian affairs came to portray him as a dictator.  The Italians did not like this, and therefore rebelled against the dominance of Napoleon .For instance, the Napoleonic code which was adopted in various regions of Europe through Napoleonic rule supported the national unification of Italy.

         The concerned efforts of the Italian liberals and nationalists to achieve unity and liberty in Italy no doubt led to the development of the Italian Monarchy.  The nationalists together with the Monarchists who were Loyal to the House of Savoy sought to have the entire Italian peninsula form part of the Italian Kingdom (Katz,1972).The liberal -nationalists who was referred to as Giuseppe Garibaldi led the Italian unification movement after the 1848 revolution, and his followers were renowned for being very loyal.  It was Garibaldi’s effort to unify Italy in the Southern region and the Kingdom of Sardinia’s monarchy in northern Italy efforts to establish a united Italy that led to the formation of the Italian monarchy after the unification of Italian states in 1861. Garibaldi was recognized as the soldier of Italian Risorgimento and an Italian patriot. His great contribution towards the Italian Unification was seen in the military campaigns that he led to seek the formation of a united Italy in February 18, 1861.Cavour and Garibaldi had agreed to join the Southern Italy with the Kingdom of Piedmont – Sardinia to unify Italy.  The unity had Victor Emmanuel II became King of the Kingdom of Italy.

            The unification of Italy which developed into the Italian Monarchy consolidated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies .The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been formed by coming together of the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples.  Naples was the capital city of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.The invasion of the kingdom by the Savoy Kingdom of Piedmont Sardinia resulted to the unification of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies into Italy. Ferdinand I who was the King of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies supported the inclusion of the Kingdom into the Kingdom of Italy as an act of solidarity and an issue of that was necessary. Several provinces of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies formed part of the Italian peninsula, and this made it easy for the Kingdom to become part of the Kingdom of Italy after being conquered by the Kingdom of Sardinia.   After the Italian unification in 1861, Rome still remained under the papacy.  When all the other states in Italy came under the Kingdom of Italy, reuniting Rome with the rest of Italy became a focus for the leaders within the Kingdom.

             Even though Rome remained under the control of the pope, it was declared as the capital of Italy after the Italian unification in 1861.  This is because, part of the Papal States benefited from the French protection .Napoleon who wanted to please Catholics in France is considered to have protected Rome from being united with the rest of Italy even after the Italian Unification. However, the lifting of the French protection in 1870 as a result of Franco –Prussian war led to the capturing of the Rome by the Italian troops.  It is then that Rome became part of the Italian Monarchy under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel II .Victor Emmanuel’s II support for Garibaldi as he invaded the Kingdom of he two Sicilies led to the inclusion the Kingdom into the Italian Monarchy.  Garibaldi’s contributed to the fall of the Kingdom when he led a military campaign against the Kingdom.  This led to the dissolution and the annexation of the Kingdom by the Kingdom of Sardinia.

              The Italian nationalists desire to see Sicily and the Southern Italy unified had Garibaldi participate in the Expedition of the Thousand.  Through the Battle of Castelfidardo, Victor Emmanuel II as the king of the Kingdom of Italy managed to win the war for the Italian unification by defeating the papal troops.  This earned Emmanuel a papal excommunication from the Catholic Church.

The Italian Monarchy after the Italian unification

                     The Italian monarchy attempted to capture Rome in 1862 (Kertzer, 2004).  This was led by Giuseppe Garibaldi who had sailed from Genoa to Palermo. Garibaldi together with the volunteer army however did not succeed in capturing Rome.  The army was stopped by a division that was sent by the Piedmontese general Enrico Galdini.  In the ensuring battle, Garibaldi was wounded and him along with his men were taken as prisoners.

            Victor Emmanuel II ruled during the1861-1870 development of the Italian monarchy.  Efforts to achieve a complete unification of Italy were seen in 1866 during the Third Italian war of Independence (Godkin, 2007).  During this war, Victor Emmanuel II worked together with Prussia.  Prussia had gained great importance in between the 18th and the 19th centuries.  During the 18th Century, Prussia had gained great European power while under the rule of Frederick the Great .It is due to this growth in power that made King Emmanuel to seek for Prussia’s assistance in efforts to achieve complete unification of Italy.  During the Third Italian war of independence, the Italian Monarchy fought against the Austrian Empire.  Since the unification of Italy in 1861 to form the Kingdom of Italy had failed to put states like Venetia under the Kingdom, efforts to gain control over these regions continued during the 1861 to 1870 period of development in the Italian Monarchy.

             The newly created Italian monarchy experienced unceasing state of tension due to the irredente.This was an Italian term used to refer to the part of Italy that remained under the foreign domination long after the Italian unification in 1861.  The foreign domination created political tension within the monarchy.  Furthermore, it acted as a cornerstone of the Kingdom’s foreign policy.  The competition for dominance in Germany between Prussia and Austria fueled the open war of 1866. The war therefore offered the Italian monarchy an opportunity to regain Venetia.  Italy’s efforts to regain Venetia involved the signing of a military alliance between the Italian government and Prussia on April 8, 1866.  The signing took place through the Napoleon III of France mediation.  General Alfonso La Marmora led the Italian armies in military efforts to acquire states that were under foreign influence.  The armies were expected   to engage the Austrians in the war on the southern front.  In addition, the Italian armies took advantage of the naval superiority that they enjoyed.  This made it possible for the army to offer threats to the Austrians on the Dalmatian cost.  Eventually, the Italian armies were able to force the Austrians from the central European front.

              Before Italy declared war on Austria, Prussia had begun its hostilities with Austria in June 16, 1866.  Prussia did this by attacking German allies to Austria.  The Italian military operation of June 23 1866 began three days later after Prussia’s attacks.  Italy had declared war on Austria.  The Prussian victories in the north benefited Italy in that, the Austrians moved one of their army corps they had deployed in Italy to Vienna (Austria).  However, Austria received favorable conditions from Prussia which allowed it to redeploy troops in Vienna.  The Italian monarchy under its military forces failed to obtain military success then. The Italian forces won the battle of Bezzecca but lost the battle of Lissa on July 20th 1866. The hostilities ended after the signing of the treaty of Vienna on October 3, 1866.  This led to the cessation of Venetia to the French Empire by the Austrian Empire.  The French Empire in turn ceded Venetia to the Kingdom of Italy.  This brought changes in the Italian Monarchy in relation to the size of the area covered by the Kingdom (Holt, 1971).

            The Italian monarchy military forces defeat during the conflict has been attributed to the merging of the armies of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies and the Kingdom of Sardinia.  The merging of the armies under the new state in 1861 was imperfect which undermined the efficiency of the army.  The Monarchy’s navy strength was undermined by the rivalry between two navies (Kingdom of the two Sicilies and the Kingdom of Sardinia) that had formed the unified Italian navy, also referred to as Regia Marina.  The unsolved issue of who between the Italian and Victor Emmanuel II (since 1859) had supreme command resulted to the Italian defeat.  The King who adopted the role of supreme commander was not suited for the role. These are some of the factors that contributed to the defeat of the monarchy during the Third Italian war of Independence against Austria.

The government of the Italian monarchy

          The Kingdom of Italy that was created after the Italian unification in 1861 was a constitutional Monarchy.  In this form of government, a hereditary monarch (Victor Emmanuel II) acted as the head of state (Smith, 1997).  In the Monarch, an indirectly or directly elected Prime Minister became the head of the government.  Within the Italian Monarchy, the monarch had the executive power, which he executed through the ministers who were appointed.  However, the Monarchs’ power was to some extent restricted by the elective Chamber of Deputies and the appointive Senate.  The Kingdom of Italy used the Statuto Albertino as the Kingdoms’ constitution.  The Statuto Albertino had been the governing document in the Kingdom of Sardinia before the Italian Unification.   The Statuto Albertino remained as an important document in the Kingdom of Italy until it was later modified after 1900s.  The Italian Monarchy had Victor Emmanuel II as the head of state.

Economic problems facing the Italian monarchy

       After the Italian unification, the newly created Italian monarchy experienced some economic problems.  Economic division was seen along regional, political, and social lines.  Before the unification, Italy had highly depended on foreign trade as a source of economic resources.  However, the development of the monarchy after unification had about 60 per of the population work within the agricultural industry (Mack Smith, 1989). In addition, advances in technology began to be seen in the monarchy.  The agricultural sector in the Kingdom of Italy was transformed by the export opportunities the kingdom enjoyed as a result of competition from other foreign nations.  The sale of church estates shortly after the Italian unification also contributed to the transformation of the kingdoms’ agricultural sector.  Despite these developments, the Kingdom of Italy between 1851 and 1870 experienced economic problems due to low agricultural productivity.  The low productivity was attributed to hot summers and the aridity of some agricultural farms. Agricultural cultivation along low lying Italian areas around the Adriatic became almost impossible due to the presence of malaria.  The revenue that was being earned by the land owners could not assist in the development of the agricultural land.

How culture and society in the Italian monarchy was organized

           There was division of the people in the monarchy along the linguistic, social, class and regional basis.  The cultural traits that existed in the monarchy were socially conservative.  The society had a strong belief in the family institution, where the patriarchal values were highly regarded (Kertzer, 2004). The unification of Italy led to a number of descendants from the former royal nobility becoming residents of Italy.  For instance, over 7,000 noble families are estimated to have become part of Italy after its unification.  The national language within the Italian Monarchy was an issue of concern. Language division was witnessed due to the different regional dialects. King Victor Emmanuel II is said to have spoken in Piedmontese despite the monarch having people speaking different dialects. Although the Italian monarchy continued to experience changes between 1861 and 1870, literacy of the people in the monarchy was estimated to have been poor.  This was as compared to the literacy level in other European countries. The Italian unification brought together a large number of people together, which made the public schools in Italy inadequate.

            The Italian Monarchy in 1870 benefited from the Franco- Prussian war which involved Prussia and France.  France offered protection to the Papal States in Italy, a situation that made it difficult for Italy to acquire Rome as part of the Kingdom of Italy.  The end of the war led to the downfall of the Napoleon III and the replacement of the second French empire with the third republic (Glenny, 2001). To keep away from the large Prussian army, France during the war reacted by abandoning its earlier position in Rome.  When this occurred, the Italian Monarchy gained by taking over the Papal States form France. Several battles had ensued before the Kingdom of Italy could capture Rome.  For instance, the guerilla– like warfare which was led by the Papal zouves and the Holy See official troops sought to fight against the Italian invaders.

              After capturing Rome, the Italian Monarchy was able to achieve complete unification of its states. The Papal zouves were formed in 1860 with the aim of defending the Papal States.  This group comprised of unmarried and young Roman Catholic men.  The men were expected to help the Pope Pius IX Fight against the Italian unification. The Papal zouves attracted the participation of young men from all over the globe such as Canada, France, Bavaria, Flanders and Netherlands.  The defeat of France and forces such as the Papal zouves added Rome to the Italian Monarchy after the King Victor Emmanuel II occupied the Rome.  The capturing of Rome by Italy however resulted to sour relations between Italy and the Vatican.  The Pope in the Vatican even declared them to be prisoners within the Vatican.

         Between 1861 and 1870, the agricultural areas in areas belonging to the Italian Monarchy contributed greatly to economic growth through the cultivation of grapes.  After the Italian unification, about 60 per cent of the population in the monarchy worked in the agricultural sector.  Agricultural production in Italy then was supported by the availability of export opportunities, and the vast church estates which provided the Italian with ample land for cultivation.  Some of the countries that the Kingdom of Italy was competing with were France. For example, France through its agricultural sector was growing grapes which they could market in other foreign nations. However, Frances’ production of grapes began to be undermined by the presence of diseases.

            By 1870, the vine disease in France that was caused by insects drastically had lowered the production of grapes from the vineyards. This triggered increased agricultural production of grapes in Italy.  Italy aimed at producing enough grapes to compensate for what France could not produce.  The growth of his Italian agriculture sector during this period later came to make Italy prosper as a major exporter of wine in Europe.  However, after 1870, France was able to recover from the low agricultural production.  This made the Southern Italy over produce.  The efforts to cut back the production resulted to a high level of unemployment for many Italians.  This led to low living standards for some Italians who lacked employment.

Economic system in the Kingdom of Italy

           In 1861, the economy of the Kingdom of Sardinia was not well developed so as to encourage simple economic expansion in the Italian territory.  The Kingdom of Two Sicilies’ economy is considered to have been structurally developed just like that of the Kingdom of Sardinia.  After the Italian unification, the Kingdom of Sardinia high class had a great influence in the economy of Italian Monarchy.  Due to the ruling class ability to control the newly created monarchy, the class used its control of state apparatus to predominate the economy.  This was done by first politically reorganizing the Italian territory means of production.

            Another way through which the class tried to dominate the economy was by employing the real income generated by the economy for its own benefit and advantages.  The Kingdom of Sardinia ruling class was therefore able to reorganize Italy’s means of production after the Italian unification of the 1861 so as to benefit.  Italy’s economic structure and the political order after 1861 were greatly influenced by the Kingdom of Sardinia which had become part of the new Kingdom.  The Kingdom of Sardinia ruling class became politically dominant in the Italian Monarchy and this eventually led to the division between the wealthy and elite, and the poor in the society.  The wealthy and the elite became the industrial and financial sectors’ leaders.  They formed the ruling class.  The economic problems experienced in the Italian Monarchy and the economic system organization resulted to Mezzogiorno.  In this economic system, the means of production was politically organized where the total dependence on the external exigencies experienced changes with time.  The economic system provided a market for goods, cheap agricultural products, and cheap labor. Economic underdevelopment was to a certain level experienced in Italy.

The Efforts to acquire Rome by the Italian Monarchy

           Victor Emmanuel II as the King of the Italian Monarch got involved in safer means of acquiring the Papal States.  For instance, the king through a treaty negotiated the removal of the French military forces from Rome.  The treaty was referred to as the September Convention.  The treaty was between Napoleon III and the Italian government.  It was signed on the 15th of September 1864.  The treaty was meant to make the Italian government move to Florence from Turin.  Another requirement of the treaty was that the Italian government guarantees the frontiers of the Papal States.  Under the treaty also, Napoleon III was expected within two years to have the French troops withdrawn fro Rome (Probeyn, 2007).

            The Italian government was on the other hand expected to move form Turin to Florence as an indication that it would not try to take its seat in Rome since Rome in1861 during a parliament meeting in Turin had been declared as the capital of Italy.  However, many Italian patriots, the Pope, and the French Catholics were opposed to the signing of the September Convention treaty between Napoleon III and the Italian government. Following the signing of the treaty, an announcement that the Italian government would have to move from Turin to Florence triggered resistance from the Italians.  The announcement led to anti-government riots in Italy.  The riots which were widespread aimed at coercing the Italian government against moving to Florence.

             In December 1866, the last French Military troops then left Rome in accordance with the treaty.  Efforts to allow the Italian government to move from Florence to Rome were expected to have the Italian government and the Pope negotiate.  The Pope who was then Pope Pius IX rejected all the proposals that were meant to allow the government move to Rome. This made some Italian Patriots under the leadership of Guiseppe Garibaldi to invade Rome in 1867.  The French troops that were sent by Napoleon III managed to defeat the patriots.  In order to protect the papacy of Pius IX, a French garrison was then put in Rome.  The French garrison was recalled in August 1870.  This was after the outbreak of the Franco – Prussian war.

              The Italian government was then encouraged to take up Rome through the widespread public demonstrations that were witnessed.  Despite the demonstrations, the Italian government failed to immediately take an immediate action of moving into Rome.  Instead, the government took over Rome after the reign of Napoleon III collapsed.  This occurred during the battle of Sedan.  The Emperor Napoleon III together with his army had been captured.  This had the war in favor of Prussia and its allies.  The capture of Napoleon III and the defeat of the French army at Sedan led to the overthrowing of the second Empire. This had   Napoleon III leave the Prussian custody and go to England for exile.  This became a great advantage to the Italian government since it stopped to be bound any longer by the September Convention.  This meant that the government could move to Rome.

             Victor Emmanuel II efforts to encourage a peaceful entry of the Italian army into Rome were seen during his reign (Forester, 2002).   This would offer protection to the Pope. King Victor Emmanuel II had sent a proposal to Pope Pius IX to allow the Italian army peaceful entry into Rome.  But when Pius IX refused, the Rome was put under siege.  When the Zouaves were defeated, Latium and Rome became annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.  This was after a plebiscite.  Through   a plebiscite, the electorate had to reject or accept the proposal to annex Latium and Rome. The acceptance of the Italian people to annex Latium and Rome through a referendum made the Pope declares himself as a “prisoner in the Vatican”. The Italian government then moved to Rome from Florence.


            The Italian Resorgimento which was also referred to as the Italian Unification was characterized by a chain of military and political events that led to the creation of the Italian monarchy after unification of states in 1861.The formation of the kingdom gave birth to the Italian monarchy whereby Victor Emmanuel II became the king. The events that led to the establishment of the Italian monarchy can be classified into five stages; the pre-revolutionary stage, the revolutionary phase, the role of Piedmont and Cavour’s policy  towards Italian unification, the campaigns in Southern Italy led by  Garibaldi, and the formation of the Italian Kingdom(monarchy).The pre-revolutionary phase was marked by the  holding of the Congress of Vienna conference in 1815.The Congress supported the domination of the Italian states by Austria. This acted as a hindrance to the creation of a united Italy.Consequently, the establishment of the Italian monarchy was not possible then. The revolutionary phase was characterized by a good number of revolutions in Italy which occurred with the aim of seeking a government, liberty, and unity in Italy by uniting the states.

            Some of the leaders who were greatly involved in the revolutions include; Giuseppe Mazzini, Garibaldi, Victor Emmanuel II and Count Camillo di Cavour .Through the revolutions, the Italian dream of having all the states united and the formation of the Italian monarchy began to be realized. Victor Emmanuel II together with Cavour’s leadership made a great contribution to the establishment of the Italian monarchy through the 1861 Italian unification. After the unification, the Kingdom of Italy which can also be referred to as the Italian monarchy continued to seek ways through which Venetia and Rome would be incorporated in the kingdom. Although the Italian unification molded the events that occurred during the development of the Italian monarchy, problems continued to be experienced in the monarchy. Italy under the monarchy became more united and well focused on solving the problems that were being experienced. These problems included; poverty, unemployment, poor transport facilities, illiteracy in some individuals, and economic hardships. The efforts that were being made after 1861 to address these problems, led to the development of the Italian monarchy.


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Di Scala, S.2004. Italy: From Revolution to Republic, 1700 to the Present. Boulder,       CO:Westview Press

Forester, C.2002.Victor Emmanuel II and the Union of Italy. Simon Publications

Glenny, B.2001.Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-1999. New York, USA: Penguin                       Books

Godkin, G.2007.Life of Victor Emmanuel II, First King of Italy .Kessinger Publishing

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Katz,R.1972.The Fall of the House of Savoy.George Allen and Unwin Ltd

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Probeyn, J.2007.Italy from the fall of Napoleon I in 1815 to the Death of Victor Emmanuel in 1878.Scott Press Publishers


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