History of Europe
Italy

What effect did the Risorgimento have on the government of Italy?

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11/22/2009

The effect of the Risorgimento was to unify Italy under a national government. The word 'Risorgimento' means 'resurgence'. It got the people of Italy to work towards a centralized Italian rule over the diverse localities and regions of which modern Italy is made. Previously, any centralization had been the work of foreign powers, such as by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and somewhat by France under Napoleon Bonaparte [August 15, 1769-May 5, 1821].

So the first effect of the Risorgimento may have been on the birth of a unified, national government. That national government took its first shape as a monarchy. In fact, the dreams of the Risorgimento may have been considered realized somewhat with the installation of the first Italian king, Vittorio Emanuele II [March 14, 1820-January 9, 1878], on February 18, 1861. There had been monarchies before unification. But within Italy, and by Italian peoples, they'd been regional. In fact, the first king of the united Italy was already king. It's just that his reign had been limited to the kingdoms of the Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia.

Another effect on Italy's government may have been the impetus that it gave to the removal of foreign control. In fact, it may be said to have been the impetus behind the unexpected nature of Italy's participation in the First World War. For Italy chose to support Britain, France, and Russia against the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman Empires and the Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Still another effect may have been its possible influence over the nationalist rise to power of Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini [July 29, 1883-April 28, 1945]. Mussolini ruled as Italy's prime minister from October 31, 1922 until July 25, 1943. During that time, his powers actually rivaled those of his monarch, Vittorio Emanuele III [November 11, 1869-December 28, 1947]. So his failures and his successes motivated Italians to think in terms of national governmental forms other than monarchical. And indeed, Mussolini's overthrow was followed by the end to monarchy, and the beginning successes of Italy as a national government in the form of a parliamentary republic.