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Civilization and Democracy

Civilization and Democracy: The Salvernini Anthology of Cattaneo's Writings

Carlo G. Lacaita
Filippo Sabetti
Translated by David Gibbons
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Civilization and Democracy
    Book Description:

    The selection of original pieces presented in this translation is preceded by an introduction by the editors, Carlo G. Lacaita and Filippo Sabetti, which guides the reader through Cattaneo's thinking and puts it in a comparative context. Ultimately, however, it is the editors' goal to let this profound Italian thinker speak for himself.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2728-4
    Subjects: Philosophy, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations of Cattaneo’s Collected Works
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION Carlo Cattaneo and Varieties of Liberalism
    (pp. 3-52)

    Carlo Cattaneo (1801–1869) was widely regarded by contemporaries as a gifted public intellectual and a leading figure in the republican, federalist, democratic current of the Italian Risorgimento. Following the collapse of the 1848 revolts, he took refuge and settled in Switzerland, where he is now regarded as one of Canton Ticino’s outstanding nineteenth-century figures. Cattaneo was four years older than the other great republican of the Risorgimento, Giuseppe Mazzini, whose national and international reputation completely overshadowed his own. But it is Cattaneo who has been hailed variously, since his death, as ‘Italy’s greatest political economist and philosopher’ (White Mario...

  6. Cattaneo’s Life and Work
    (pp. 53-76)

    Carlo Cattaneo’s ancestors were from the Val Brembana above Bergamo. Every year they came down from the mountains with their herds to spend the winter in the plains around Milan, where they became tenant-farmers. By the end of the eighteenth century one branch of the family had settled in the Lombard capital, and Carlo Cattaneo was born there on June 15, 1801. He could thus boast of having urban, or one might now say bourgeois, origins. However, his relatives’ experience of farming, coupled with his own observations from the early years he spent in the countryside at Casorate and Pizzabrosa,...


    • 1 International Affairs
      (pp. 79-93)

      Despite being keenly concerned with our own destinies, we cannot close our eyes to the great innovations that are transforming the face of the earth around us, ushering in an era for humanity that is new in every respect. The peoples who think small also become weakened in their actions.

      Some six hundred million human beings, we might say the majority of mankind, belong to the two Indian peninsulas, the ancient civilizations of the Chinese empire, and the islands of Japan. These peoples have flourished since times when Europe was still largely savage, but the institutions that gave them their...

    • 2 Public Economy
      (pp. 94-119)

      Westward from the Stelvio the Alpine range extends as far as the Gotthard, where it turns sharply almost due south toward Monte Rosa. Another chain also branches out from the Stelvio, at a similar angle, but penetrates further into the plain, dividing our rivers, which are tributaries of the Po, from the valley of the Adige. Whence, if Monte Rosa towers in the west, the Cristallo and Adamo reach similar heights in the east.

      This Camonia chain is not part of the Alps. It does not surround Italy; it merely divides its two main rivers’ internal, domestic dominions. However, over...

    • 3 Education and Militia
      (pp. 120-135)

      The principle required in Italian faculties is what in economics is known as the division of labor and what in psychology is referred to as analysis. The synthesis will be Italy. Synthesis is neither repetition nor uniformity; rather, it is the simplest expression of utmost variety. The more uniformity is eschewed, the fuller, or rather greater, your work will be, given that in such things there can never be completion or closure.

      What I seek for engineers in Italy is the subdivision or specialization of their faculties. In this way you will give the country architectural engineers, hydraulic engineers, agronomic...

    • 4 Local Autonomy
      (pp. 136-145)

      Two states alone, the Swiss and the American federations, have, even in these troubled years (1850s), displayed the art of good government, without being obliged either to have recourse to a standing army or to incur the disproportionate cost that such a measure involves. Not only do these federations rely on the spontaneous, regularly renewed consensus of the masses, they also bring together in the federal authority all that is of common interest, leaving each people free to exercise its own particular rights, to supply itself with men of its own choosing, to develop its own traditional or spontaneous ideas,...

    • 5 The Social Question
      (pp. 146-150)

      February 24, 1848, was the first day of a new era. For the first time ever, in France a manual worker was called to sit in government. To improve the fate of the working classes was placed among the duties of society and state; and as many citizens as were twenty-one years of age were granted the same right to influence public affairs as anyone else. Hence, this fourth order, which in 1789 was still confused beneath a common mantle with the third estate, began to have a determining weight (principio determinante) in shaping the new institutions. We are all...

    • 6 Literature
      (pp. 151-164)

      The fact that Don Carlos did not perish in the Inquisition’s prisons was revealed by Canon [Juan Antonio] Llorente just a few years after the deaths of Alfieri and Schiller. But how could the poets have guessed that which time itself did not reveal? Poetry cannot make itself into an obsequious, precise daguerreotype likeness of history. A shabby old scrap of paper, uncovered in some second-hand shop or library catacomb, may betray unknown circumstances and demolish the entire edifice from top to bottom. In order to weep with historical precision and guaranteed confidence, audiences in the theatres will have to...

    • 7 Aspects of World History
      (pp. 165-194)

      The study of geology reveals two stages of primitive life on the earth. In the first, the heat of the earth’s crust, after a series of countless millennia that mathematical calculation can but vaguely allude to, was already so tempered that the vapors dispersed through the immense atmosphere were able to fall on its surface and settle in its unstable cavities in the form of an oscillating ocean. Whereupon organic life took the place in the world occupied by mere crystalline condensations; a life that was uniform across the entire planet, because it was engendered by the uniform inner heat....

    • 8 The Risorgimento
      (pp. 195-217)

      It is a fact unknown in Europe, but true nonetheless. While France in vain was inebriated with new currents of thought and proclaiming to the rest of the continent the start of new era, which it was subsequently unable to bring about save through the bloodiest of revolutions, lowly Milan was embarking on the fourth stage in its progress, its government having been entrusted to an assembly of magistrates, who also happened to form a school of philosophers. Pompeo Neri, Rinaldo Carli, Cesare Beccaria, and Pietro Verri are not names equally well known to Europe, but they are all equally...

    • 9 Human Sciences
      (pp. 218-242)

      If we review the general history of science to our own day, we see a marvelous agreement prevailing in all areas of study regarding external nature, whereas in all forms of study regarding inner man a curious discord persists.

      Geology looks to chemistry for enlightenment in respect of rock transformations; to geometry, to explore their constituents, down to the very edges of their crystals; to physics, to deduce the depth of the earth’s surface from its progressive heat; to astronomy, to infer from the universal order of things the primitive state of that burning mass whose dross became our land...

  8. References
    (pp. 243-252)
  9. Index
    (pp. 253-283)