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Victorian Radicals and Italian Democrats

Victorian Radicals and Italian Democrats

Marcella Pellegrino Sutcliffe
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Victorian Radicals and Italian Democrats
    Book Description:

    This book takes a fresh look at Victorian England's "love of Italy", traditionally constructed as the reserve of the established classes, by revealing a forgotten connection between the radical, Victorian "non-elites" and the Risorgimento democrats. The republican exile Giuseppe Mazzini first introduced the idea of "Italy" to workers keen on self-improvement; his radical ideas circulated in reading rooms and co-operative societies, where republican Italy became a transnational dream. Indeed, when Italy was unified under a constitutional monarch in 1860, British Mazzinians were bitterly disappointed, and subsequently supported Italian republicans for decades; undeterred by Italy's fin de siècle crisis and the rise of fascism, they championed Italian anti-fascists who associated themselves with Mazzini's principles of global democracy. Drawing on a wide range of material, the book provides fresh insights both into the history of Victorian radicalism in Britain, and to the history of the Risorgimento.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-262-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Marcella Pellegrino Sutcliffe
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. Note on the Text
    (pp. xii-xii)
  8. Introduction: Victorian Visions of a Radical Risorgimento
    (pp. 1-28)

    Republican Italy was a nineteenth-century transnational dream. This ‘imagined nation’ galvanised and united Risorgimento democrats in Italy and Victorian radicals in Britain, who called themselves Mazzinians.² It was Giuseppe Mazzini’s vision of a unified, republican Italy, combined with his promotion of the universal principles of individual freedom, equality and emancipation within democratically-governed nation states, which drew Victorian radicals to support the ideal of a ‘popular Risorgimento’.³ While they condemned both Britain’s imperial politics and the government’ ‘noninterventionist’ stance in European revolutions, Victorian radicals endorsed the establishment outside Britain of a new model of a republican nation which would lead the...


    • 1 Mazzini amongst Chartists and Early Co-operators, 1837–1848
      (pp. 31-57)

      In approaching the origins of the long connection between victorian radicals and Risorgimento democrats this book draws upon the ideological and political debates which took shape in provincial, industrial England as mazzini’s doctrine was being refined and disseminated in his country of exile. In general historians analysing the circulation of ideas which helped to define the concept of European democracy have focused on the role played by continentalémigrésconcentrated in mid-victorian London. It was here that the People’s International League, the first English association which showed an interest in foreign affairs, was established in 1847, at mazzini’s suggestion.² Studies...

    • 2 ‘Joseph Mazzini’: Learning and Living his Mission, 1849–51
      (pp. 58-83)

      The episode of the Roman Republic gained mazzini some keen followers in the English provinces. Chartist and republican in background, these radicals were self-educated provincial workers, who embraced mazzini’s doctrine, trusting it with a passion. They expressed their feelings in the private sphere by revealing their innermost emotions in the trusted pages of a journal, or in the public sphere in the poetical compositions that they contributed to the Chartist press. most patently they shared their emotions in mechanics’ institutes, republican families, Chartist branches, in short, wherever the web of self-improvement welcomed debates on international questions.

      The early support for...

    • 3 Victorian Mazzinians and Italian Democrats: Defections and Loyalties, 1850–1860
      (pp. 84-112)

      Historians have stressed that from the mid-1850s mazzini’s influence on his followers was greatly diminished. Contemporary sources and even early hagiographic histories show how the repercussions of the abortive milanese insurrection of 1853 followed, in 1857, by the double failure of the Genoese uprising and Pisacane’s Southern expedition – equally disastrous in their outcomes – had profoundly damaged mazzini’s reputation.² more recent historiography has reiterated such interpretations, in both their Italian and British respects.

      Salvo mastellone has underlined how the failed insurrection in milan kick-started a virulent campaign against mazzini inThe Times, which was echoed by other papers.³ John Rothney stressed...


    • 4 English Republicans, Liberal Italy and the Monarchical Turn, 1860–1872
      (pp. 115-143)

      Dazzled by the dramatic sequence of military events in the 1860s, which were dominated by the charismatic figure of Garibaldi and by the ‘machiavellian’ diplomacy of Cavour, historians have overwhelmingly interpreted British responses to Italian unification through the prism of public enthusiasm for the victorious, moderate, monarchical solution, totally obscuring the disappointment of the victorian philo-Italian ‘losers’ who resented the political side-lining of mazzini.² By modifying some of the underlying assumptions of ‘official’ interpretations, this chapter does two things: it highlights the reactions of victorian republicans to the achievement of Italian unity under the aegis of a Piedmontese monarch and...

    • 5 Education, Democracy and International Policy: the Legacy of Exile, 1870–1882
      (pp. 144-165)

      The European ‘laboratory of democracy’ which took shape in the context of the circulation of ideas shared byRisorgimentoexiles in London was reorganised in new forms of transnational exchanges once the exiles had returned home.² As new challenges surfaced on Europe’s geo-political landscape, victorian radicals who had contributed to the ‘making of Italy’ would contribute to the ‘making of Italians’ by renewing ties with Italy’s democrats who now gathered together in new forms of sociability. maurizio Isabella’s studies on the first generation of Italian exiles have shown how border-crossing of both people and ideas was an integral part of...

    • 6 ‘Co-operative Tours’ as Transnational Education of Citizens, 1886–1890
      (pp. 166-196)

      The late 1880s were years of transition for Italy. Important protagonists of theRisorgimentohad died and the Left was looking for new leadership.² While the Estrema found new guidance in the radical Lombard, Cavallotti, the continuous absence from the parliamentary arena of a republican like Saffi – who, once again elected, refused to take the parliamentary oath in 1887 – created a vacuum which enabled Crispi to take centre stage. Frustration and alienation as a result of Depretis’strasformismohad led many Italians to believe that a ‘strong man’ was needed: Crispi would provide just that. The period between 1887 and...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 197-210)

    In focusing on the ‘long connection’ between victorian radicals and Risorgimento democrats this book has questioned established historical views on the relationship between the ‘English’ and Italy, showing the limits of the ‘official history’ and adding a transnational dimension to the ‘popular Risorgimento’ narrative. By taking into account the views of victorian republicans on Italy’s constitutional monarchy the ‘myth’ that all the ‘English’ were satisfied with Cavour’s pincer movement and the victory of the moderates has been challenged. In other ways too this study has unscrambled the traditional narrative, questioning how representative of the nation’s ‘people’ were the ‘English’ analysed...

  12. Appendices

    • APPENDIX 1 Henry Gilpin, Mazzini
      (pp. 213-214)
    • APPENDIX 2 A Modern Mazzini: Italian Historian at Warwick. Professor Salvemini’s Lecture
      (pp. 215-218)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-244)
  14. Index
    (pp. 245-252)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-253)