Short Biographical Essay on the Rise of Mazzini

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Mazzini was one of the greatest leaders of Italy, who sacrifice everything of his own for the unification of Italy. He was called the soul of Italy. He was born in Genoa in 1805. His father was a famous physician and staunch supporter of the principles of the French Revolution.

Thus, Mazzini’s family had an environment which was conducive to the inculcation of the feelings of patriotism, nationalism and revolution. In his early age, Mazzini became a great revolutionary.

His aim was to free Italy from the dominance of the foreigners. He believed that Austria was the greatest opponent of the freedom and unity of Italy. The unification of Italy could not be achieved without driving Austria out of Italy. In his own words:

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“Country, liberty, brotherhood, all are wrested from them, their faculties are mutilated, curbed, chained within a narrow circle traced for them by men who are strangers to their tendencies, to their wants, to their wishes, their tradition is broken under the care of an Austrian corporal, their immortal soul feudatory to the stupid caprices of a man seated on a throne at Vienna.”

At that time, the Carbonari was the only organisation of the patriots of Italy. Mazzini also joined Carbonari. Owing to his revolutionary ideas, he was arrested and sentenced to prison in the fortress of Sevona.

During the period of his imprisonment, he issued many secret letters which expressed his firm determination. He was not satisfied with the programme and organisation of Carbonari. According to him, “They (Carbonari) had no programme, no faith, and no lofty ideals.”

Mazzini was a great supporter of Republican form of government. He did not like monarchy. He wanted to establish a strong and powerful republican confederation of Italy by uniting different states.

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He was the true founder of the nation of Italy. Owing to his revolutionary thoughts, he was expelled from Italy and wandered from one country to another for a period of about forty years. In foreign countries also he served his country by writing many revolutionary articles and books.

The July Revolution broke out in France and it was a success. When the news of the success of the revolution reached Italy, the patriots of Italian states also revolted against their autocratic rulers, especially in Parma, Modena, Tuscany and the Papal States.

The rulers had to flee but soon they were restored because of the military intervention of Austria. The revolutionaries were cruelly crushed by the Austrian army under the guidance of Metternich Mazzini also took part in the revolution. He was arrested and expelled to France.

Mazzini was greatly disappointed with the failures of the revolutionaries. Though he was an active member of the Carbonari, the only organization of the revolutionaries, still he was not satisfied with the working system of Carbonari.

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In his opinion this organisation was not sufficient to achieve the goal of national unity. However, Mazzini and other patriots came to the conclusion that Austria was the bitter opponent of the unification of Italy, and some other efficient and effective organisation must be established to bring about the political and national unity of Italy.

On the basis of the above conclusion, Mazzini established a new organisation of the youth of Italy, which was called the ‘Young Italy. The map of unified Italy was more vivid in the mind of Mazzini than any other patriot of that time.

In spite of there being different small states, Italy was a nation in the real sense, because Italian states had common traditions and common historical monuments. He made it clear that the inhabitants of different states of Italy spoke common language and thus, they lived as one nation.

He was fully confident of the strength of the youth of Italy. It was his opinion that the young men should lead the revolution. Without their cooperation, no social or political revolution could be successful.

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He, therefore, established an organisation of the young men of Italy with the name of ‘Young Italy’. The objects of Young Italy were as follows:

(i) Austria should be driven out of Italy.

(ii) Italy should be unified as one nation.

(iii) The Republic should be established in Italy. The constitution of new Italy should be framed by the people.

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(iv) The war of Italian independence should be fought by the Italians only. His slogan was “Italy for Italians”.

As regards the programme of the “Young Italy”, C. D. Hazen has remarked:

“The programme of this society was clear and emphatic. First, Austria must be driven out. War must come sooner the better. Let not Italians rely on the aid of foreign governments, upon diplomacy, but upon their own unaided strength.”

The young men of Italy were greatly inspired by the message of Mazzini. Within a short period of two years, the number of his followers increased considerably. They worked with strong will power and high ideals of patriotism for the establishment of the republic in Italy.

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