Short Essay on Italy and Vienna Settlement

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After the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte in the battle of Waterloo, there came about a great political change in the map of Italy. The diplomats of the Congress of Vienna had unanimously decided to restore the countries of Europe to the political setup as it existed before 1789.

It was, therefore, decided to dissolve the kingdom of Italy which was established by Napoleon Bonaparte. Thus, Italy was again divided into eight small states, viz., Piedmont, Lombardy, Venetia, Parma, Modena, Tuscany, Papal States, and Naples.

According to the doctrine of legitimacy, the old rulers were restored in most of the states. Lombardy and Venetia were given to Austria. The provinces of Modena, Parma, Tuscany were made over to the autocratic rule of Austrian princes or princesses.

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The king of Naples had made a treaty with Austria which was both offensive and defensive. In this way, the whole of Italy, excluding Piedmont and the Papal States, was under the direct influence of the ‘system of Metternich’.

Each of the restored rulers was the supporter of the absolute monarchy. The national unity of Italy was dissolved by the diplomats at the Vienna Congress. Metternich was satisfied with the changes introduced in the map of Europe. He said:

“It was generally a geographical expression liberty, brother­hood, all are wrested from them she cannot be called a nation anymore than a stock of timber can be called a ship.”

As regards the political condition of Italy in 1815, Hazen has observed:

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“Italy became again a collection of small states, largely under the dominance of Austria. Each of the restored princes was an absolute monarch. In some of the states there was a parliament.

Italy had neither unity nor constitutional forms, nor any semblance of popular participation in the government. The use which the restored princes made of their unfettered liberty of action was significant.”

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