‘Italy was put together just as though it were a piece of lifeless mosaic’

Giuseppe Mazzini born in Genoa in 1805 was seen in many Italians’ eyes as a very brave and respected man, where as in others he was deemed a terrorist. These split views immediately point to the fact Mazzini was a character appealing to a certain kind of person and quotes what they want to hear. For example the above quote made by Mazzini was likely to have been aimed at the lower middle classes who felt left out in the decision and forced into the unification of Italy. Thus making references on the reliability and solidarity of sources immediately less useful due to the initial quote being debatable.

Source one on the sheet is a letter from Cavour to Victor Emmanuel giving his version of a meeting between himself and Napoleon III.

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Instantly the letter starts Cavour confesses ‘… you will be impatient to receive an exact … narration.’ Showing immediately the letter will be altered to put Cavour in a good light. Many times throughout the letter Cavour emphasises his dominating role by stating things such as ‘I felt obliged to treat that question…, First I suggested…, This was a reasonable objection….’ Although Cavour has switched the leadership in his letter I do not feel it has affected the source and it’s supporting basis yet it does make the source look inaccurate.

The initial point of the meeting was the unification of Italy by driving ‘the Austrians out of Italy once and for all’. Although they did agree on driving the Austrians out of Italy they did not agree to totally unite Italy instead have Italy as a four state country.

Source 4, a letter from Cavour written to the Piedmontese ambassador in London.

Within this source Cavour states ‘Garibaldi has let himself become intoxicated with his success.’ Trying in some way belittle Garibaldi’s efforts. Although in this source it seems Garibaldi worked alone and this is very untrue. He had with him 1,200 men from Piedmont and the army swelled because in Sicily it gained in support to 3,000 therefore criticising Mazzini’s claim showing there were people from Sicily who joined to make up the 3,000 men were fighting for freedom from Naples not for unification of Italy

Cavour was so bitter and jealous towards Garibaldi he wrote this letter knowing the ambassador of Piedmont in London would pass this letter on to the British Government so they will think Garibaldi is being selfish and personally greedy. In order to turn British Government support away from garibaldi and hopefully towards himself.

The reliability of this source is debatable as there is a strong hatred of Garibaldi being portrayed and the effects of this letter can only really be seeking one effect the condemnation of Garibaldi’s actions. Due to this the strength of the source has been weekend as it was apparent why Cavour sent this letter. The reason for this letter being sent could have made Cavour exaggerate the point of Garibaldi being greedy making the source unreliable. Also whether or not the this source supports Mazzini’s claim is hard to say because in one light it doesn’t ‘people supporting Garibaldi’ yet in another it does support his claim because the people only wanted freedom from Naples and not a unite Italy.

Source 6 Beales and the influence of popular unrest a section taken from ‘The Risorgimento and the unification of Italy’ This source highlights the 20,000 strong volunteer army under the control of Garibaldi. It is showing that people did want unification. In 1859 people got rid of the leaders in order to unify Italy, these are all great signs of people getting involved and wanting a unified Italy. Though in Tuscany there were rifts between the main supporters and the supporters of annexation to Piedmont.

This source really goes against Mazzini as it is showing support from people and in heavy numbers also. Although there is support the source does not specifically state they are supporting unification.

The reliability of this source although secondary evidence is quite good, and the basis of this judgement is relied on the agreement of this source with source 3 highlighting the opposition to unification in Tuscany.

Source 3 ‘A new boot for old shoes’. Cavour to Victor Emmanuel. ‘Push hard, it has to give way Right down the toe! It will fit you like a glove!’ (Satirical cartoon by Florentine cartoonist Sanesi in Il Lampione of 15 May 1860).

The source shows Cavour trying to force a boot on to Victor Emmanuel’s foot, like in the title quote ‘Push hard’ implying the boot (Italy: also boot shaped) not fitting, the unification is being forced. The caricature also has people in the background these being Napoleon, Duchess of Parma appears to be representing the rulers that will be no more. The peasant is representing the people who don’t have a say in the decision of unification. The people in the background are also wearing no shoes, expressing the fact that Victor Emmanuel has the shoes (rule of unified Italy) and they have nothing.

In this source it seems that Cavour has total control of what will or won’t happen to the fate of Italy therefore making Mazzini’s claim correct because no one else was consulted especially not the people.

The reliability of the source cannot be really be judged because it was drawn by an artist from Florence (in Tuscany) where there are clear views and the annexation to Piedmont was clearly unwanted as supported by sources 4 and 6. Making the artists opinion very bias yet valid amongst a spectrum of sources that mainly have reliability problems.

Source 5 criticisms of the Risorgimento by Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist imprisoned by Fascists immediately claims leaders of Risorgimento (unification of Italy) made a bastard; this term meaning unauthorised, counterfeit, mistake, unnatural. The writer of this source was imprisoned by Fascists so has a reason to be bitter, and blames the poor excuse for a unified Italy for people’s unhappiness and search for a strong leader (Mussolini) and joined Fascism without knowing what Fascism was.

This supports Mazzini even further to express the sadness of the people, which has been caused by Italy’s unorganised or badly thought out unification.

The reliability of this source I feel is good yet the content is clearly bias, but the information being expressed is clearly true due to the knowledge that unification brought unrest and a need to turn to a fascist leader like Mussolini.

Source 2 a letter from Cavour to Napoleon III showing desire to avoid unleashing any revolutionary activity.

Cavour in his letter made it clear he wanted no revolution by stating ‘ … we would group around us all the live forces of Italy but without allowing our cause to be contaminated by any revolutionary element…’. This clearly shows he had no wish in involving the people unless they are willing to co-operate with him and do what he tells them. By making such a statement immediately confirming Mazzini’s claim in the title. Although Cavour’s idea to use the people did not consult them it would at least gain the support of some of the Piedmontese population therefore gaining his popularity within his state.

The idea of ‘live forces’ was opted for n this letter and by using this tactic Cavour and Napoleon therefore could not be lifeless like Mazzini claims. The aim of this letter was to persuade Napoleon to fight Austria and relieve Italy of Austrian troops. Cavour tried to do this by aiming to provoke Napoleon into war by accusing Austria of using France.

The basis of this source further justifies Mazzini’s claim by the persuasion of war and hopeful evasion of revolts yet there are points in the source disagreeing with Mazzini by stating the use of ‘live forces’.

The reliability of this source is good as it is an official letter from Cavour, in this type of letter there is always going to be a hint of biasness.

On the whole I feel the majority of sources agreed with Mazzini’s statement and were vastly backed up by evidence. These sources were generally from political figureheads discussing unification with few people opinions being expressed. Although the majority were for Mazzini’s claim was the evidence to disagree with this and with more evidence Mazzini would have been disagreed with more often.