Why weren't the Italian revolutionaries of 1848-49 able to remove foreign influence?

Essay by c123456 May 2006

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In 1848 wide spread revolutions occurred throughout what we now call Italy. There were many reasons for these revolutions: Firstly France had set up a republic in February 1848 so many other countries took this as an example that revolutions did work. There had been a revolution in Vienna (Austria) which meant most of the Austrian troops that occupied Italy had to leave. There had been bad harvests in 1846 and 47 which equalled high prices a static wages, meaning an unhappy workforce (i.e. working class). Also, there was a new pope, Pious IX, who had liberal views and changed a few things throughout the country including getting rid of some censorship, releasing some political prisoners and introducing an advisory body (consulta) to assist his government.

The revolutions started in Sicily where the people had been offered a better life through reforms but this had not occurred! The people of Sicily took weapons and there were clashes with the government's troops.

They successfully took over the city and their main aim, to be separated from Naples, was achieved. This news spread across Italy to Naples, Tuscany, Piedmont and other places such as Milan where there was a tobacco boycott. Although these places did not work together to achieve their aims, most areas wanted a constitution and to be able to rule themselves (i.e. get rid of Austrian power).

But although revolutions seemed to be working in Austrian ruled places such as Milan and Venetia, underneath the surface things were starting to go wrong. Charles Albert, King of Piedmont has been successfully helping the people or Milan in the fight against Austrian rule but when the pope's army commander joined him, things went wrong! The Pope, who had initially declared to be Liberal, now was left on his own in...