How far do you agree that the limited appeal of Mazzini’s ideas was the main reason for the slow progress of national unity in Italy in the years 1815-48?
In 1815, Italy had just emerged from Napoleonic rule and was completely divided into nine separate states; with different rulers and different cultures. By 1848, these states had progressed towards, albeit merely to a limited extent, some kind of national unity – national unity meaning the feeling of being united and together as one country. It could be argued that the lack of success in the reception of Giuseppe Mazzini’s ideas was the most substantial reason explaining this slow progress; though some would say that it was mostly down to factors such as the power and influence of
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This limited ideological appeal and therefore lack of support from non-theists, other patriots and higher social classes would indeed have meant that progress towards national unification was not totally accelerated. However, as these ideas would have also gained membership to the nationalist cause from other fractions of people, it is unlikely to be the main reason. The limited appeal of Mazzini’s ideas (to some groups of people) merely contributed somewhat as to why progress was slow; and therefore can be seen to be a conditional factor, rather than a contingent one. Mazzini’s nationalist ideas were not only unpopular with members of the Italian states – Austria too opposed such ideology of national unity for Italy. Austria was a significant factor in the slow progress of national unity following the Congress of Vienna, 1815. At this congress, it was decided that the states of Lombardy, Tuscany, Parma and Modena would be ruled directly by members of the Austrian Habsburg Royal family, and Venice too would be occupied by Austria. This meant that these states were heavily influenced by Austria and its culture, causing obvious differences and divides between these and the other non-Austrian led states of Piedmont etc. These variations in regional identity, language and influence along Italy