Giuseppe Mazzini

Giuseppe Mazzini

Italian nationalist
Date of Birth: 22.06.1805
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Giuseppe Mazzini
  2. Early Life and Ideals
  3. Ideas and Methods
  4. Young Italy
  5. Later Years

Biography of Giuseppe Mazzini

Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian nationalist, patriot, and writer who played a crucial role in the early stages of the movement for national liberation and liberal reforms in the 19th century. He was born on June 22, 1805, in Genoa, which was under Napoleon's rule at the time. His father was a renowned physician and anatomy professor. Even as a child, Mazzini showed himself to be a bright individual. He had a good knowledge of French literature, was passionate about romanticism, and admired "democratic writers" such as Victor Hugo, Jules Michelet, Edgar Quinet, and George Sand.

Early Life and Ideals

Mazzini's path could have led him to literature and art if it weren't for his passionate commitment to the ideas of freedom. Italy suffered from foreign domination and political fragmentation, and Mazzini believed that only revolutionary actions could change the situation. When he was just over 20 years old, he became a member of the secret society of Carbonari, but soon became disillusioned with it due to the preservation of elements of 18th-century materialistic philosophy in its ideology. In 1830, he was arrested by the Piedmontese government, released a few months later, and exiled from the country. Mazzini spent most of his life in exile, first in France, then in Switzerland, and after 1837, in London.

Ideas and Methods

Mazzini preached freedom for individuals and national liberation not only for Italy but for all of Europe. His creed was, "I love my country because I love all countries." He believed that all European nations should live in equality and brotherhood within the natural borders assigned to them by God. Mazzini did not believe that national unity and independence should be granted by rulers or achieved through diplomatic intrigues. He also rejected French "leadership." According to Mazzini's concept, the goals of nationalism and liberalism were given by God, and therefore, their achievement was an inalienable right of all peoples.

Young Italy

In 1831, Mazzini founded the secret organization "Young Italy" in Marseille. Its goal was to transform Italy into a unified, independent, and free country with a republican form of government. Soon, similar associations such as "Young Switzerland," "Young Germany," etc., appeared in other countries. Their organizers saw their task as joining efforts and organizing uprisings in several countries under the slogans of freedom, brotherhood, and peace for all of Europe. Mazzini's vision of a new Europe naturally entailed the destruction of monarchical rule in Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. He desired the federation of countries such as Germany, Italy, and the lands from the Baltic to the Aegean and Black Seas. He wanted Russia to compensate for its territorial losses in Europe by assuming a colonial mission in Asia. Mazzini believed that in the 20th century, nationalism should spread beyond Europe. Indeed, his writings later inspired many leaders of Asian and African states.

Later Years

However, in real political life, Mazzini was an idealist. When waves of revolutions swept across Italy in 1848, the great patriot even compromised his republican beliefs in hopes of achieving unity. However, the uprising led by King Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont-Sardinia ended in defeat. In 1849, the secular power of the Roman Pope was abolished in the Papal States. The Roman Republic was established, ruled by a triumvirate in which Mazzini held a prominent position. Although this republic fell under the blows of French troops sent by Louis Bonaparte, the besieged Rome government, influenced by Mazzini, demanded that the city become the capital of a unified Italy. The long journey to unification culminated in a diplomatic agreement between Napoleon III and Count Cavour with military support from France. Mazzini passed away on March 10, 1872, in Pisa.