Sunday, June 9, 2013

  • GIUSEPPE MAZZINI, the great political idealist of the Italian struggle for independence, was born at Genoa, June 22, 1805. His faith in democracy and his enthusiasm for a free Italy he inherited from his parents; and while still a student in the University of Genoa he gathered round him a circle of youths who shared his dreams.
  • At the age of twenty-two he joined the secret society of the Carbonari, and was sent on a mission to Tuscany, where he was entrapped and arrested.
  • On his release, he set about the formation, among the Italian exiles in Marseilles, of the Society of Young Italy, which had for its aim the establishment of a free and united Italian republic. His activities led to a decree for his banishment from France, but he succeeded in outwitting the spies of the Government and going on with his work.
  • The conspiracy for a national rising planned by Young Italy was discovered, many of the leaders were executed, and Mazzini himself condemned to death.

Almost at once, however, he resumed operations, working this time from Geneva; but another abortive expedition led to his expulsion from Switzerland. He found refuge, but at first hardly a livelihood, in London, where he continued his propaganda by means of his pen. He went back to Italy when the revolution of 1848 broke out, and fought fiercely but in vain against the French, when they besieged Rome and ended the Roman Republic in1849.

  • Defeated and broken, he returned to England, where he remained till called to Italy by the insurrection of 1857.

He worked with Garibaldi for some time;
 but the kingdom established under Victor Emmanuel by Cavour and Garibaldi was far from the ideal Italy for which Mazzini had striven. The last years of his life were spent mainly in London, but at the end he returned to Italy, where he died on March 10, 1872. Hardly has any age seen a political martyr of a purer or nobler type.

Mazzini’s essay on Byron and Goethe is more than literary criticism, for it 
exhibits that philosophical quality which gives so remarkable a unity to the 
writings of Mazzini, whether literary, social, or political.


What was the role of Mazzini in the unification of Italy?

  • Mazzini  found several organizations aimed at the unification or liberation of other nations.Famous of them were Young Italy and Young Europe.
  • The "Young Europe" movement also inspired a group of young Turkish army cadets and students.
  • Young Italy was a secret society formed to promote Italian unification.
  • In 1843 he organized another riot in  Bologna. Mazzini accused the British government of having passed information about the expeditions to the Neapolitans, and question was raised in the British Parliament.
  • Mazzini nationalism was based upon ridding Italy of foreign rule, and because of this assisted and supported Garibaldi in his quest in Italy and Sicily.
  • On February 9, 1849 a Republic was declared in Rome.
  • Mazzini was appointed as "triumvir" of the new republic on March 29, becoming soon the true leader of the government and showing good administrative capabilities in social reforms.
  • On February 21, 1859, together with 151 republicans he signed a manifesto against the alliance between Piedmont and the King of France which resulted in the  second war of Italian independence and the conquest of Lombardy.
  • In 1862 he again joined Garibaldi during his failed attempt to free Rome.
Mazzini and his impact on the Indian national movement
  • Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar  founded a secret society called Mitra Mela (Friends’ Group) which later became Abhinav Bharat (Young India Society) on the model of the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini’s ‘Young Italy’.
  • After graduating from the college in 1905 he moved to Bombay to study Law. In the meantime he received a scholarship to study in England and set sail for London in 1906.
  • During his student days in England he started the ‘Free India Society’ and organised Indian students for revolutionary activities and spread his revolutionary ideas through pamphlets, booklets and books.
  • He translated the life of Mazzini into Marathi, and some consider him as the personification of Mazzini


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