Mazzini, Father of the Revolution or misunderstood democrat? The impact of the revolutions of 1848 on Mazzini's thinking and writing
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This paper deals with the thinking and writing of Giuseppe Mazzini, alongside Garibaldi, Cavour and King Vittorio Emmannuell II, one of the four "fathers of the fatherland." Mazzini was and is seen as the main thinker of these four. This is because on the one hand, of these four he already pleaded in the 30s for the unification of Italy, saw the revolution as an agent, and even founded a political movement to that end, but on the other hand he also continued to write about unification in subsequent decades. The paper relies on 1) four primary sources of Mazzini, 2) an in 1994 written biography of Mazzini, 3) the book 'Risorgimento' from 2009, and 4) some scientific articles about Mazzini, nationalism and democracy. Mazzini was overtaken by history, and nowhere was that more apparent than in Piedmont. The king and the moderate liberal prime minister Cavour finally did what he had wanted to accomplish through the revolution much earlier. It forced Mazzini to adapt its revolutionary discourse. Moreover, during his long exiles he came into contact with European monarchies that were adapting themselves to parliamentary systems, but also he got to know well-functioning local governments. These encounters moderated his anti-monarchical tone and strengthened his belief in the role of municipalities as a countervailing power within the state A lot is written about Mazzini and his ideas, but that is above all about his late thinking, and particularly about the democratic character of those late ideas or lack thereof. In these debates almost invariably his later writings were used and compared with the ideas of the great nineteenth-century ideologues and philosophers. However, the changes in his thoughts onwards from his first 1831 documents are not explicitly dealt with in these studies. This paper aims to provide that extra insight.