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Why did the 1848 Revolutions Fail? Essay Sample

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  • Word count: 990
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  • Category: revolution

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Introduction of TOPIC

Even though there were numerous revolutions across Italy all of them failed, firstly at liberating from Austrian rule and secondly unifying Italy as a whole. There are many factors that lead to failure; that fact that they did not cooperate with each other or have the support of the masses, differences in ideology, provisional governments were week, armed forces stayed loyal to the throne while the people gave their loyalty to their locality. The major factor was the Austrian army they were lager, better equipped and had excellent military tactics.

As the different states did not cooperate with each other they imposed little threat to the Austrians giving them tome to control and maintain one state before defending another. They also had different aims. The Sicilian movement wanted to separate from Naples therefore hindering unity.

Event at times they did not work together, Piedmont supported Lombardy against the Austrians who they both hated. Charles Albert would not accept volunteers in his army unless they swore allegiance to him and Piedmont therefore they would be in his control, Cattaneo thought this was him from the very start. This meant he lost in numbers, as buy having the extra volunteers he would have benefited from having a bigger army. However only two states of Italy united Piedmont and Lombardy whereas the rest remained divided. Even though they were united they were still dived as they had different ideas. The Milanese wanted a republic whereas Piedmont possession of Lombardy consequently Cattaneo started working against the union of the two states.

Charles Albert also joined with Tuscany, Naples and the Papal states as “unified war effort” to destroy the common enemy. However this unity did not last long in fact only a few weeks which lead to them becoming bitter enemies long before the battle of Cutoza. Therefore Radetzky was secure in the Quadrilateral he called for reinforcements and attacked when the Piedmontese were ripe for defeat consequently he defeated Charles Albert at the battle of Cutoza.

It was the problem of having different ideology that prevented a successful revolution. Moderates only wanted to achieve constitutions that allowed them to elec

t their chosen parliament and have a say in political affairs, radicals were divided Gioberti wanted

confederation headed by the pope, and Mazzini wanted a people’s republic while Balpo believed in Piedmont, Italy headed by Charles Albert. It was the fact they didn’t know who would be in charge and what policy to adopt that is why unification failed.

By not having a clear policy or a candidate ensured politic instability in the future. Even though the revolutionists gained control they could not maintain it, as the groups started to fight for power within top achieve their diverse objectives and therefore the Austrian would regain the state.

The ones who did not gain power were intellectuals like Mazzini who lacked in the correct skills of a successful government. As B.A Haddock noted “inexperience minister would have little alternative but to rely upon the bureaucratic and military machines inherited from the old regimes”. As a result they were moving back rather than forward these governments would have not been successful because the foundation on which they were based on was hated. This was the main reason why disorder and violence became widespread.

The provisional government had a problem maintaining power as they had very little support from the masses, peasants who wanted economic reform, land ownership, and grazing rights. Peasant’s rose against the Austrians in Lombardy as well as in Sicily. However as only a minority of them were involved it showed little support because they represented a large amount of the Italian population. Those who were involved felt no different as they were still disregarded. An example of this occurred in Sicily; after they declared itself as a separate republic the government took measures to prevent anymore chances especially in favour of the peasants. As the middle classes wanted democracy, that would provide them would control. Therefore there was a great restlessness between the two parties this added to their weakness making them more vulnerable to Austrian attack.

Another problem was that these were localised revolutions rather than national subsequently they had no desire towards unity. People also believed in owing their loyalth to their locality as a result they were reluctant to help As well as the people the military force allowed the old regime to reassert their control. By staying loyal to the throne, meant they had sworn on oath to defend the king not to attack him.

What the Italians failed to realise was that they could not “go it alone” therefore outside help was required. Another super power that had the great army, economy and organisation just like Austria. It was evident that France was the best candidate as they had already shown their strength in Rome when they supported the pope.

Therefore there were many reasons why the revolutions failed firstly if all the states worked together and gained outside support of a superpower they would have easily overcome the Austrians. However as they had no intention of unifying they should have a more organised system of government with open minded strategies that would accomplish the aims of everyone including the peasants. Who they should have included as they were the people who made up the majority of the population. Charles Albert also added to the failure as he delayed in invading Lombardy to expel the Austrians and when he did take action the Austrians had already reinforced themselves after having suffered minor defeats as Milan Became out of control.

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